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Publication Date: 2015-11-10

Design Insights

6 Kitchen Design Mistakes to Avoid for a More Sophisticated Space

Give these often-ignored areas attention to bring your design to the next level.

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1. Overlooking the Ceiling. "People always overlook the ceiling," says designer Malcolm James Kutner, "and it's a great place to put wallpaper, do a texture, or do a different color." Hello, pumpkin! Photography: Eric Piasecki/Otto. Interior Design: Dunn & Tighe Interiors

2. Losing the Counter. Coffee maker, toaster oven, microwave—all your small appliances can quickly overwhelm your workspace. Designer Lauren Levant Bland suggests turning a couple cabinets into an appliance pantry by adjusting the shelving and adding electrical outlets. "The appliances stay plugged in and operate right there, but then you can shut the door." Just unplug them first and wait till they cool down! Photography: Alexander James/The Interior Archive

3. Ignoring Lighting. "A beautiful light fixture adds a whole other layer of design and atmosphere to a kitchen," says designer Sara Story. And for a softer ambiance, "Two lamps on either end of an island warm a kitchen up," offers designer Susan Ferrier.

4. Hiding Dishware. Bowls, cups and plates in the same color family look great showcased in open shelving. Or, as Kutner suggests, you can stack them in serving trays to create a "sculptural moment" on the counter. Photography: James Fennell/The Interior Archive

5. Not Planning for Clutter. The kitchen is the inevitable catchall area for the family's day-to-day stuff: mail, phones, tablets, charging cords. Designate an organized hideaway—like a painted hutch—to act as a landing zone for papers and gadgets. Photography: Alexander James/The Interior Archive

6. Forgetting About the Breakfast Table. Outfit your cooking and dining space like your other rooms. "I just don't think the kitchen should be treated differently than any other room in the house, with the exception of maintainable countertops and flooring that can be swept," suggests Ferrier. "In my own kitchen, the finest chair in my house is in there—it's gilded, and it's at the breakfast nook." Photography: Jean-Marc Palisse/The Interior Archive

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