Episode 34: Kitchen Design Essentials – Key Kitchen Design Mistakes

This episode brings back our guest Fabieli Fontana, from White Pebble Interiors. She and Frances discuss some of the key design mistakes they have seen (and mitigated). Windows in a location that compromise design and functionality, the consideration of materials, and how they affect design outcomes. Some big-scale issues with pantries, using corners, right down to little details such as lining up cabinetry, power point locations, picture windows, and visual bulk mitigation. They discuss how the rationale of the kitchen design is critical to understanding how it works. That your desires may not be a functional choice, so understanding the rationale of the design is crucial in the process.

Finally, they cover why elevations are so important to design details and discuss how not having them leads to big issues later on.


Frances and Fabi discuss some of the key design mistakes they’ve encountered while working as interior designers and the impact they have on kitchen design.

In many instances, if design mistakes are picked up early on , they can improve the aesthetic or functionality of the kitchen.

In this episode, they share the design mistakes and what changes they suggested to improve the outcome for the client.

Key Kitchen Design Mistakes


                No openable windows– Make sure you have  openable windows as kitchens need natural ventilation.

Window Locations  Consider window frames aligning with cabinetry, centre sinks and taps on centre panes of windows, and balance splashbacks with windows for correct proportions. An example  Fabi and Frances discuss is that of a kitchen with a highlight window not centred above the cabinetry, and the window being too low that it affected the cabinetry height – making looks stumpy, but also affecting storage. This was picked up early allowing discussions with the architect to have the window moved and the size changed

 Wish list Vs practicality – You may desire  an open island bench for seating at one end, but if space is tight, storage is scant and the dining table is close by – functionality over a wish list item may not be a smart design option.   Looking at the kitchen design as a whole, not in isolation makes for a better overall outcome for the home.

Stovetops under windows are not everyone’s ideal. They may look amazing, but cleaning the grease off  the window each day is not everyone’s idea of fun and is not regarded as low maintenance.

Internal Elevations and Joinery Design

Sometimes people feel they will save money by not getting elevation drawings done for their kitchen, and rely on the floorplan and talking to the cabinet maker.

This is a dangerous route to take and will inevitably lead to big mistakes, little mistakes and regrets. Precise details will be unknown, exact layouts uncertain, and details for proper construction and quoting incredibly limited. As Jeremy Gates said on the previous podcast (Builder’s Insight” – {MICHAELA _ ADD LINK}not having proper drawings is one of the biggest mistakes leading to under capitalisation on your overall kitchen outcome.


Fridges are deeper than standard cabinetry depth, so clearance for door operation needs to be factored into the design.   Allow enough clearance between the wall and the back of the refrigerator for adequate air circulation. And if a flush fridge with cabinetry is desired, benchtops and cabinetry will need to be altered to allow for this.

Place fridges to the outer edge of kitchen design for easy access. Ensure you have space between the fridge and bench. Ideally  1.1 metres.

Material Selection

Some materials may not be suitable for your design. Thermo doors may warp if too long, sheet sizes may not be large enough for cupboard doors.

Galley kitchens, pantries and laundries link up in a linear fashion. Flooring considerations for aesthetic purposes along with wet area functionality need to be determined. The mistake of breaking the floor line leads to be substandard finish. Minimal flooring types in a home make for a more refined finish and continuity across spaces.

U-shaped Pantry

Dealing with corners in a U-Shaped kitchen can be tricky. Both Frances and Fabi use a design solution for dealing with corners that allows for a step-in pantry, that also uses an otherwise underutilised corner.

Powerpoint Locations

Imagine having a stunning splashback, but then see a  white powerpoint popping out. This is something that can be avoided, with planning and using alternatives that allow your splashback to take centre stage.

Designer Rationale

A lot of detailed planning and thinking goes into a professional kitchen design. It stops many mistakes happening as a detailed analysis of space is going on in the design process. Don’t underestimate the mistakes that can be avoided due to this. You should be able to ask your designer for their rationale and thinking behind the design they have created. There is likely to be many aspects they have been considered that may not be obvious to you, so understanding the rationale behind the design lets you understand this process.

Design is thinking and planning, so your designer should be able to explain their rationale for something being the way it is. Your designer will pick up things that you hadn’t even thought about or realised made a difference.


Available Services

Overwhelmed by the amount of decisions that need to be made when creating stylish, functional and durable Kitchen? What materials to select, what colours will co-ordinate together, what design is going to best suit space, and your requirements.

We offer several kitchen design packages to assist with your kitchen design – be it a makeover, renovation or new kitchen. Click the link here to find more: 

If you’re thinking about renovating or building your own “Forever Home”, get in touch with Frances directly, by booking a chat with her


Related Resources:

Episode 14: Forever Home LIVE- Joinery Drawings and Why Do Them Early On

Episode 30: Kitchen Design Essentials -Kitchen Design Layouts and Location

Episode 32: Kitchen Design Essentials – The Builder’s Insight

How to Choose the Right Bench Top

Top 5 tips for selecting benchtops

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