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14 Kitchen Renovation Regrets: As Told by Homeowners

September 24, 2021
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Leave no room for ‘if only’!

Built-ins and fixtures are must-haves in a kitchen, but this also means that you’ll be stuck with them until the next time you renovate. With that, it’s important to make the right decisions when it comes to your kitchen design choices - decisions you won’t regret in the years to come.

To help you out, we asked our Instagram community to share what they wish they’d done differently for their kitchen renovation, and here were some of the most common responses:

kitchen renovation Singapore

On layout and space

1. “Gone with a different layout” / “Built an island”

Redhill Lane by ChengYi Interior Design

From galley to U-shaped, one-wall to an island, each kitchen layout has its pros and cons. To find one primed for your cooking habits, visualize how you’ll utilize your kitchen in terms of cooking workflow.

That said, some layouts may not be feasible based on your floor plan, so it’s best to speak with your interior designer before getting too carried away!

2. “Knocked down the service yard wall to make the kitchen bigger”

Punggol Field by U-Home Interior Design

Interior Firm: U-Home Interior Design

If cooking is a big deal for you, consider extending your kitchen into the service yard by hacking away the wall that separates the two.

However, you’ll only be able to do so provided it isn't a structural wall.

Explore: 4 Layout Changes That Create More Spacious HDB Flat Kitchens

3. “Gone with an open kitchen concept”

Northshore Drive by Ultra Space Design

Interior Firm: Ultra Space Design

Open kitchens create a perception of spaciousness as spaces flow into one another, and allow for easy interaction with household members and guests while you’re cooking. With these benefits in mind, it’s easy to see why homeowners who opted for closed kitchens regret doing so.

That said, open kitchens are only recommended if you only intend to do light cooking - more on that next.

4. “Installed a door between kitchen and dining area”

Ang Mo Kio Street 23 by Charlotte's Carpentry

Interior Firm: Charlotte's Carpentry

On the flipside, some homeowners wish they hadn’t gone with an open kitchen concept. Such regret generally stems from occasions where fumes from heavy cooking diffuse throughout the house.

As a middle ground, consider installing flexible partitions that can be closed when cooking is in progress.

5. “Gotten a smaller stove”

Tampines Street 61 by The Local Project

Interior Firm: The Local Project

If you only do light cooking, consider getting a smaller stove or induction hob that will free up space for more storage units and appliances – a coffee machine perhaps?


On storage

6. “Included more storage space so countertop won’t be cluttered”

Yishun Street 31 by KDOT

Interior Firm: KDOT

Leaving items on your countertop means less workspace for your food preparation. Storage solutions are therefore extremely crucial in keeping your kitchen countertop clutter-free.

Just be sure not to go overboard, as having more built-ins than needed would be an underutilization of space that could have been used for, say, a bigger fridge.

7. “Installed open shelves instead of closed ones”

Sin Ming Avenue by Authors • Interior & Styling

Open shelves give you a clear view of what you have, and eliminate the extra step of opening cabinet doors to get what you need, which is particularly more convenient when you’ve only got one hand free while cooking.

The downside? Open shelves expose whatever you’re storing on them to dust and grease, and require that you keep them neat, so as to avoid visual clutter.

8. “Added more drawers”

Northshore Drive by United Team Lifestyle

Interior Firm: United Team Lifestyle

Drawers differ from shelves and cabinets because their pull-out mechanism grants you easy access to things stored deep inside. However, most drawers aren’t suitable for the storing of heavy items that can turn the pulling of a drawer into a workout.

For these reasons, it’s recommended that pull-out drawers be used for lighter and smaller items like condiments.

9. “Only had bottom cabinets”

Northshore Drive by Honeycomb Design Studio

Overhead cabinets can be difficult to reach and clean, so it’s understandable that some homeowners regret having them. However, because they don’t take up any actual floor space, it is still recommended to have a mix of overhead and floor cabinets – and to store more frequently used items in the latter.


On design and materials

10. “Chosen a different colour”

Jurong West Street 42 by Apartment

Interior Firm: Apartment

The grass is always greener (pun intended) on the other side. Bold colours may be striking and visually pleasing for the moment, but it’s also easy to get tired of them after a while. For a look that withstands the test of time, opt for neutral-coloured countertops, carpentry, walls and backsplashes instead.

11. “Used a different countertop material”

Oleanas Residences by Habit

Interior Firm: Habit

Different countertop materials differ in aesthetics, cost, durability, and maintenance required. To avoid regret, use this guide to find out which countertop material you should pick.

In addition to material choice, some homeowners also added that they should have gone with a different countertop height. If you’re taller than average, consider elevating your countertop beyond the standard height, for optimal ergonomics in your meal preparation.


On renovation works

12. “Hacked existing flooring”

Serangoon Avenue 2 by Fifth Avenue Interior

Interior Firm: Fifth Avenue Interior

As one of the largest surfaces in the kitchen, flooring is integral when it comes to the design of your kitchen. This makes the decision to keep or replace existing flooring an important one you don’t want to regret, so don’t sweep this under the carpet!

If budget is an issue (and assuming there aren’t any structural defects), consider overlaying instead of hacking your existing flooring.

13. “Added a backsplash” / “Put up wall tiles”

Pasir Ris Street 51 by Weiken.com

Interior Firm: Weiken.com

As a space that sees loads of spills, grease splatter and is quite humid, backsplashes/wall tiles can help protect your kitchen walls from deterioration and ease maintenance efforts. As a bonus, they add visual interest to an otherwise plain wall.

14. “Included more electrical points”

Ghim Moh Link by Rhiss Interior

Interior Firm: Rhiss Interior

From kettles to rice cookers, the need for electrical points in the kitchen cannot be understated. When working with your interior designer on your kitchen’s design, think about where you want your kitchen appliances to be, and place electrical points accordingly.

For added flexibility, invest in power track systems as the sockets are not fixed in a location.


How to avoid kitchen renovation regrets

To be sure, preferences are relative to lifestyle, and not all the above may apply to you. The best way to avoid kitchen renovation regrets is to think about how you plan to use your kitchen on a daily basis, and work together with your interior designer to come up with a kitchen design tailored to your individual needs.

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