How to Avoid the Biggest Kitchen Mistakes

Professional designers have all "been there done that" and are more than glad to share their advice on how to avoid the most common kitchen mistakes.


Linda Woodrum's interior design can be seen in HGTV's Dream Homes.

Linda Woodrum's interior design can be seen in HGTV's Dream Homes.

Get a group of professional interior designers together and you expect them to have differing opinions. But the pros I talked to about common kitchen design mistakes all shared the same concern: When you don't pay attention to good kitchen design basics, there's trouble. Here they share what they think are the biggest errors to avoid when planning or remodeling your own kitchen.

Ignoring the kitchen triangle. "The triangle — sink, refrigerator, stove — is not obsolete," says Linda Woodrum. "I see a lot of plans coming in where builders have drawn kitchens with the refrigerator on the other side of an island from the sink and stove. You have to walk around the kitchen island to get something out of the refrigerator. It's just awful. That triangle needs to be respected."



Kenneth Brown kitchens are beautifully spare and totally functional.

Kenneth Brown kitchens are beautifully spare and totally functional.

Forgetting about function. "People get too focused on finishes without making sure everything functions first. They're so excited about the tile or the cabinets, then they realize they placed their dishwasher next to a cabinet in such a way that you can't have them both open at the same time. Or people order refrigerators with doors that open the wrong way. You want the refrigerator to open toward the area where you'll be working in your kitchen."



Colorado designer Lin Lee believes kitchens should reflect real life.

Colorado designer Lin Lee believes kitchens should reflect real life.

Not keeping up with the times. "Not remodeling! Anything that's 10 years old is OLD. We eat differently than we did 10 years ago. We live differently. It's such an investment for your house."

Designing for others. "Trying to meet the expectations of other people. It's a trap, because then you end up with more than you need. For example, people often think they need more cabinets than they do, and they'll fill their kitchen with too many cabinets and then they have to go shopping to try to fill them. Or they get gigantic appliances that don't suit the way they cook and live."

Kathy McCleary is a frequent contributor to

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