Not all kitchens are designed equally. Some of them look plain, and others are downright difficult to use for one reason or another. If something seems not quite right with your kitchen, here are five common kitchen design issues and how you can solve them!

1. Poor Traffic Flow

Some kitchens just feel awkward to use, and for these kitchens, the problem is likely the way traffic flows. Designers like to plan kitchens around what they call the “kitchen triangle.” The kitchen triangle puts the three major parts of the kitchen (the sink, stove and refrigerator) within easy reach of one another.

If your kitchen doesn’t have a good triangle design, then you’ll need to move things around so that it flows a bit better. The best way to do this is to install an island. Many manufacturers, such as Aristokraft or Decora, offer design assistance that can help you accomplish this. Make sure to include either the stove or the sink and dishwasher in your island design, and the new kitchen will be much easier to use.

2. Not Enough Counter Space

This issue is all too common, particularly among older homes that haven’t been remodeled according to modern design principles. Fortunately, there is a lot that you can do to expand your counters.

  • First, the island mentioned above, if you don’t have one, can adds lots of extra space.
  • If you don’t have cabinetry for a slide-in microwave, then you should definitely consider it to get this bulky appliance off of the counter.
  • Sometimes kitchens are designed with massive pantries – four to six doors across. If this sounds like your kitchen, consider changing the balance between pantry space and counter space. Upper and lower cabinets will hold nearly as much as those floor-to-ceiling cabinets, and they’ll give you several more feet of counter space.

3. The Kitchen Looks Drab

There are so many great ways to spice up a boring kitchen. First, pay attention to the countertops. Yes, they are work surfaces, but that doesn’t mean they need to be plain! Check out quartz, granite and other solid surface countertops such as those offered by Cambria Quartz or dress up your kitchen with granite from Decatur Countertop.

Then, pay attention to the cabinetry. Either replace door and drawer fronts, or update the cabinets entirely. And, make sure you don’t forget the finishing touches. Manufacturers such as Amerock give you thousands of options when it comes to doorknobs, drawer pulls and other hardware.

4. There Isn’t Enough Storage

Balancing counter space with storage space can be tricky, but with today’s products, you can easily have both in one kitchen. Start by thinking about how you use the kitchen. Do you have tons of gadgets (toaster, blender, food processor, etc.) or do you use more traditional tools? Is your spice rack overflowing, or do you like to stockpile canned and dry goods when they are on sale? What about cookie sheets, pots and pans?

Think about each of these things, and then look at inventive storage solutions. For instance, corner cabinets with rotating shelves are great for canned goods, and you can get pull-out inserts for narrow vertical cabinets to store spices.

5. The Kitchen is Too Narrow

So, you’ve picked out all of the cabinets and inserts that will store the things you keep in your kitchen, but now the problem is that there just isn’t enough space to open doors or drawers and still navigate the kitchen easily.

The solution for this is easy: Make sure that walkways are between 42 and 48 inches. That way, your kitchen won’t feel cramped and you’ll have no issue opening the oven or other doors and drawers.

Keep these five factors in mind for your kitchen design and you’ll be able to design a space that any chef would envy!