Kitchen remodeling projects can be exciting yet daunting. With so many options for layouts, appliances, cabinets, countertops, flooring, and more, it’s easy to get overwhelmed. As pros in the home renovation industry, we want to share our insights on the biggest mistakes homeowners commonly make during kitchen remodels. Avoiding these pitfalls will help ensure your project stays on time, on budget, and delivers the gorgeous, functional kitchen of your dreams. Read on as we reveal the 8 biggest kitchen remodeling mistakes and tips for avoiding them.

Not Having a Plan

Jumping into a kitchen remodel without proper planning is one of the biggest mistakes homeowners make. Creating a detailed plan is essential for a smooth project that yields your dream kitchen within your budget. Here are some planning tips:

Define your goals – Make a list of what you want to change and your overall vision. This will drive all other plans.

Involve key players – If you’ll use a contractor or designer, bring them in early for input. Discuss layout ideas with everyone who uses the kitchen.

Make a budget – Get quotes on all materials, appliances, labor and fees. Ensure it aligns with your goals. Build in a 10-15% buffer for overages.

Plan the layout – Consider workflow, storage, appliances, lighting, ambiance and ergonomics as you map out the new space.

Choose materials – Select finishes and features for countertops, cabinets, floors, walls, and more that align with your style and budget.

Create a timeline – Account for ordering, delivery, demolition, construction, and inspection timelines to minimize delays.

Secure permits – Check with your local building department on which permits and inspections are required before starting work.

Investing sufficient time in planning upfront will pay off tremendously in a smoother remodeling process and a cohesive, functional kitchen design tailored to your needs and style.

Trendy Over Timeless

When selecting materials and finishes for your kitchen remodel, aim for a timeless look over following trends that will quickly fade. Here are some tips:

  • Choose classic styles – Opt for simple, clean lines in your cabinetry and hardware rather than ornate or ultra-modern looks.
  • Select neutral hues – Whites, grays and neutral tones have long-lasting appeal vs bold colors that can feel dated fast.
  • Consider materials – Quartz, granite, subway tile, stainless steel tend to maintain popularity over many years.
  • Skip gimmicky features – Things like flashy built-ins can seem outdated faster than flexible storage and prep space.
  • Envision longevity – Pick finishes like floors that will hold up well 10-15 years rather than needing an update sooner.
  • Add personality with accents – Inexpensive decor like window treatments and accent lighting can easily be changed out.

The goal is a timeless, classic kitchen design you’ll love for years. Choose versatile materials and simple lines for the core elements, then layer in personal style with accents.

Insufficient Lighting

Lighting is one of the most commonly overlooked elements in kitchen remodels. Proper lighting serves both form and function. Be sure to include:

  • Task lighting – Use under-cabinet lighting and pendants carefully placed over key workstations.
  • Ambient lighting – Add general illumination with overhead can lights and natural light from windows.
  • Accent lighting – Install tracks, rail lighting or recessed spots to highlight architectural details.
  • Light controls – Include dimmers, occupancy sensors and timers to control the lighting.
  • Balance light temperatures – Mix warm and cool light tones for visual comfort and appeal.
  • Specialty lighting – Consider toe-kick lighting, display lighting and even fiber optics.

With careful planning and layered light sources, your kitchen can be bright, inviting and functional. Be sure to base lighting on how you use the space rather than simple aesthetics.

Neglecting Workflow

A kitchen remodel offers a great chance to improve workflow and ergonomics. Avoid these common mistakes:

  • Traffic jams – Eliminate cramped work triangles that cause bottlenecks.
  • No landing zones – Provide room for items when moving between tasks.
  • Out of reach – Place commonly used items in accessible cabinets.
  • Stretch zones – Avoid inefficient stretches to prep, cook and clean up.
  • Energy centers – Position key appliances like the sink, stove and fridge thoughtfully.
  • Seating limitations – Ensure walkways don’t get blocked when people sit at islands or tables.
  • Storage shortages – Include pull-out shelving, rollout trays, lazy-susans and other space-saving elements.

Thoughtful kitchen layout and storage solutions tailored to how your family uses the space can dramatically enhance functionality.

Choosing the Wrong Countertop

Your countertops will see heavy use and need to hold up over years of food prep, cooking, cleaning, and more. Avoid these countertop mistakes:

  • Trendy materials – Durable classics like quartz and granite outweigh fads.
  • Cheap laminate – Low-end laminates stain easily and lack durability.
  • High-maintenance – Natural stone often requires frequent sealing.
  • Too dark – Dark counters show stains, scratches and dust more.
  • Mismatched edge profiles – Beveled edges trap gunk – go for eased or pencil edges.
  • No personalization – Add interest with mixed materials, inlays, special edges.
  • Forgetting the backsplash – This protects your walls and ties counters to the room.

Be sure to select a countertop material that can withstand heavy use and matches your home’s style. Durability outweighs looks.

Neglecting Storage

One of the biggest complaints in kitchens is inadequate storage space. Make storage a priority in your remodel with solutions like:

  • Kitchen islands – Incorporate storage cabinets, shelves, and drawers.
  • Pantries – Walk-in or reach-in pantries offer dedicated food storage.
  • Deep drawers – Replace lower cabinets with very deep drawers.
  • Roll-out trays – Add pull-out trays or shelves to standard cabinets.
  • Blind corner organizers – Specialized hardware maximizes awkward corner space.
  • Wastebasket nooks – Dedicate a pull-out space in a lower cabinet.
  • Vertical space – Use ceiling height for tall pantry cabinets or full-height shelves.
  • Understairs – Build in cabinetry under stairs to gain storage space.

With some creative planning, you can incorporate specialized storage to keep kitchen items organized.

