Handle collisions. This occurs when an opening cabinet door is travelling toward, or beyond 90 degrees and its protruding door handle strikes a neighbouring carcass side. If this happens then invariably over time the door will leave an indentation in the opposing cabinet surface, resulting in permanent and irreparable damage.
2. Gas hobs. Planning restrictions around gas hobs are very specific in accordance with the gas safety register. Amateur designers may be unaware of these restrictions and can inadvertently place cabinets incorrectly, resulting in a fire hazard, as well as a design that any mortgage surveyor might report as unsafe. Gas hobs should not be situated closer than 150 mm to a neighbouring vertical solid wall, or 300mm to a neighbouring vertical kitchen carcass panel. The hob should not be situated any closer than 300mm to the end of a run of cabinets, i.e. where there is space to the floor. There are variations in the minimum height an extractor must be positioned above a gas hob. This information will be clear in the manufacturer’s literature and should be considered when planning the kitchen.
3. Recirculating extractors. All new build kitchens must benefit from some form of mechanical exterior vented extraction, the minimum flow rate of which is dependent on the cubic volume of the room. Recirculating extractors by themselves do not meet this requirement- and if this is all you have allowed for, then separate mechanical extraction will be required.
4. Corner unit planning. Corner unit dimensions are not always as straightforward as they appear; they are almost always 1000 mm cabinets but with a planning void that increases as the door width increases. This means that the cabinet may be smaller in width overall than you were expecting, or worse still there is insufficient room left for it in your plan. Check the planning width of units very carefully, or better still have a professional do it for you.
5. Forgetting void spaces. Depending on the kitchen you are buying the cabinets may be up to 600 mm as a standard depth (570mm is the standard depth for a German kitchen with door fitted). If this cabinet is then fitted with a standard worktop blank it will leave no space behind the cabinet at all. This is not a problem if there is no pipework behind it- but if there is, it will not fit! When planning your kitchen you should leave at least 50mm for waste pipes, hot and cold feed, and gas pipes to be routed in.
6. Placing fridges/ freezers tight against walls. If you place one of these appliances tight against a wall on the side of the hinges, through attempting to open the door you will find it won’t open beyond 90 degrees. On many appliance designs this is not a sufficiently wide enough opening angle to allow the vegetable or freezer drawers to be pulled out.
7. Placing microwaves in wall units. There are many microwaves available designed specifically for integration within wall units. There is nothing wrong with this per se; however, it is important to consider the height of the microwave from the floor, as well as the height of the members of your household who may be using it. If your worktop height is 910mm and there is a space between the wall unit and the bottom of the cabinet of 580mm, you have an available height to the bottom of the microwave of at least 1510mm. Bearing in mind the contents of the microwave could be boiling hot when you remove them, you really don’t want to have to lift them out at a height above your head!
8. Measuring the space incorrectly and not checking for obstacles. Measuring your kitchen space accurately is critically important for the plan. If the measurements aren’t correct and there is no surveyor to check prior to ordering the kitchen units, there is a very high chance your design simply will not fit. Ideally, it is best to use a laser measure, but failing this ask someone to help you with a measuring tape. Measure each wall left and right, checking for consistency in your reading and furthermore try measuring the wall width at varying heights to check for walls that might slope in and out. You must measure walls where they are and do not assume a parallel wall is the same width! When measuring your kitchen window, measure the width, the height of the window from the ground, the height of the window itself, as well as the depth of the sill. If there is anything ornate about the architrave surrounding your window, then be sure to measure this too. The ceiling height should be measured from floor to ceiling at various points across the room, and if it changes then you must assess whether it is the floor that isn’t level or whether it is the ceiling. Also check for potential obstacles in your planning space; commonly missed examples are light switches, gas meters, fuse boxes etc. These can be difficult or expensive to move retrospectively.
9. Forgetting water doesn’t run up hill. Water is pumped to your tap either at ‘mains pressure’ or through the use of an additional pump device. Either way, any waste water produced leaves your sink and appliances through pipework connections and enters the main soil pipe through the force of gravity. You must ensure sufficient ‘fall’ in the pipework. This is the downward angle of the pipe in its journey to the soil pipe from the sink, and should this angle be too shallow your waste water won’t drain away properly.
10. Not using a professional. Kitchen design is tricky. Whilst basic layout and sketches can be done at home, it is the fine attention to detail and necessary revisions that make the difference between a workable, high quality design, and one that simply will not fit.
As stated in the opening of this article the information provided is intended only as a guide, but in the process of writing it we were able to think of many more mistakes that we have encountered in the plans presented to us- and this list is by no means exhaustive. Consequently, the best advice we can give you is to seek advice from a professional kitchen designer at an early stage of your planning and in doing so this should help avoid costly mistakes from occurring further into your course of works.