6 Common Kitchen Layout Mistakes to Avoid


This image, by Modern Structure, displays a model kitchen layout with appropriate space to move, well planned “work triangle”, proper lighting, smart storage and perfectly fitted appliances. . 

Your kitchen is the hub of your home. It’s a gathering place, a thoroughfare from point A to B, a space to do homework, and a place to enjoy a meal with family. The right kitchen layout is essential to how functional it is, and how aesthetically pleasing it can be. Of course, you could just hang cabinets, install appliances, an island and a large sink. But if each of those elements aren’t placed thoughtfully, you’ll find yourself frustrated with bottle necks at the sink, extra steps taken during meal prep and unreachable utensils. Read below about common kitchen layout mistakes to avoid during your kitchen remodel or new home build.

Mistake #1: Not Planning Your Kitchen Layout Based on How You’ll Use It 

Whether you’re a gourmet chef or an everyday home cook; your kitchen layout should never be ignored. Because of the wide variety of tasks that occur in the kitchen, the way it flows is even more important than how it looks. 


 When planning your kitchen layout from scratch, consider the following:

  • How many people will be using your kitchen?
    • The more people, the more space you’ll likely need.
  • What is the overall footprint of your kitchen?
    • Before you start designing your kitchen layout, you’ll need a firm grasp on how much space you have to work with. If you work with Modern Structure, you’ll be working with design experts that can walk you through the whole process.
  • What type of cooking do you do regularly? 
    • If you prepare multiple meals daily or do a lot of baking, you’ll have different needs than someone that prepares meals 1-2 times per week. 
  • Which appliances and countertop appliances do you use most often?
    • Don’t plan your kitchen around a dedicated countertop storage space for the stand mixer you use twice a year. This leads to an unnecessary expense that can be avoided by simply storing that mixer elsewhere until you’re ready to use it. If you use your mixer consistently, it makes sense to design your kitchen around it, and you should!  
  • Do you plan to do a lot of entertaining?
    • You’ve likely noticed that your kitchen, regardless of its size, tends to be the gathering place during parties and get-togethers. If you plan to host gatherings in your home several times a year, it’s good to consider designing your kitchen layout for entertaining. 
    • We recommend adding special features that make serving food and drinks easier. This could include: wine coolers, easy access fridges, warming drawers, a butler’s pantry, etc. Of course, a lot of this depends on the size of your kitchen. At Modern Structure, we can help you determine what features you can accommodate based on your overall square footage. 


  • What other daily activities do you plan to do in your kitchen?
    • As we mentioned, your kitchen isn’t just an eating and drinking space. It’s a place to enjoy a snack with kids after school, take a conference call during a workday, get the dog ready for a walk, and so much more. Before finalizing your kitchen layout; take into consideration all of the activities that could take place in your kitchen. There are so many ways to make each of those activities work in a well planned kitchen. 


Helpful Tip: Don’t always plan your kitchen layout based on the potential resale value. If you plan to spend 5 or more years in your home; plan your kitchen layout and design it for you, and you only! You’ll be spending a lot of time there; so make it as comfortable and enjoyable for your lifestyle!


Mistake #2:Not Measuring Properly for Appliances

Appliances are the most important elements of your kitchen. And since your countertop dimensions and layout is built to suit them, it’s recommended to select your appliances early.  By choosing your appliances early on, you’ll avoid measuring mistakes that will cost you money and time. A poorly measured kitchen means your oven is too snug for the surrounding countertop, there’s too much room on both sides of the oven, or it sticks out further than the countertop itself. Allowing Modern Structure to fully manage your kitchen project means that you’ll never have to deal with this costly mistake. 


Mistake #3:Placing a Kitchen Island Where it Shouldn’t Be 

We agree that a kitchen island can provide the “wow factor” of your kitchen. Their impressive size, beautiful countertop and extra storage space are really attractive. However; this doesn’t mean you should install an island in all cases. If your kitchen has a smaller footprint, we recommend not including an island in your kitchen design. Forcing an island into a small space will likely mean poor circulation around the space, resulting in traffic jams and continued daily frustration. For a smaller kitchen, consider a peninsula over an island, if it suits your space. Kitchens with a larger footprint are more suited to kitchen islands, because there is ample room between the island and surrounding countertops to move multiple people around the room. We can help you determine which option is best for your kitchen layout. 

Mistake #4:Not Creating Enough Space to Move Comfortably 

Always take your “work triangle” into consideration. The “work triangle” is the distance between your stove, oven and sink. Each edge of your work triangle should be between 40”-60”, for maximum ease and efficiency. At Modern Structure, we are here to help you determine your optimal work triangle size, based on the overall size of your kitchen and its functions. 


In addition; there should be ample space for more than 1 person to move comfortably around your kitchen. There should be at least 36” between your kitchen island and the surrounding cabinets/countertops. Anything less will result in bottlenecks around the fridge and other high traffic areas. Be sure your cabinet doors and drawers are properly placed so they aren’t blocking foot traffic when open, or bumping into other cabinets or appliances surrounding it. 

Mistake #5:Spending Too Much on Unnecessary Kitchen Items 

Be wary of professional grade kitchen appliances. Although they have superior functionality and looks, they often come with a very high cost that could break your remodel budget big time! Typical ranges, ovens and refrigerators provide the same functions at a more affordable price. 


Helpful Hint: Don’t skimp on the higher quality products such as: cabinets & countertops, just to save a marginal 10-15% on your costs.The lower quality products won’t last as long, won’t withstand wear and tear and don’t look as good as the higher quality options. In the long run, you’ll save more money investing in a higher quality product with an increased life span!

Mistake #6:Ignoring Proper Lighting and Placement 

This common kitchen layout mistake is typically the result of trying to save on costs. If you don’t include proper lighting in your kitchen design; you’ll be left in the dark. 

There are 4 types of lighting to consider:

  1. Ambient: This is the primary source of light in your kitchen.
  2. Task: This light illuminates your work spaces such as prep and cooking areas. A great example of task lighting are LED strips underneath your cabinets, lighting up your counter space. 
  3. Accent: This type of lighting isn’t required, but can be really beautiful when used to highlight certain areas of your kitchen, such as your beautiful cabinetry or floating shelves. 
  4. Decorative: This lighting is the most enjoyable to pick out during the design process. Decorative lighting should complement your kitchen, but not dominate it entirely. 


Helpful Hint: Since ambient lighting is your main source of lighting, be sure it mixes well with the lighting in the rest of your home for a balanced look and feel.


We understand that there are a lot of details to take into account when it comes to designing your ideal kitchen layout. We are the experts in modern home form and function. Rest assured, we are here to help you with every aspect of your design, until you’re satisfied. At Modern Structure, we are dedicated to you, the customer, from beginning to end. Give us a call to schedule a free consultation, or fill out this easy form on our website to get in touch with us. Let’s start designing your custom kitchen layout today!


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