The most common kitchen renovation regrets - and how to fix them on a budget

Get rid of that nagging feeling with these quick fixes for the most frustrating of kitchen renovation regrets

brown kitchen
(Image credit: Future/Kate Cleasby)

Designing a new kitchen is a huge task and when you're figuring out how to cut costs, deliver it on a timeframe and balance practical features with aesthetics, you're bound to have some kitchen renovation regrets. 

Whether the layout doesn't work for your family, there isn't as much storage as you need (or it's in the wrong place), or you've grown to resent that one plug socket that's in demand by all of your small appliances - do not fret. There's a solution to every kitchen renovation regret and it doesn't mean ripping it all out and starting again. 

Daily life can feel frustrating when your kitchen ideas aren't working for your family's needs, so making some slight adjustments to the design will allow you to live regret-free and enjoy the hard work put into your new cooking space. 

Kitchen renovation regrets - and how to fix them

Regardless of whether you've undertaken a kitchen renovation in the past, knowing how to design a kitchen is a tricky task that differs from property to property. It's so dependent on layout, your lifestyle needs at the time of renovation, and budget that it's easy to make little mistakes in the process.  

You also sometimes need to live in a space before renovating it so you know exactly where each component should be. This is all to say that it's common to have some kitchen renovation regrets, but luckily, they're easy to rectify.

1. Storage that doesn't suit your lifestyle

brown kitchen

(Image credit: Woodhouse & Law)

Kitchen storage ideas should form the basis of a successful cooking space, especially if you have a family. So when you get it wrong, suddenly a kitchen can feel cluttered and dysfunctional. 

Jen Nash, head of design at Magnet Kitchens, explains that 'Storage is also a very important factor when it comes to simply enjoying the space, as organisation and efficiency help contribute to a stress-free environment. Without sufficient storage, the kitchen can feel cluttered and uninviting making it a challenge to work and prepare meals, leaving homeowners frustrated.'  

So how do you fix it if you didn't add enough when renovating? Or if you chose the wrong types of storage for specific items? Storage organisation systems that can be placed within cupboards, drawers and shelves will help to maximise the space available and prevent things from getting lost when placed out of sight. 

2. Not enough plug sockets

A blue kitchen with an island and pendant lights

(Image credit: Davonport)

Planning in plug sockets and liaising with electricians is one of the more laborious parts of a kitchen renovation, but inadequate planning is also one of the most common kitchen regrets. 

According to Magnet's survey of 2,000 Brits, '17% of people wished they'd put more power sockets in their kitchen.' Whether it's to plug in your air-fryer, keep your coffee machine running (an essential), plug in an Amazon Alexa for following recipes or charge your phone, falling short of plugs can be hugely frustrating. And most commonly, you don't know where you need them until you start living in the space. 

'If you have already renovated your kitchen and are still struggling with a lack of plug sockets, try to invest in appliances that can be used for a range of different purposes so you will not need to have as many plugged in at a time,' advises Tim Warren, DIY expert at Adkwik. 'Extension cords may not always be an option due to the risk of them being exposed to water.'

3. Lack of lighting

pendant light above isladn in grey and green kitchen with feature window and upholstered bar stools

(Image credit: Pooky)

In Magnet's survey, another 17% of Brits regretted not including enough kitchen lighting ideas in their kitchen renovation. 

A poorly lit kitchen can make it difficult to cook efficiently and tricky to use a space for homework and daily admin. On the other end of the spectrum, harsh bright lighting will make your home feel cold and clinical - less than ideal for cosy nights spent cooking and evenings hosting friends. 

The answer to this kitchen renovation conundrum is simple - task lighting. You might not usually think of adding table lamps to worktops, but they're a great way to make a kitchen feel homely and draw living spaces together.  

Tim also advises, 'If you have cabinets above your worktops, installing LED strip lighting underneath these can provide useful task lighting when cooking.  

4. Not including a kitchen island

Kitchen with wooden ribbed cabinets, island and indoor plants

(Image credit: Future/Kate Cleasby)

'Kitchen islands enhance both the practical and the social aspects of the kitchen,' says Jen. So it's no secret that kitchen island ideas have become one of the most lusted-after features to include. 

However, in small kitchen ideas, homeowners often avoid adding an island for fear of the room feeling overcrowded and later regretting not having a hub to gather around. Luckily there's a way to combat this kitchen regret and a lack of space. 

'From rolling islands and free-standing tables to reclaimed vintage finds and butcher’s blocks, alternative pieces of furniture can function beautifully as a kitchen island,' Jen advises. 'Featuring the likes of pullout surfaces, draws and adjustable interior shelves, there are a range of great options if added storage and food prep space is your primary reason for having a kitchen island. Rolling islands are a particularly great choice in a small kitchen as they can be moved out of the way when not in use.'

'If you want an island to serve as more of a casual dining and social spot, a slim counter with a generous overhang will provide a stylish island seating set-up,' she adds. 

5. Missing out on a pantry

Pink kitchen with large double door pantry.

(Image credit: Herringbone)

Kitchen pantry ideas are having somewhat of a moment in the kitchen design world. For those lusting after beautiful spaces on social media, you'll be used to seeing double-door Shaker pantries kitted out with bespoke storage in lust-worthy kitchens, so it's no wonder that 12% of survey respondents wished they'd had a pantry installed during their renovation. 

According to Jen, 'The trendy food storage solution has increased in popularity thanks to celebrities like the Kardashians showcasing their aesthetically organised homes, but also thanks to the move towards larger open-plan kitchen designs and an emphasis on reducing food waste by bulk buying certain ingredients.' 

So how can you get the look retrospectively? Dresser units can be found more affordably in antique shops and on eBay and can easily be popped on top of a worktop. Alternatively, adding spice racks to the inside of cupboard doors will give you a taste of the pantry life for less. 

Does your big kitchen renovation regret make this list? 

Holly Cockburn
Content Editor

After starting out her journey at Future as a Features Editor on Top Ten Reviews, Holly is now a Content Editor at Ideal Home, writing about the best interior ideas and news. At Top Ten Reviews, she focussed on TikTok viral cleaning hacks as well as how to take care of investment purchases such as lawn mowers, washing machines and vacuum cleaners. Prior to this, Holly was apart of the editorial team at Howdens which sparked her interest in interior design, and more specifically, kitchens (Shaker is her favourite!).