10 Common Kitchen Design Mistakes & How to Avoid Them

Today, I thought we would discuss kitchen design mistakes that I've seen over years of doing consultations and being in hundreds of homes. One of the things that I notice is that we live such busy lives, and we don't often take the time to consider how our space functions as well as how it looks.

While a lot of us may think about the fact that we don't like the color of our cabinets or the height of our counters, a lot of people don't stop to think about whether or not their kitchen is functioning properly. We forget that this is a room we spend a lot of time in and it should be a room that you're happy to be in.

I'm going to go through some of the most common kitchen design mistakes I've seen over the years and how to correct them.

Light boob on the ceiling

1. Improper lighting

One of the biggest kitchen design mistakes I see is having an improperly lit kitchen. Oftentimes, this occurs because the only fixture present in the room is a light boob on the ceiling—which is the fixture type that most builders put in.

Typically, they only have a 40 or 60-watt bulb in them. I also see a lot of people who are cooking without a light over the stove or a light over their kitchen sink.

Dark cabinets

2. Colorful cabinets

Having colorful cabinets is next on my list of common kitchen renovation mistakes to avoid. When doing your kitchen, whether it's refinishing something that you already have or creating something new, I encourage you to go neutral with your cabinets instead.

Color, for me, should be brought in in accessories, in your fabrics, in your paint color, not on your cabinets. Eventually, somebody else is going to buy your house, and that's going to be one of the first red flags.

Kitchen design

3. Too many focal points

Having too many focal points in your kitchen is another huge kitchen design mistake. You need to decide who the star of the show will be and keep it that way. We can't all be Tom Cruise, so neither can your cabinets and all of the other design elements in your kitchen. You want to pick one star and have everybody else be a supporting player.

Sleek cabinet hardware

4. Unappealing cabinet hardware

Having unappealing cabinet hardware is another mistake but one that’s an easy fix. Changing out hardware that you don't love is simple, provided that you understand that you need to know what the hole spacing is if you're not going to be refinishing the cabinets at the same time.

How to select fixtures for a kitchen

5. Mismatched fixtures

The other mistake to consider is with your faucets. You want to make sure that all your fixtures match, including your faucets. There is a way to mix metals. However, you have to be conscious of chrome. Chrome is the least friendly with other metal finishes. And again, decide who the star of the show is going to be when picking your fixture colors.

Flow in a kitchen

6. Poor flow

When moving into a new house or assessing your existing kitchen, really think about the way you use it and try to set up zones. Egress is the way you move through a space, and you want to be able to have a natural flow around your furniture and between your cabinets. That way you don’t spend too much time walking back and forth.

Cabinets up to the ceiling

7. Short cabinetry

The biggest luxury is to take your cabinets right up to the ceiling. You are leaving money on the table in terms of storage, function, and resale value by stopping your cabinets short.

Now, I know a lot of people are going to say, well not everybody has that budget, and that's true, but what I tell my clients is to put money into that because it’s not something you can change easily later on.

Panel-ready appliances

8. Built-in appliances

I would encourage you to do panel-ready appliances whenever possible. This is more important in a small space than a large space. By putting in panel-ready appliances and having them blend seamlessly into your cabinetry, you're visually increasing the size of the room.

And again, it makes the appliances supporting characters to the story of your kitchen. They should not be the star unless they are in your stove area. This is, to me, one of the biggest places that should be considered the focal point.

Bad sink location

9. Bad sink location

I want to also mention where you have your sink. Ideally, a window is the best place to put your sink, but there are scenarios where we can’t have a window.

In that scenario, I would suggest creating a window look by placing a mirror in front of you. This creates depth for the person who's washing the dishes as well as allowing them a view because that mirror will reflect what's happening behind them.

Kitchen design mistakes

10. No style

The final item on my list of kitchen mistakes to avoid is not considering the room like you do every other room by failing to decorate it. The kitchen in your home should not look like a prep kitchen. I use pretty vessels to hold my utensils next to my stove, and I've also placed art and faux flowers on my counter.

These are the things that bring me joy when I come into the kitchen and make it a space that I want to spend time in. Plus, clearing the counter of some of the chaos helps us to live a more luxurious life by providing calm and stillness.

Kitchen design mistakes

Take a look around your home and see if you're making any of the kitchen design mistakes that we've talked about today. I hope I've encouraged you to see your kitchen differently and bring some luxury to your life.

Let us know how we're doing and what your thoughts are on some of the mistakes you've seen in kitchens down below.

Join the conversation
2 of 15 comments
  • Ljs26380934 Ljs26380934 on Dec 10, 2023
    I have tall cabinets but have the original metal ceiling, probably near 100 years old. I wouldn’t cover them for anything. I even have some lighting over my cabinets to emphasize this original concept
  • Caseyem11 Caseyem11 on Dec 11, 2023
    I put my sink in the corner, making use of that weird useless triangle.