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The Kitchen: The biggest kitchen nightmares for UK Homeowners

May 30, 2022 | How To

Recent research by Hafele UK found that the biggest kitchen nightmares for most homeowners are badly planned kitchens that do not offer enough storage or space, and have an overall inefficient layout. For new homeowners especially, it can be difficult to realise the pitfalls of a poorly-planned kitchen before renovations are completed.

The kitchen really is the heart of the home, and it makes complete sense that homeowners need this space to function to its ultimate potential. So how should homeowners and interior designers begin rethinking kitchen design? Here are some research-backed insights to help you make the best decisions possible when planning your kitchen renovations.

Old style kitchen to be renovated

What do the Stats say about the kitchen nightmares in the UK?

Out of the 2,009 homeowners surveyed, 32% said that they didn’t have enough storage in their kitchens. Upon further elaboration, 17% stated that their storage was located in hard-to-reach places, with an additional 13% stating that they found it difficult to easily store and retrieve smaller appliances.

One in seven homeowners considered their kitchen layouts to be problematic, with some of their nightmares being worktops that were too high, or badly positioned cupboards as their biggest issues. 85% of these homeowners said that their badly designed kitchens impacted their emotional and mental health, and that fixing those problem areas would undoubtedly result in an overall improvement in their quality of life.

Badly designed storage, limited space and poor layout are the top three kitchen nightmares in the UK.

Creating kitchen zones for better design

Creating the best Kitchen Layout for you

The first step to take (although many don’t consider this until renovations are almost done), is actually thinking about your appliances and sinks. Decide on brand and size, as well the ideal places you’d want to install them. The oven, fridge, dishwasher, and stove especially, can really take up the bulk of your kitchen – so decide on where these larger appliances would need to be placed as early as possible. The sink is certainly a key feature as well, a larger farmhouse style sink, for example, can take up quite a bit of space.

kitchen zones including laundry area

Avoiding Kitchen Nightmares

Once those larger appliances are put in place, you can think about your ‘zones’. Creating kitchen zones will undoubtedly help you from a potential kitchen nightmare. Kitchen zones can depend on your specific needs as a homeowner, but generally, they would consist of ‘Prepping’, ‘Cooking’, ‘Clean-Up’, and ‘Putting Away’. Ideally, your kitchen should allow two people or more to work in it without getting too much in each other’s way, so your zones should allow for ease of movement.

Worktops should also be customized to suit the height of those who might work in the kitchen the most, and you might even put in a second sink to accommodate multiple people working at once.

kitchen storage for coffee station

Making Storage and Space work for you

To avoid a kitchen nightmare, storage and space in your kitchen would ideally be planned according to your kitchen ‘zones’. Your ‘prepping’ zone would have your prepping tools nearby (knives and cutting boards for example), with fairly close proximity to the fridge as well. Your ‘cooking’ zone would usually be near your stovetop, and you might choose to keep pots and pans near this zone.

Choosing different sized drawers for this zone can be helpful, and you might choose to keep slightly smaller appliances, (like a small steamer or rice cooker) in large drawers, for example.

kitchen storage ideas for space optimisation

The ‘Clean’ Zone

The ‘clean-up’ zone would be close to your sink, and ideally, your drying area would be right next to it – so that you could stack your washed dishes and utensils easily on a tray, without carrying dripping dishes across your kitchen floor. And last but not least – the ‘putting away’ zone would be a bit more flexible, and have items like your Tupperware and plastic or foil wrap in close proximity for storing leftovers.

Cabinet dimensions would ideally be decided based on zones as well, and if you’re detail-oriented enough, you might even think about planning specific drawers for specific items – like tall, narrow drawers for your oils, or stacked pull-out drawers for spices etc.

The sky is the limit when it comes to the possibilities of a creative kitchen, and as the research goes to show – a little deliberate planning could save you from the heartache of a poorly-designed space later on!


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