With indoor entertaining back on the cards, giving your kitchen a makeover is a tempting option. However, overlooking a small but crucial detail could leave you frustrated with your newly fitted kitchen.
So we asked more than a thousand people* to tell us their biggest regrets about their kitchen – so you can avoid making the same design decisions.
Plus, use our expert kitchen planning tips to be among the 44% who regret nothing about their kitchen.
Know what type of kitchen you want? See the best and worst fitted kitchens – we assessed kitchens from Ikea, John Lewis, Magnet, Wren Kitchens and more to find the best.
1. Not enough space on kitchen worktops
Nearly one in 10 kitchen owners in our survey said they regretted not having more kitchen worktop space.
Think about where you prepare food in your kitchen – for example, next to the hob – and make sure you’ll have enough room to cook comfortably.
Also consider how many appliances you plan to have out on the worktop, where they will sit and how much space this will leave you.
If you’re working with a small space, items that are only used occasionally could live in cupboards, freeing up precious work surface. Some owners of small kitchens we spoke to have chosen flat hobs, so that they can place a chopping board on top to give more flexibility.
Find out more about different worktop materials and which will work best in your kitchen.
2. Not enough kitchen storage
Not having sufficient cupboards and drawers to stash all your pots, pans and food was a gripe for 6% of kitchen owners in our survey.
Redesigning your kitchen is the perfect time to make your cupboards, drawers and shelves work better for you.
Think about whether you need more storage than you currently have and what you plan to put where. If you have a lot of gadgets to store, deep cupboards are essential.
Fitted kitchens come with lots of options – including built-in spice racks and corner cupboards with pull-out shelves.
3. Not enough kitchen power sockets
If you’re keen to have the latest kitchen gadgets, having enough power sockets to accommodate them comfortably is a must. But 5% of people felt they didn’t have enough power sockets in their kitchen.
First, make sure you have sufficient sockets for your large appliances, including your cooker, fridge, freezer, washing machine and dishwasher.
Most people also use a kettle, toaster and microwave regularly, so these should be quickly and easily accessible – with power sockets conveniently positioned for them.
You might also have a coffee machine, breadmaker, food processor, stand mixer, blender, grill, slow cooker, steamer or other small appliances to take into account.
You should use a qualified electrician for any electrical work and avoid overloading sockets.
4. Position of the kitchen cabinets
Where units are positioned in your kitchen, including whether they line up and how they sit alongside appliances, doors, windows and other furniture influences both the look and functionality.
You can choose from a range of storage options inside your cabinets, including racks, hooks, plate stackers, pull-out shelves and pull-down baskets, as well as standard shelves.
Getting these in the right position is also key to making your kitchen practical and functional.
Some 4% felt they hadn’t got this right.
Use our kitchen planning guide to work out how best to position the units to fit the shape of your kitchen.
5. Not choosing better-quality materials
We’ve heard from kitchen owners whose worktops have warped, the paint has bubbled or flaked off doors, or whose units haven’t stood up to daily use as well as they had hoped. Some 3% wished they had chosen better-quality materials.
There’s plenty of choice: laminate worktops are usually the cheapest and come in a variety of finishes, while you could instead opt for much pricier granite or real wood.
With an eye on your budget, consider spending more on the most visible areas, and using less premium options for areas where you’re unlikely to see them.
Find out how much a new kitchen costs.
6. Not enough kitchen cupboards
Besides those who regretted not having enough storage, another 3% specifically would have liked more kitchen cupboards.
If space is tight, consider cupboards that reach up to the ceiling (although bear in mind you may need a step to reach items on the top shelves).
How to design a kitchen
Many fitted kitchen firms offer planning appointments or online tools so you can create your own plan. If you’re starting out, consider:
- Keeping the ‘kitchen triangle’ between your fridge, sink and cooker at 7 metres or less, so cooking is as convenient as possible
- How much space cupboard and appliance doors will need when open, to make sure they don’t knock into each other or get in the way
- The height of worktops and whether it’s convenient for you
- Whether you want a table, breakfast bar or kitchen island.
Your kitchen’s constraints, including its size and where the doors and windows are, will influence your decisions if you’re not planning any structural work.
See more kitchen planning tips.
Which? kitchens research
*We surveyed 1,111 members of the Which? Connect panel online in February 2021.