12 common mistakes to avoid when designing your kitchen

April Kennedy April Kennedy
homify Scandinavian style kitchen
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Designing your own kitchen? Well, no matter how small or large, glitzy or humble your kitchen design will be, there are a few common mistakes to avoid. This is because the fundamentals of good design are a constant, no matter what kind of kitchen decor adventures you have in mind.

So let's make sure you get yours right! We promise to keep our tips simple, so they can be applied to any kind of kitchen decor. As usual, of course, we will make things inspiring with lots of great kitchen designs. Enjoy!

1. Clustering: create symmetry

Most of us build up a design in stages. While this is a good way to visually assess your space before spending a whole lot of money, it leads many people to get a little too eclectic with their colours, lines and shapes. This kitchen has a whole lot of utensils and kitchen accessories on display, but it still feels totally cohesive and sophisticated. The secret? An extremely limited colour palette and a sense of symmetry.

2. Dense and vivid designs: use them sparingly

It is definitely easy to fall in love with some gorgeous kitchen tiles or decorative wall ideas. But these can easily feel visually heavy and too intense for a kitchen. Indulge in your favourite wall designs, but use them sparingly throughout the room. A dense and vivid splashback will often look fantastic when paired with an otherwise minimalist theme.

3. Boring walls: make your design sing with creative walls

Kitchen storage is almost always a prime concern when designing your kitchen. Closed cupboards are great if you want to avoid a cluttered look. But this doesn't necessarily mean your kitchen walls need to look boring or predictable. Built in just a few open shelves and dress them up with pretty containers. This will help you avoid having a base-heavy design where everything of interest is in the lower half of the room.

4. Avoid overcomplicating things: simplify!

The simplest things in life are usually the best—and the same goes for your kitchen design. In this kitchen we can see how beautiful a few splashes of colour can look against a white, white wall. Your ceramics and trinkets can really take centre stage in a design like this.

5. Don't design in isolation: centre your design around the practicalities

Kitchens are—above all—places in which to prepare meals. So start your design by focussing on the main work areas. Consider the working triangle between the kitchen, fridge and sink, then cluster your accessories within reaching distance. There should be a natural flow when you work in the kitchen. Start with this in mind, then work on the aesthetics.

6. Colour clashes: pay attention to the larger surroundings

Most of us have a kitchen adjoining a living area. This means that we need to consider the aesthetics of the kitchen within the larger design of the home. Find a careful balance between colours that defines your kitchen boundaries, without isolating it from the surroundings. It often helps to choose a similar colour with a slightly different level of saturation.

7. Too much white! Don't be afraid to add colours and patterns

White is by far the most popular choice for many kitchen planners. But too much white can easily feel cold and clinical. Don't be afraid to experiment with some colour. A multicoloured tile splashback like this is a good approach, but you could just as easily create a colourful kitchen by putting bright accessories on show.

8. Cost savings: think carefully about where you save money

Most of us don't have a limitless budget. So where should you spend your money when it comes to the kitchen design? Well, the workbench is one place where you really do want to spend on quality. The average kitchen countertop endures an awful lot of wear and tear so it really does pay to get a good quality granite, stone or wood kitchen bench. We also tend to have a lot of tactile contact with the countertop so it will have a very strong, but subtle effect on your experience of the kitchen. Save money on the cabinets instead.

9. Adequate space: clear out the traffic zones

There is nothing so awkward—or dangerous—than having something blocking your path in the kitchen. So look at the pathways between the kitchen sink, fridge and cooktop and make things easy for yourself. It is also important to consider how opening cupboards can obstruct the free flow of movement throughout the kitchen. It can help to alternate the door swing to make extra space. This certainly makes sense when it comes to the fridge.

10. Focus on materials: use the raw surface materials well

A simple kitchen design may look slick in the planning stages. But a simple design really throws attention onto the quality of the materials so if you skimp, it will become really obvious when everything is installed. No need to blow your budget, just take the time to install one quality element that really steals the show. This bright red kitchen splashback definitely does the trick.

11. Walls: use them well for easy access to kitchen accessories

The wall-space in many kitchen is often left unused. This is a shame because it's super accessible and the kitchen accessories can double as a decorative feature in the room. A small rail like this can also provide a really handy space for paper towels and all sorts of accessories.

12. Making the most of your kitchen space: feel free to think differently

Kitchens are more than just working spaces these days. They have become quasi living spaces in recent years. So don't be afraid to experiment and use some features you might ordinarily see in a living room. This is your kitchen after all, so it should have that special, unique quality that makes it a part of your personal living space.

For more kitchen inspiration, have a look at The 6 key components of a dream kitchen.

Which of these tips did you find most helpful?

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