Want a kitchen renovation that is nothing but smooth sailing? Here’s our top 5 kitchen renovation nightmares, and what you can do to avoid them happening to you!

Ask any avid renovator and they will tell you that a kitchen renovation is usually numero uno on their renovation hit list. Usually, it is not because these renovators find throwing a sledgehammer about therapeutic. But because a kitchen renovation is typically one of the fastest ways to escalate the value of a home.

Executed correctly, a kitchen renovation can often add tens of thousands of dollars to a property’s value. On the flip side, there are plenty of ways that a kitchen renovation project can go pear shape if it’s not handled correctly.

Bringing you the cream of the crop; here our top 5 kitchen renovation nightmares. These doozies are so good that they could send Freddy Kruger back to Elm Street in a jiffy.


#1 Going in blind

The first rule of a successful kitchen renovation is to remember the primary function of said kitchen – the cooking quarters. So, we recommend that before you dive head first into a kitchen renovation, to actually give your kitchen a complete once-over.

As run down and as “non-fashionable” as your current kitchen may be, actually cooking in the kitchen and paying attention to every detail, both good and bad, will provide a real feel for current placement and what improvements need to be made. For example, take note of the flow (or lack thereof) of the working triangle and any storage or access issues you encounter whilst cooking in and actively using your existing kitchen.

It is much more difficult to nail the perfect kitchen renovation project without having this practical knowledge first. We find that inspiration and improvements will come to hand much more readily as you are using the kitchen, rather than just imagining what you think your dream kitchen should be.

* Tip: read more about the why the working triangle is important for a kitchen renovation project here.

In the event that you are installing a new kitchen or renovating in a house that you don’t actually live in, it is a good idea to imagine yourself using the space to cook up your favourite dish. Walk through the process in your head step by step. Is your intended design going to flow as best as it could?


#2 Saving short-term dollars at the peril of long-term functionality and effectiveness

People often approach a kitchen renovation project with the wrong idea about what will actually save a few dollars. And, as much as it is very tempting when it comes to a kitchen renovation, do-it-yourself is not always the cheapest, or the best option.

Skimping in the short-term can cost a lot in the long run as items start to wear and the new kitchen put to the test. It is important to weigh up the pros and cons of kitchen renovation basics when considering ‘short-term pain for long-term gain’.

Here are a few examples:

  1. Replacing an appliance compared to repairing it
  • how old is the appliance?
  • what is the energy consumption like compared to a newer model?
  • what is the water efficiency?
  1. Layout overhaul
  • relocating plumbing can be costly, however it may well be worth considering it for improved functionality
  • consider what future uses your kitchen may be exposed to with a growing family or technology advances and include provisions for those as part of the kitchen renovation layout overhaul too. Preparing for extras such as an additional power outlet for a study nook to the side of the space, or provisions for more tech gadgets will likely save on costs in the future

To really save on costs, consider the longevity of the items first and their functionality in the future. Don’t skimp on the necessities and consider the multi-functional uses of a modern kitchen; dining and entertainment zones, cooking, storage areas, etc.

* Money-saving kitchen renovation tip: re-painting existing cabinetry and re-surfacing splashbacks can often help to save on costs without jeopardising the quality of the finished product. But as mentioned above, is perhaps some short term pain for long term gain worthwhile in this scenario? You should assess whether the existing foundation items are in appropriate condition for this treatment, or would it be better to completely replace them? For more information click here.


#3 Settling on the un-settled

Yes, measuring and planning is great and certainly must be carried out for a kitchen renovation project, but be prepared to be a little flexible if needed.

When talking about the overall kitchen renovation plan, a few centimetres here and there can all add up and actually make a difference. But, don’t let that structure and planning get in the way of any last-minute inspiration and light bulb moments. Sometimes, you just don’t realise the full potential of something until all the puzzle pieces are put in place. It’s definitely great to be open to being a little flexible, but also remember to carefully consider those final hour ideas before launching into action as you could very easily create your own kitchen renovation nightmare!!


#4 Under budgeting

When the final plans are locked in, that doesn’t mean that your costs are locked in too. Unfortunately, people who budget kitchen renovations to the exact dollar are often left short. Things happen from time to time (just like the above point) and even during the process of a kitchen renovation you may find improvements you wish you had thought of, or something does not go according to plan and changes need to be made.

To save the heartache, and potentially adding even more stress to an already stressful situation, we recommend that you allow for an additional 15% to 25% more money than you had originally planned for your kitchen renovation. It is important that you don’t use these precious funds frivolously, as you want to ensure that you always have excess funds in the kitty for those emergency/must-have changes that may pop up.


#5 Non-consistency

Consistency is key to a good kitchen renovation. Consider all of the fixtures and fittings to be used throughout and ensure they suit the overall concept. For example, an $8000 European oven will likely look out of place if you have opted for a low-budget cabinetry option. Contemporary fixtures could look out of place against traditionally styled cabinetry.

Think about the overall plan and its execution to ensure your styling and design choices compliment each other. Don’t get caught up in just the big ticket items, remember to consider the smaller details like which window trimmings, cushions, and kitchen décor you plan to use too.


Despite the potential for nightmares, there is no need to dread a kitchen renovation project. One way to ensure a smooth project and a great kitchen renovation outcome is to engage the help of expert kitchen designers to guide you through the entire process.

The team at Harrington Kitchens have extensive expertise and experience with a wide range of new kitchen and kitchen renovation projects. Contact our team on 1300 662 112, submit an online enquiry or visit us at our Narellan or Bowral showrooms.