Wouldn’t it be great if someone told you that inexpensive drawer hinges would be the bain of your existence before you finished a kitchen reno? (Yes, yes it would.) Which is why we asked Nancy Charbonneau, principal designer of Charbonneau Interiors, to share the 13 things you’d never, ever find in a professionally designed kitchen.
1. Bad Lighting
Necessary for visual harmony, necessary for not julienne-ing your fingertip off. Make sure you have a mix of accent, task, ambient and natural daylight in a kitchen. Charbonneau’s favorite formula? “2700K LED recessed lights on dimmers, under cabinet task lighting and a pendant or chandelier.”
2. Low-Grade Hardware
Cabinet door hinges and drawer slides are a place to splurge, not scrimp. (They take abuse every single day.) “Soft-close hinges and drawers are so worth the investment,” says Charbonneau. “And there is nothing worse than cabinet doors that don't hang straight due to the poor quality of hinges!”
3. Insufficient Counter Space
Counter space is critical for a functional kitchen—so be sure to plan ample prep area in your layout—or bring in a freestanding island if need be. (P.S. Extra counter space can be achieved by simply stowing your appliances, flour canisters, etc.)
4. A Fridge That Sticks Out Farther Than the Counter
Ever seen one? It’s a wonky-looking sight. Charbonneau insists on carefully sourcing counter-depth appliances—and building in small appliances, like the microwave, if at all possible.
5. Fridge Clutter
Visual clutter = literal stress. So do yourself a favor and ditch the magnet/kid art/photo overload on your refrigerator. But they’re sentimental! Great: Scrap ‘em, store ‘em or frame ‘em so they look neat and beautiful.
6. Outlets on Display
Nobody wants to see a wire tangle or, heaven forbid, extension cord atop your new quartz counters. Solution: Plan your outlets to be discreet and consider modern options like under-counter outlets, pop-up outlets and USB ports to cut down on clutter. “Really think about how you will use the space,” says Charbonneau. “Do not leave these details up to the electrician or contractor!”
Separation of church and state, people! Who wants to look at stressful mail piles and paper clutter while they’re meditating over a pot of risotto? Similarly, who wants marinara sauce on their Con-Ed bill? Charbonneau says desk setups are the first thing to go in her kitchen renovations.
8. Mystery Smells
Nothing messes with a perfectly lovely kitchen like a rancid smell coming from God knows where. “Old sponges or lingering odors in garbage disposals are easy to tend to and should be addressed weekly,” insists Charbonneau.
9. Exposed Trash Cans
If you can swing it, stow your trash can in a cabinet. But if if must be on display, make sure it’s a) lidded and b) Not entirely hideous. “An automatic, touchless trash can is an inexpensive way to deal with this issue, says Charbonneau. “This is one of my favorites.”
10. Ugly Pet Gear
There’s no excuse for having dog bowls, bags of food and other various pet paraphernalia take center stage in your kitchen. Charbonneau prefers to integrate pullout dishes and beds in a kitchen design.
11. Insufficient Seating
Big kitchen? Add a breakfast nook. Tiny kitchen? Add an accent chair. Kitchens are a gathering space—and you’ll be glad to rest your feet when cooking that aforementioned risotto.
12. No Rugs
Rugs help your joints when you’re standing for long periods of time. They also add major style. “There are several varieties of rugs that are easy to clean and are beautiful at the same time: Wool-knotted rugs, machine-made rugs and indoor/outdoor rugs are great options for kitchens where spills happen.”
13. Artificial Plants and Fruit