top of page

5 Mistakes to Avoid When Designing Your Dream Kitchen

The intent of this post is to arm you with a few tips and tricks to create a beautiful and functional space.

Having a beautiful, functional Kitchen is one of the greatest feelings you can experience as a homeowner. There is simply nothing else like it. That’s because when you create your dream space you get to enjoy the heart of your home with friends and family, while at the same time increasing your re-sale value and maybe even making your neighbors a little jealous!

However, there are many obstacles you will have to overcome before you can get there. Not only do you have to make the design visually appealing – but you also must make sure the space is functional, which can be the most difficult challenge of all. All of this can leave you falling short of the mark and stop you from ever achieving the Kitchen of your dreams.

Fortunately, though, it doesn’t have to be as challenging as you think. Far from it, in fact. Simply by implementing the right tried-and-tested techniques, you can achieve your desired outcome without experiencing any of the common frustrations.

So let’s get to it!



#1 Ditch the Triangle!

Chances are you have heard of the Kitchen Triangle before, but if not let me explain. For years people touted the Kitchen Triangle i.e., a workspace triangle connecting your fridge, sink and stove.

Although good in theory, it is also a thing of the past. Like everything else in life, Kitchen spaces have evolved over the years.  The Kitchen Triangle works great for a single person working away in a small in-closed kitchen. They gain easy access to everything they need, and it is all within a few steps. Great right!? Well, not so much anymore. The Kitchen has really become the heart of the home. It’s the busiest room in the house, a gathering place for families and partygoers alike. In most cases there is no longer just one person in the kitchen, there are multiples, Parents, Children, Pets and Friends! Where in days past it may have been convenient to have a sink directly behind the stove, it is now inconvenient because someone is trying to work at the stove while someone else is working at the sink. We tend to try to work a kitchen out to “workspace” areas now. For example, you may need a prep area, a cooking area and a cleaning area. Maybe you love to bake? How about an area dedicated to rolling out dough and storing your Mixmaster.

Take into consideration how many people will be working in the kitchen, what they like to do in the kitchen. Is there an area for onlookers to hang out etc. 


#2 Settling for inferior quality products.

I know, I know, Kitchens are expensive! But one of the worst mistakes homeowners can make is using low quality cabinetry that doesn’t last.

There is nothing worse than dreaming, planning and executing the perfect kitchen reno only to have your new kitchen fall apart after a few years.  When for a fraction more you can use high quality materials that will last and save you money in the long run. By using things like pre-finished plywood cabinet boxes, dovetailed wood drawers, superior slides and hinges and real wood doors you are setting yourself up for success and a long term solution. Pair it with a fabulous design and your kitchen can last you 30+ years.  The low price, big box store style kitchens can be alluring but those immediate savings will quickly become added costs when you are forced to repair, refinish or even replace in the not so distant future.  Although cabinetry is one of the bigger budget items in your kitchen renovation, there are also the costs of electrical, plumbing, countertops, tile, flooring etc. If your low quality kitchen needs replacing after a few short years, you’ll be stuck paying for those items all over again as well.

For our Kitchens we choose to use Merit and Columbia Cabinetry. High in overall quality and back by a limited lifetime warranties from a companies that has been around for over 50 years!


#3 Using finishes that don’t work with your lifestyle.

This can be a bit of a tough one to get over. You may be dreaming of a stunning Hunter green painted kitchen.  Or maybe you’ve seen a beautiful smokey Blue kitchen in a magazine and immediately pictured yourself in that space. That’s great! It’s also one of the first steps to designing your dream space. However, did you also picture your two toddlers running through the room? Or your Dog waiting patiently for dinner while creating a pile of drool on the floor? Or even your significant other who seems to have the uncanny ability to spill food everywhere while making dinner! We rarely see that in the magazines or on social media but that is real life and it is important to plan for.

Painted kitchens can be stunning and beautiful but are also one of the least resilient and hardest to touch up. Stained wood is a more robust product but typically comes with a more traditional look. The key is to work within your lifestyle. Those choices may contrast drastically if you are an empty nester and not overly worried about the prospective of wear and tear on you cabinets in comparison to large family with small kids, pets or teenagers. It’s always best to speak to your designer about available options but if you have your mind set on painted cabinetry, you’re not alone. Some solutions we use for high traffic kitchens are:

-Go with a two-toned approach. Stained wood on the lower cabinets which take the most abuse and painted wood on the uppers which are a little safer from harm.

-Paint with a vintage rub through. Think of it as a bit of a pre-used look eliminating some of the worries of knocking or scratching yourself.

-Reduce the stress of your new kitchen and just be prepared to replace a door or two in the future.

-Our secret weapon, Merit’s exclusive Opaque stain. Our cabinet supplier offers an Opaque stain on Maple that blends the look of a painted kitchen with the benefits of a stained wood. There are only a limited number of colours to choose from but they will still allow you can still get that off-white or blue kitchen you have been dreaming of with the durability of stained wood.


 #4 Waiting to pick Appliances.

Of course, appliances are a huge part of the functionality of your kitchen. Don’t wait to pick them! Your kitchen needs to be designed around the appliances you want and the appliances you need to best achieve your most usable space. It’s always a good idea to speak to an appliance expert but also to spend some time reflecting on what could make life better for you. Is you fridge always overloaded? Maybe it’s time to look at a bigger model or maybe a separate fridge and freezer.  Have a big household? or perhaps you love to have big gatherings? Maybe a second dishwasher would help make clean up a breeze. Sick of bending down to check on your baking? Perhaps a wall oven and cooktop are better suited for you instead of a traditional range. Find yourself adjusting oven temperatures to try to make multiple dishes at once? Perhaps a double oven is in order?

Once you have thought about your wants and needs take a trip to your local appliance store.  Take the time to touch and feel the appliances, you never know what you may fall in love with and what will become a non-negotiable part of your  kitchen. Once you have a basic idea of what you want, then start the process of your kitchen design.  It will help eliminate a lot of frustration in the long run. You don’t want to spend all your time and energy designing a kitchen with a 30” range when you fall in love with a wall oven, cooktop combo and have to start all over with your design.


#5 Using a high maintenance countertop.

What part of your Kitchen takes the most abuse? The countertop! Cutting, cleaning, prepping, mixing and rolling will all be done on this surface. Not to mention occasional spilling and dropping. It may even be used as a dining area, home office or your kids crafting table. Natural stones like granite and marble can add to the aesthetic of your kitchen. Their unique patterns can look like a piece of artwork sitting on top of your cabinetry but they can also come with the issue of care and maintenance. Natural stones can be porous, require sealing and are more susceptible to staining. They may have fishers and natural movements that make them more likely to break or crack.

A less maintenance and more worry-free option is Quartz. Although Quartz is a man-made product, good quality Quartz is made from 90+% natural quartz crystal. The slabs are often designed to reflect the look of natural stone and there are hundreds of designs to choose from. Good Quality Quartz is nonabsorbent, so it resists staining and won’t harbour harmful bacteria. It also never needs to be sealed. Quartz is scratch resistant and extremely durable. A great choice for any kitchen.


Thank you for taking the time to read this article – we hope you’ve found the information helpful and can use what you’ve learned to begin designing your dream kitchen.

If you need help designing and planning your space, then click the link on our home page and fill out our project planner. We’ll put you in touch with one of our experienced designers to help guide you through the process.

Happy Designing! 


Recent Posts


bottom of page