Critique Kitchen Render

I posted this in CG Talk’s critique section, but feel like I could get some more feedback here.
This was NOT done with Blender - I used Max Design 2011 and Mental Ray.
I know there are some obvious problems - like microwave, texture on cabinets, etc.
But, if there are any other problems, let me know.
I want to make this image pop (while at the same time remaining within the customer’s specs). (I don’t think under cabinet lighting is in spec).
Anyway… and feedback and critique is welcome.
http://loklomedia.com/files/unitA-prelim-kitchen_4.jpg

Is it a good idea to put a microwave directly above a hob?

The major issue that I see here is lighting – its all very flat and dull. Its making the space seem cramped and lonely. Brighten up the overheads, turn down the ambient/environment, and increase some contrast/saturation. Under cabinet lighting might be out of spec, but just about every mountable microwave comes with lights on the bottom. Also, you’ve not modeled any electric sockets, but since the mixer is sitting there I assume some would exist – maybe you could pop in a decorative table lamp near the fridge.

Also, the camera angle isn’t very flattering. A photographer would use a wider angle lens from a lower vantage point, I think. A lower eye level should make everything seem larger and dramatic. A broader field of view will make everything seem more spacious.

If you didn’t model with real-world measurements, make sure your scales are matching up. The mixer for instance seems small compared to the one in my kitchen. The pot on the stove isn’t much bigger than the coffee mug next to it.

Finally, think about adding some real color. When you’re doing the texture on the cabinets, a rich red wood might be nice (less than cherry). Your backsplash blends into the granite countertop. Add a plant or two. Grow that fruit bowl and fill it with more bright fruit. A bottle of wine with a pretty label.

good luck!

@Ghostly: microwave’s over ranges are extremely common (at least in the U.S.), especially in tight kitchens like this – many even have fan vents that can be used to vent steam/smoke

thanks oofnish - The general consensus is the lighting being too dim and dull. Working on that.
The mixer, according to the one in my kitchen, was a little too big. The spec’d spacing between countertop and underside of upper cabinets is 18" (6x6 backsplash tile). Coffee cup beside stove was good, pot was maybe a little small.
I’ve added a spice rack, and will be adding electrical - thanks.
Also adding some under microwave lighting.
I’ll play with the camera - I thought about that too as I was submitting the image.

Thanks! Keep 'em coming!

Still having problems with my materials and lighting… - Mental Ray is killing me for translation time before it actually starts to render.
See attached for crits.

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Solved my render time problem… hair and fur on an imported kiwi.
so… probably my last shot at this.

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Big improvement! Microwave still looks a little unfinished, but looking great apart from that

Yeah - it’s the window/white box inside the Microwave that’s throwing it off. Otherwise it’s actually fairly accurate. Maybe I should put something on the opposite (unseen wall) to vary the reflections a little.