Remodeling Regret: 5 Kitchen Layout Ideas to Avoid

Make sure “It seemed like a good idea at the time,” doesn’t cross your lips after your remodel.

Image: © Briana Morrison/Stocksy United

It’s the day you’ve been dreaming of: It’s time to plan your kitchen remodel. Dream big, but make sure you’re not making mistakes that’ll cause you to regret the money you spent and the inconvenience you went through.

What kitchen renovation decisions might you regret? Here are five.

1. Creating a Crowded Kitchen

Crowded kitchen design planImage: Liz Foreman for HouseLogic

Your kitchen wish list might be long, but make sure you’re not trying to squeeze too much into the space you have. Installing an island? Make sure it’s surrounded by at least three feet of space on all sides. And make sure you can walk around your dishwasher, even when it’s fully open. 

If you’re not sure what will push your kitchen over the line from “full” to “stuffed,” the National Kitchen and Bath Association offers detailed measurement guidelines for every imaginable situation, like ensuring 15 inches of landing area around your microwave and refrigerator. The fridge also requires four feet of floor space for the door.

2. Going Overboard with Open Shelving

Yes, it’s popular. And it can look amazing, especially to show off a stunning collection of cookware, and to make your kitchen look unique. But give some serious thought to which shelves should be open. Open shelves for items you use often, such as plates and coffee cups, are a good idea because you use them often so they’ll stay clean. But if you use open shelves to store things you use infrequently, they’ll quickly become dust collectors. You’ll also want to avoid making your lowest cabinets open. They’re harder to clean and tend to fill with dust faster. 

Still debating? Edie, the blogger behind “Life In Grace,” found the open shelves on her kitchen island impractical and dusty, but loved their look when installed above the countertops. “All the dust floating in the air will land on the lower open shelves and threaten to drive you to the brink of insanity,” she writes.

Related: Smarter Ways to User Kitchen Cabinets and Drawers

3. Getting Overly Luxurious

Luxury range in a home kitchenImage: Stuart Key/Dreamstime

Major kitchen remodels recoup less than 70% of their value upon sale. (A minor kitchen remodel will receive slightly better returns.) Unless you’re planning on staying in your home for a very long time, and having an über-high-end stove is really important to you, don’t waste your time and money on a splurge. Top-of-the-line appliances and other luxury upgrades just lighten your pocketbook — without adding much value.

4. Forgetting About the Garbage

Cheery blue trash canImage: Melissa at

When “Apartment Therapy” asked its readers for their biggest kitchen design mistakes, there was one unexpectedly common response: forgetting about the trash. There’s little worse — at least in terms of a kitchen remodel — than a gorgeous workspace with no place to discard your garbage. 

Don’t forget to make room for either a can or compactor in your new kitchen. After all, now’s the time you can design a specific space to hide that ugly plastic box. Whether you stick it under a sink (maybe install a sliding system?) or even custom-cut a hole in your countertop for easy disposal, keep trash in mind when designing a beautiful room.

5. Neglecting to Properly Vent

Range hood in a home kitchenImage: © Jen Grantham/Stocksy United

Cooking dinner for a family of four can release more than a pint of water into the air — and if you’re using a gas range that number doubles (and adds carbon monoxide). Improperly vented, that liquid seeps into your walls, ceiling, and appliances where it can cause problems with mold and mildew. Make sure your ventilation systems are properly installed and lead outdoors, which keeps your kitchen cleaner and helps protect your home’s structural integrity.

The opportunity to reshape your kitchen into the workspace you’ve always dreamt of can be so tempting: Finally, a bigger island with enough room for all your groceries. At last, an upgraded refrigerator. But in your haste to redecorate, don’t forget to think things through — otherwise your fantasy kitchen could turn into your biggest regret.

Related: Kitchen Remodeling Decisions You’ll Never Regret

Blue tea kettle in a kitchen

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