Choosing the Wrong Flooring

Kitchen flooring endures heavy foot traffic, spills, pet accidents and more. Be sure to avoid these common flooring mistakes:

  • Carpeting – Absorbs spills and stains making cleanup near impossible. Skip it.
  • Slippery tile – Small, smooth tiles become slippery when wet.
  • Dark floors – Constant activity shows dust and dirt on darker floors.
  • Trendy looks – Heavily veined stone or speckled concrete will look dated quickly.
  • Harsh patterns – Busy patterns or strong grout lines feel chaotic.
  • Thin laminate – Can dent and bubble up over time, especially near appliances.
  • Lack of transitions – Flooring shifts seasonally – include adequate transitions.

Choose durable, easy-care materials that can handle messy incidents while offering style. Timeless oak hardwood or larger format tiles often work well.

Skimping on Appliances

Appliances are the workhorses of your kitchen, so don’t cut corners here. Watch out for:

  • Buying on price alone – Consider performance, durability and warranty.
  • Impulse upgrades – Stick to the upgrades that truly improve functionality for you.
  • Gimmicky features – Avoid electronics that won’t stand the test of time.
  • Disrupting the design – Appliance finishes should coordinate with your overall style.
  • Ignoring capacity – Ensure appliance sizes fit your family’s needs.
  • Skipping energy efficiency – ENERGY STAR ratings help save energy costs long-term.
  • Not checking reviews – Research reliability of brands and specific models thoroughly.

While appliances make up a chunk of a kitchen remodel budget, they’re a long-term investment that’s critical to functionality. Do your homework to select the right mix of performant, durable appliances tailored to how you cook.

Rushing the Details

It’s easy to gloss over the final details of your kitchen remodel in an effort to cross the finish line. Avoid headaches by taking time to:

  • Inspect thoroughly – Walk through the finished space looking for overlooked flaws, misalignments or damage.
  • Review the checklist – Ensure all items on your project checklist or punch list are complete.
  • Test everything – Operate all appliances, plumbing, lighting, heating and cooling elements to catch issues.
  • Check cleanup – Ensure cabinets, surfaces and floors are immaculate after construction. Appliances should be pristine.
  • Review manuals – Request manuals for all new appliances and fixtures to understand care and operation.
  • Get help – Have pros assist adjusting doors, drawers, hardware and appliances for optimal function.
  • Take photos – Document the finished project and details thoroughly for warranty and insurance purposes.

Carefully inspecting the remodeled kitchen, testing elements, and adjusting details ensures you get the flawless finished space you deserve.

Not Budgeting for Decor

Many homeowners pour funds into their kitchen remodel then run out of steam when it comes time to decorate and accessorize the finished space. Be sure to:

  • Shop sales – Time purchases of lighting, rugs, curtains and decor for seasonal sales or discount days.
  • Reuse what you can – Check if any decor from the old space can be reused to offset costs.
  • Layer over time – Spread bigger purchases like furniture out over a few months as deals arise.
  • Get creative – Use sites like Etsy for unique art, prints and wall decor at various price points.
  • Choose key splurges – Invest in special statement pieces or custom window treatments that make an impact.
  • Focus on function – Spend more of the budget on functional elements like task lighting that improve usability.
  • Know when to stop – Avoid “cluttering up” an elegant new kitchen with too many knickknacks.

Beautiful, pulled-together kitchens don’t happen overnight. Carefully planning purchases allows you to decorate in phases without busting your budget.


A kitchen remodel is a complex project with ample room for error. Avoiding common mistakes like those outlined above will ensure your project check all the boxes for aesthetics, functionality, and durability over the long haul. Invest time in careful planning and material selection, focus on storage and lighting, and select classic over trendy styles. Pay close attention to finish details and budgeting to end up with a cohesive, livable kitchen that truly functions as the heart of your home for years to come.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are some common kitchen remodeling mistakes to avoid?

Some of the most common kitchen remodeling mistakes include not planning properly, choosing trendy finishes that will look dated quickly, inadequate lighting, poor workflow and layout, selecting the wrong countertops or flooring for durability, skimping on appliances, rushing through finish details, and forgetting to budget for decor and accessories.

How important is lighting in a kitchen remodel?

Lighting is extremely important for both aesthetics and function. Be sure to incorporate ample task lighting over key workstations, general ambient lighting throughout, accent lighting for design interest, and controls like dimmers. Lighting helps make the kitchen both beautiful and highly usable.

What countertop materials stand the test of time?

Quartz, granite, marble, and solid surface materials like Corian stand up very well over many years of heavy kitchen use. Laminate has improved but can still scratch and stain easily. Natural stone requires frequent sealing.

What kind of flooring works best in kitchen remodels?

Durable porcelain or ceramic tile is a top choice for kitchens. Hardwoods like oak add warmth but require more maintenance. Sheet vinyl is affordable yet durable. Larger format tiles and slip-resistant finishes are safer. Avoid small, slippery tiles and high-maintenance carpeting.

Should you invest in high-end appliances for a kitchen remodel?

Appliances are a key long-term investment in a kitchen remodel, so it pays to buy the best you can reasonably afford. Opt for sturdy construction, energy efficiency, smart features that suit your needs, and a strong warranty and reputation. Quality appliances matter for durability and function.

Why are finish details important in a kitchen remodel?

It’s critical to thoroughly check all details in the completed kitchen, test appliances, plumbing, lighting and heating/cooling systems, adjust cabinets and drawers, request manuals, and take photos. This helps identify and resolve any lingering flaws or issues to get the kitchen functioning just as you envisioned.

Should you budget for decorating and accessorizing?

Many homeowners neglect to budget for decorating the kitchen after a remodel. Be sure to save for items like lighting fixtures, window treatments, appliances accessories, art, rugs, and more that pull the whole room together. Shop sales, reuse existing decor, and buy special splurges thoughtfully.