5 Common Kitchen Design Problems To Fix During Your Remodel

Your kitchen remodel is a perfect opportunity to fix those pesky annoyances in your current kitchen. When moving into a home or apartment with an older kitchen, you may find a poor design that may prevent you from using your kitchen in an efficient and seamless way. While it may be tempting to simply recreate the current kitchen design with new cabinetry, countertops, and appliances, making more substantive design changes can save you a lot of time and a lot of headaches. Here are five common kitchen design problems to fix during your remodel.

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Poor Kitchen Workflow

Your kitchen should be designed in a way that promotes a simple, seamless workflow. Your kitchen should be designed intuitively, with you and your working habits in mind. However, if you move into a space with an older kitchen, particularly a kitchen that hasn’t been adequately planned, you may find that the design is not conducive to a proper workflow. If you find yourself constantly running from one end of the kitchen to another while prepping and cooking, your kitchen may be poorly planned.

One common way that designers structure a kitchen for proper workflow is to use the kitchen triangle format, which facilitates easy movement between the three main work areas: the sink area, the stove area, and the refrigerator area. A newer approach, however, is to design your kitchen around these zones, taking not only movement but also storage and the placement of commonly used items in mind.

Not Enough Countertop Space

A lack of countertop space is probably the biggest headache that a homeowner can have. What use is the kitchen if there’s very little space to work? When remodeling your kitchen, ensuring that there will be ample countertop space is absolutely important.

If you’re working with a reputable kitchen designer, they more than likely will follow guidelines that dictate the minimum amount of countertop space that is necessary between and around appliances. For example, having about 15″ of countertop space near your refrigerator is convenient for unpacking groceries and taking out ingredients to begin your food prep. Having even more countertop space around your stove is important because you want to minimize the amount of time spent holding a scalding hot pot, for example.

When working with your kitchen designer, be sure to have a discussion about the ways in which you use your kitchen so that they can ensure that you have enough countertop space to work with. If you’re designing your kitchen yourself, be sure to do research on the NKBA standards for countertop space.

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Lack of Storage Space

Proper storage space is extremely important in your kitchen, regardless of the size. Small kitchens tend to suffer more from lack of storage, because there’s simply less space to place things. However, larger kitchens can suffer from the same issue if there’s more cookware, dishware, and small appliances to be stored. Choosing the right types of cabinets and strategically placing them in your kitchen can help.

Deep drawer cabinets, corner lazy susan cabinets, and appliance garages all help to maximize storage space by making smart use of the space that already exists. Deep drawer cabinets can comfortably hold pots and pans and dishware in a way that regular cabinets can’t.

Corner spaces are prime real estate in your kitchen, because it provides for storage in a space that can easily be overlooked or ignored. A lazy susan with rotating shelf can help making great use of the corners of your kitchen, and are great for storing pots and pans, small appliances, dishware, or anything you’d like. Appliance garages are also a smart move, because they make use of vertical space between your countertop and wall cabinet that may otherwise be left empty. They’re also great for neatly hiding small appliances out of sight, rather than keeping them out on the countertop.

Planning your kitchen by properly placing storage space around your main work areas – the sink, stove, and refrigerator – is a great way to efficiently optimize your kitchen storage space.

Insufficient Lighting

One of the worst kitchen crimes is having insufficient or improper lighting. Not only does it detract from your kitchen’s aesthetics, but it can also be dangerous. Using knives and flames and appliances in a room where you can’t properly see can certainly lead to accidents, especially if there are elderly people or children using the kitchen. A thoroughly and brightly lit kitchen is a safe kitchen.

Kitchen designers will tell you that the best way to light your kitchen is to utilize the proper combination of ambient, task, and accent lighting. Ambient lighting, usually in the form of recessed or other ceiling lights, is the light that illuminates the entire kitchen space. This is probably the type of kitchen lighting that you already have. However, during your remodel, you’ll want to add additional lighting to create a better-lit space.

While accent lighting is mainly used for aesthetic purposes, task lighting can be very important for safety. Task lighting is placed directly above your main work spaces to ensure that while you’re chopping vegetables or prepping food with small appliances, you can see exactly what you’re doing. This will help to prevent unnecessary accidents.

Unsightly, Poorly Placed Garbage Bins

It can be quite annoying to have your garbage bin propped up in the corner of your kitchen, particularly because they tend to be a source of unpleasant odors. It can also be annoying to have to constantly walk your garbage over to the corner of your kitchen.

A great solution to this problem is incorporating an under-cabinet pull-out garbage system into your kitchen. This will keep your garbage out of sight and secured within a base cabinet. This is particularly great news for people with pets that somehow find themselves rummaging through the garbage bin.

These systems also usually come with two garbage bins, one for regular garbage and one for recyclables, and are easily installed. Placing your pull-out garbage within your prep zone (located near your sink) is the best way to create an efficient and seamless kitchen experience.

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