10 kitchen remodel mistakes you must avoid [2023]

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You spend 10, 20, or even 30 thousand dollars on your kitchen remodeling project, and you will be unhappy with it. Mistakes waste your time, money, or both. But sometimes, you don’t have the resources to correct your mistakes, and they will nag you for years.

kitchen remodel mistakes

The key points to consider in your kitchen remodel

  • Avoid wasting space and time in your kitchen remodel by creating a tight kitchen triangle where the sum of the sides is not more than 26 feet.
  • Leave enough space between counters and islands to move around comfortably. A great rule of thumb is to design the aisles around 42 to 48 inches.
  • Plan your kitchen in 3D, taking into account the space needed for doors to open on cabinets, appliances, and other items.
  • Don’t overdo it with an oversized kitchen island, which can be difficult to walk around and reach items on.
  • Cut back on unnecessary items in a small kitchen to avoid feeling cramped.

Here are the top 10 kitchen remodeling mistakes you should avoid.

What do you think will be the costliest to fix?

1. Wasting space and time

When you have a lot of space to work with, you may be tempted to create a kitchen layout with wide open spaces. While it may look nice, it can become a logistics nightmare. You don’t want to waste time and steps getting from the cooking area to the fridge to the sink. Create your design around a tight kitchen triangle where the sum of the sides is not more than 26 feet.

2. Too little space in the aisles

When you don’t have much room to work with, you may be tempted to leave too little space between counters and islands. If you ever intend to be in your kitchen with someone else, then make sure you leave room to move around. A great rule of thumb is to design the aisles between walls, counters, and islands around 42 to 48 inches.

kitchen remodel mistakes space

But you don’t need to follow the rules!

If you don’t have enough space, then narrower aisles are OK. In my own kitchen, I have one space between the kitchen island and the opposing counter, that’s 28 inches.

If you decide to deviate from the recommended rules in your kitchen remodeling project, make sure to test your design thoroughly to avoid future issues.

3. Think in 3D

Often, people plan their kitchen from the top-down view and see only squares and rectangles. But your cabinets, fridge, oven, and microwave all have doors that need space to open. First, you need enough space to open everything. Next, check if you have opposing items that could be opened at the same time.

For example, the dishwasher and cupboard to store tableware should not block each other when unloading dishes.

4. Oversized kitchen island

In a large kitchen, you may want to add a space for working and storage in the form of an island.

kitchen remodel mistakes form

Don’t overdo it!

If you have anything that’s longer than 10 feet, it’s hard to walk around. Also, if your island or countertop is more than 4 feet deep, then it’s hard to reach the middle or the other side.

Think about it. You have a pot on the other side of the 5 feet wide island with a length of 10 feet. You have to pack a lunch to get to it.

5. Squeezing too much into a small kitchen

Sometimes your ideas are bigger than the space you have.

Cut back relentlessly!

Overwhelming your small kitchen with too much stuff will make you feel cramped. Think about having to endure that feeling for years. Eliminate some kitchen cabinets. Maybe use a peninsula instead of an island. The space will feel more open, and you will be happier in it. This is one of the most important mistakes to avoid.

6. Changing your plan after the work begins

If you have made plans and already paid for materials and work, then changing the original plan will cost you extra. Sometimes it may be a lot more. For example, when you have to change the plumbing.

kitchen remodel mistakes extra

But! And there is a big but!

If you really feel you need the change, then do it as early as possible. The more work is completed, the costlier the changes.

7. Not enough storage

No matter how much storage you have, you will eventually run out of it. But if you start out with inadequate storage space, then you have to store things in the open on the kitchen surfaces. This limits your working space and makes you uncomfortable whenever you have to prep something.

kitchen remodel mistakes storage

You may have to add more cabinetry that is not part of the original design. This will look out of place and cost more.

Avoid the kitchen renovation mistakes and use a kitchen remodel checklist

I created a checklist to make sure you avoid mistakes and save your money. Check out the list and then you can download the templace.

8. Space for more than just you

The kitchen tends to be a place where people congregate even if there’s enough space in the connected dining room or living room. I mentioned that you need space between the counters and walls.

Also, make sure that your peninsula or island has enough overhang to comfortably seat 3, 4, or even more people. Arrange for comfortable seating close to the area where you work while prepping a meal.

9. Being too trendy

The quick trends change in a year or two. You wouldn’t want to use those in your design if you don’t plan to redo your kitchen every other year. Then there are longer trends that last for a decade or more. This is something to aim for. 10 to 15 years is a timeframe for how long your remodel will last. Perfect for the next complete overhaul. And then there’s the timeless kitchen that will serve you for decades. However, the design can be timeless, but the materials usually aren’t.

10. Design over function

I have this problem with one friend, her home is so beautiful, it seems to be straight from an interior design magazine. If it would be a museum of modern art, I would give the kitchen a top score.

However, when you have to live in it then, some pretty glaring flaws become distracting and annoying. That piece of art seating isn’t comfy to sit in. The cabinet hardware on the kitchen cabinetry is so trendy that your wet hand slips right off it when you try to open a door.

Ergonomics is more important than design! Choose accordingly!

What is the most expensive mistake in a kitchen remodeling project?

Choosing the wrong layout is the biggest mistake. The first 5 mistakes are all part of the underlying problem of designing a wrong layout for your kitchen. If you have to fix that, it will cost you an arm and a leg.

Tell us in the comments what has been your biggest remodeling mistake.

Ariel Path

With over three decades of experience in food manufacturing and kitchen design, I bring a wealth of knowledge to the table. My expertise spans across various aspects of the culinary world, from kitchen appliances to cooking techniques, food selection, and promoting a healthy lifestyle. My ultimate goal is to educate and inspire you in creating your dream kitchen, where functionality meets aesthetics. As a trusted source, I strive to provide valuable insights and guidance to make your kitchen remodel an enjoyable and successful experience. Together, let's transform your space into a culinary haven that reflects your unique style and meets your specific needs. See more details here.

This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. Avatar photo
    Paula Hill

    I recently went through a kitchen remodel and can definitely relate to the mistakes mentioned in this post. I made the mistake of not thinking in 3D and ended up with a cabinet door that constantly hits the fridge when opened. It’s such a small detail, but it’s been a constant annoyance since the remodel was completed. I also went a bit overboard with the size of my kitchen island, which ended up taking up too much space and making it hard to move around. This post is a great reminder to consider all aspects of the design and not rush into making decisions. I wish I had read this before starting my own remodel.

    1. cropped ariel path
      Ariel Path

      Thank you for sharing your kitchen remodel experience. One idea often overlooked is incorporating multiple levels of counter space, such as a raised bar or lower counter for appliances. This not only adds visual interest but also increases functionality. I’m glad to hear this post was helpful for you, and hope you find this additional tip useful in your next remodel project.

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