Hell’s Kitchen: Design Mistakes to Avoid for a Happy Kitchen Space

Often referred to as the ‘hub of the home’, there’s little doubt that a great kitchen can add a lot of value as well as create a warm and welcoming spot for the whole family. It’s an area of the home that many are willing to spend that bit extra on – and extra is normally what’s needed. After all, kitchens – with so many different materials and functions involved – can be costly to update or redesign so getting it right and maximising your budget is crucial.

But how do you avoid the pitfalls of bad kitchen design? With so many decisions required, we want to make sure you’re getting your kitchen design just right. Here are our top tips on what design mistakes to avoid (and more importantly, how to fix them) when planning for a kitchen remodel.

Lack of Storage

One of the most common kitchen design problems is not adequately planning just how much storage you require, leading to clutter and disorganisation down the line. Even the smallest kitchens can squeeze in wall units that stretch to the ceiling, base cabinets with roomy drawers, and shelving – it’s just a matter of accurately planning for the space you’re going to need.

Consider large wall units filled with shelving and baskets to organise your dry goods and generous corner base units with pull out organisers which make use of what could be an awkward dead space. You might also want to consider large drawers for things like pots as they often make better use of space than their shelf counterparts. Make provision for smaller items too – concealed spice racks and drawers or additional closed shelving for small kitchen appliances and gadgets that are hidden from sight.

Thinking about your storage requirements at the very start of the design process can be the difference between a kitchen that frustrates you and one that leads to a much happier environment in the long term.

Inadequate Lighting

While many of us immediately consider a few spotlights or a large light in the centre of the ceiling, task lighting is one that often is overlooked. This kind of lighting, however, is important as it shines light directly on areas where you might be performing specific tasks like prepping food and cooking, or around areas such as the worktop, hob or sink.

As wall units will normally cast a shadow on your prep surface, consider adding task lights underneath the units to shine a light on your worktops. This means you are able to clearly see what you’re cutting or slicing and avoid any dangerous mistakes.

Recessed spotlights within your cabinets will also allow you to see exactly what you are doing and what you are reaching for during food prep. Consider adding some statement lighting above an island or breakfast bar too, combining the practical aspects of lighting alongside visual impact.

Not Considering Your Workflow

A badly planned layout will only mean extra steps required to do the most basic of tasks, something that will only lead to frustration in the long run. Consider your own lifestyle and how you like to cook. What are your basic habits in meal prep? What’s your cooking style? These are questions that should be answered long before the first units are installed.

Many designers consider the traditional use of the triangle so that your steps are equal between sink, fridge and cooker but you should cater your kitchen design to your individual needs. Perhaps you enjoy cooking with your partner? Having separate zones for prepping, washing and cooking can lead to a more efficient workflow for both of you.

Insufficient Worktop Space

As just about everything you do in your kitchen involves the use of a worktop, the lack of planning for enough of them can lead to constant frustration. Your workflow will determine how much worktop you’ll actually need and where. You’ll likely want space directly near your oven as transferring hot food to a nearby spot will avoid having to walk across the kitchen to set it down. A spot near the fridge will also likely be required, making unpacking after a large shopping trip faster and more efficient.

Also consider whether you need any additional prep space, especially if you enjoy cooking with your partner or if your children like to help with the baking. Perhaps you’d like a breakfast bar or island where someone can sit and chat whilst you prepare the food? Or maybe where your kids can do their homework?

Not Considering Traffic Flow

Traffic flow can sometimes be directly related to your workflow. Is there enough room for more than one person to be in the kitchen prepping at the same time? Consider how you want to achieve this so that you aren’t in each other’s way when it comes to reaching for things in the cupboards, using the cooker or the sink when there are more of you in the space.

Similarly, if you have children, you don’t want them charging past while you are handling knives or carrying hot food. So consider where traffic will flow in and out of the kitchen – where are the entry and exit points? Can you see who is coming and going? You might also want to consider putting appliances like the fridge or the pantry on the perimeter of the kitchen so that other family members can easily reach it without interrupting your workflow during food prep.

As you can see, preparation in kitchen design is of paramount importance. So why not be totally prepared and avoid making mistakes by taking advantage of our free cut tile sample service so you can try your tiles before you buy?


You might also enjoy these posts the Tile Mountain blog…

Customer Tile Style Profile: Lauren’s Kitchen Revamp

8 Great Ideas for Lighting Your Kitchen


As a multi-award winning interior design content creator, Kimberly Duran is an Interior Design-obsessed American ex-pat, who chronicles her decorating journey and dispenses interior design advice in her personal blog, Swoon Worthy. When she’s not helplessly drooling over all the latest trends in design, she’s adding things to the imaginary ‘shopping basket’ in her head, she likes to get messy tackling DIY projects with her partner in crime, Wayne, stalking eBay for vintage bargains and filling her home with her favourite neutral – gold.