Buying a new kitchen is often a major investment. Get it right and it can bring you pleasure for years and add value to your home. Get it wrong and you could be left with an expensive headache on your hands. With that in mind, the team from Tara Neil, Kitchen Showroom in Reading share their expertise into some common mistakes to avoid when designing your dream kitchen.

Overlooking the importance of structure

The structure of your kitchen should reflect its functionality. It starts with the work triangle. That’s the cooker, sink and fridge. These days that triangle may become a square or even a pentagon as ovens are separated from hobs and microwaves are added. The basic principle, however, is the same, you should be able to get between these key points easily.

After this, you need to think about your appliances and ventilation devices such as hoods and fans. This includes thinking about plumbing and electricals. Then you add the other immovable fixtures such as storage, including storage for waste (rubbish, composting and recycling), and possibly a kitchen island. You then need to ensure that you also have sufficient counter space.

Failing to measure properly

The adage “measure twice cut once” applies everywhere in the home but particularly to kitchens and bathrooms. This is because it’s often difficult and expensive to change them once they are installed. Measure everything, large appliances, cabinets, drawers, small appliances, light fixtures, everything.

If something opens, e.g. appliances, cabinets and drawers, make sure there is space for it to open. This means looking at how it opens. For example, a door that opens to the side will need space to the front as well as to the side, whereas a door that drops down will only need space at the front. With that said, a door that drops down will probably need more space at the front than a door that opens to the side.

If you’re using sliding doors, remember to think about the impact this will have on access. Sliding doors are generally installed in pairs. Using them generally means that you will only get access to one side of the cabinet at a time. You also get doors that open upwards. If you’re thinking about these, remember to think about the practicalities of closing them again.

Choosing the wrong storage options

In kitchens, as with just about every other area of the home, it’s virtually impossible to have too much storage. Understandably, modern kitchen designs tend to be very focused on squeezing every bit of storage space out of your kitchen. They’ll try to use all the vertical space and even the smallest gaps, for example, the space at the side of the fridge.

Quantity is important but so is quality. You need the right balance of cabinets and drawers. You also need both to be in the right parts of your kitchen and correctly sized. You can have open shelving in a kitchen but take great care with it. Open shelving tends to work best in larger kitchens where it can be placed well away from food-prep and cooking areas.

In smaller kitchens, it’s generally better to keep the doors on to minimize clutter. If you want to keep the space light, try using cabinets with frosted glass doors. If, however, you really want the open look, then consider using cabinets without doors. These give a lot more protection than open shelves.

Choosing the wrong countertop

As with storage, getting enough workspace is only part of the challenge. The other part is choosing the right kind of countertop. The main options are natural stone, artificial stone, concrete, metal (usually steel, sometimes copper), wood, tile and laminate. Each of these options has a different look and its own unique qualities. It’s therefore important to do your research thoroughly before you make your choice.

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