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10 Layout Mistakes to Avoid When Planning your Kitchen Design

The modern Australian kitchen design allows for a range of activities, tasks, and entertaining to take place. From cooking, eating & socialising, to homework and running our ‘home office’ to just name a few. Because of this, you want your kitchen design to be visually appealing as well as practical.

To create a kitchen that is both beautiful and functional, you need to avoid making these fundamental and irreversible mistakes. Looks have a look at what not to do! It takes careful planning to ensure main work zones centered around the hotplate, sink, and fridge remain clear and accessible; while allowing other zones to give family members sufficient access to the kitchen at the same time.

1. Avoid creating Obstacles for your Kitchen Design

A professional kitchen designer understands how the working triangle has evolved in today’s kitchen. Ensuring the working zones are not too small will keep family members from tripping over each other. Likewise, keeping zones not too large will prevent the kitchen becoming an area where food preparation is a cumbersome task.


In the majority of today’s Aussie kitchens, the sink would be the most frequently used element; you can anchor your design around this location.

If you think the location is not perfect, you might consider re-positioning with help from plumbing professionals. If you’re lucky enough to own a spacious kitchen, consider installing an additional small sink to optimise the layout.

2. Not Having Enough Storage Space

Kitchen DesignThe equipment and food that is used in the modern kitchen requires a lot of storage space. So it is quite often that kitchens are just short of that vital space. As a result, your appliances and other items occupy space on the benchtops. This will limit your preparation and serving areas and make cooking less safe. Plan your Kitchen design to provide sufficient room to store these items.

Avoid your design from not providing sufficient room to store these items. Drawers come to mind first when you think about creating additional storage space for your kitchen. Although they will cost more in comparison to the other storage solutions like door cabinets, you will be investing towards better accessibility, workability, spaciousness and ergonomics of your kitchen, no matter big or small.

3. Overly Fashionable Kitchen

Kitchen DesignThe end purpose of any renovation, and especially renovation of your kitchen, is to increase the value of your home from an investment perspective. Kitchens always feature when any property is marketed for sale.

Avoid those trends and colour mixes which might look very attractive on the magazine covers, but in reality, have a shorter lifespan and will go off trend faster diluting your investment.

It’s not always a good idea to go with your heart and follow that latest magazine trend, but rather pick a Kitchen design that offers a clear and strong colour scheme that will complement the style of your house.

4. Not Using Licenced Tradesmen

Kitchen DesignIt is common when undertaking house renovations, and especially with something as costly as kitchen, that you would consider saving money by doing some of the work yourself. Although the desire to stretch your budget is understandable, it is better to avoid shortcuts by using professionally trained trades-persons to do any licenced work.

A good licensed tradesman is more likely to do a better job in achieving perfectly installed & fitted out kitchen, and they should guarantee that any and all local or state guidelines are met. By hiring professionals you are also minimising the risk that costly mistakes are made in the process and your kitchen design can function as intended.

Don’t forget to always get quotes before making a decision on who to hire. Always make sure you are confident you know what is included in the price before you pay.

5. Poorly Designed Kitchen Island

Kitchen islands offer several advantages from a design perspective. Obviously, we create more functional space, better storage, better preparation areas as well as social spaces for either socialising, homework, or informal family snacks. But too often we see kitchen islands not designed to fit the space.

Given the cost & energy used to install any kitchen cabinetry, we are unlikely to ever change this once we have finished, so the Kitchen design stage is the time to get this right! We are looking for an island design which looks balanced in the overall layout, which compliments the work zones and promotes good movement around the layout.

Kitchen Design
Kitchen DesignAn island bench that is too big will restrict the traffic flows, particularly at mealtimes or other busy periods.

That is one of the reasons that the Semble online kitchen planner is so popular – being able to design, view and change over & over is a very powerful design tool which means you can have the confidence of a design before spending a cent…

6. Not Enough Bench Space

Kitchen DesignInadequate bench space is one of the most common complaints that you find in modern kitchens. Considering all the kitchen activities that require a benchtop, as well as appliances that are permanently located there, you want to fit as much open horizontal surface area in a kitchen as possible.

This can be achieved by adding an island or breakfast bar, using under bench appliances such as ovens and microwaves, and utilising as much of the footprint as possible for cabinetry.

7. Bad or Inadequate Lighting

Kitchen DesignOne thing that is absolutely necessary in any Kitchen design is good lighting. It is important to have enough light in this room for it creates a welcoming atmosphere and showcases your design elements. It’s also a great idea to have a good functional lighting scheme for when you prepare and cook; safety needs to come first when dealing with knives and other kitchen tools.

There are three kinds of lighting that you need in the kitchen – general lighting, task lighting, and accent lighting. The first is used to illuminate the whole room, the purpose of the second is to provide light for the work zones, and the third highlights design features and creates atmosphere.


8. Not Installing a Splashback

Kitchen DesignAnother common mistake that is made when designing the kitchen, is saving money on installing a quality splashback, or not including it in the design at all. It might help you stretch the budget a bit, but will definitely result in wasting a lot of time and effort in the long run.

This is a such a strong visual element in any kitchen design that it really should be planned out carefully and not left as an afterthought.

When you do preparations and cooking in the kitchen, it always creates steam, grease, and grime. Installing a splashback of tile, metal or glass above the counter bench and directly above the hotspot will make your cleaning process easier than if your splashback was a painted wall.

9. Bad Ventilation in your Kitchen Design

Kitchen DesignHowever perfectly designed your kitchen is, it will go unnoticed if it is not fitted with a high-quality ventilation system, and smells and odours that are released during cooking process stay in the air. With most Australian kitchens focusing on open homes this becomes a more important design aspect to consider.

If you want the air in the kitchen to be clean, saving money by installing the cheaper ventilation system will not help as such system circulates the dirty air without improving it. A good quality range hood will substantially improve the air inside your home, will help to keep the kitchen fresh and clean, will increase the life span of the kitchen appliances and generally improve the quality of life.

10. Forgetting About Recycling

Kitchen DesignManaging the waste in an efficient and responsible way has become another priority when designing the kitchen. One way to achieve it is to include several bins for rubbish and recyclables in the design.

Be deliberate and thoughtful for how you will handle, store and move waste products in your kitchen zones.


Your kitchen is a hub of activity, and with so much going on, it can be a challenge to create a space that will be all things to all people. The good news is that most of these problems are easy to avoid if you do a little planning.

If you are still interested in practical tips and tricks for effective Kitchen Design then why not scroll down and try out our Free Kitchen Designer Course? Or hop online and design your own kitchen online.

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