It’s easy to get caught up in the excitement of designing or renovating a kitchen and overlook the details that really matter. Before you spend your hard-earned money on features you’ll regret, consider these six common kitchen design mistakes that could make your kitchen harder to use, clean, and enjoy. After all, if your kitchen’s functionality is impaired, you’ll just end up ordering a lot more take-out – and then what’s the point of putting so much time and effort into it?

Lack of Adequate Storage

Image via Apartment Therapy

Open shelving is all the rage right now, and it’s easy to see why. Upper cabinets can dominate the space, especially if they’re a dark color, while simple shelves contribute to an airier feel. But keep in mind the cardinal rule of well-organized interiors: there should always be a home for everything. Otherwise, you’ll just end up with all those extra dishes, glasses, cooking implements, and baking ingredients cluttering your countertops. If you take away storage on the wall, add it back somewhere else.

Neglecting a Good Workflow

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Pay attention to how you actually move through your kitchen while using it. Is there a place to set hot things down beside the stove? Is there a clear path from the stove to the sink to the fridge? Can people pass through without bumping into open doors, a too-large island, or other obstacles? It’s harder to engineer a good workflow when your kitchen is small, but there are always workarounds, like slide-out surfaces, pocket doors, and counter-depth appliances.

Choosing Hard-to-Clean Materials

Image via Fantastic Frank

Sure, tile counters can be beautiful. But have you ever had to clean greasy sludge out of grout? The same goes for real wood floors and unfinished wood cabinets, both of which can discolor quickly from oily splashes and spills. Before you choose those porous countertops or stainless appliances that show every single fingerprint, think about how (and how often) you’ll be cleaning their surfaces. You might find that alternative materials suddenly seem more appealing.

Indulging in Too Many Trends

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Two-toned painted cabinets, mix-and-match hardware, and speckled granite are three trends that were majorly popular just a few years ago, but all of them are now on their way out. Sorry, Joanna Gaines, but shiplap is probably next. When you’re designing your kitchen, avoid including too many things you’d see on a reality TV home makeover show, because there’s good chance they’ll look dated in the very near future. If you love a certain trend too much to pass it up, use it for something that can be switched out easily when you feel like making another change.

Going Hard on Amateur Projects

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You watched all the YouTube videos. You memorized every second of that TikTok tutorial. Great. You can probably handle a lot of DIY projects and save money in the process. Just make sure you really know what you’re doing, and don’t skip any steps. Proper planning and prep is crucial. For instance, if you’re looking to paint your cabinets, don’t forget to degrease, sand, and prime them first, or they’ll start to bubble and peel in a matter of months.

Overspending on the Wrong Stuff

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It can be tempting to design for other people’s impressions, imagining what they’ll think when they walk in. But your kitchen is for you, and it should match your lifestyle. If you really don’t need a top-of-the-line gas range, those thousands could go toward items that will actually make your life easier, like cabinet shelves that slide out so you don’t have to crawl inside looking for that one muffin tin.