Kitchens are busy places; they deal with a lot of traffic. What’s more, the heart of the home also sees its fair share of stuff. Our kitchens tend to collect more than we usually anticipate — food, cutlery, cook books, cooking utensils, pots and pans, spices, decanters, and the odd ornate feature that helps bring some character into the room.
During a renovation, or a rebuild, it’s critical to consider where all this stuff is going to live when the dust settles, and how you’re going to creatively integrate storage solutions that maximize the efficiency of storage in your new kitchen space.
We’re counting down our top 5 favourite ways to maximize storage in the kitchen, with style and function in mind.
Cabinets and countertops can be easily cluttered with appliances and dishware, making the natural progression of kitchen storage solutions a simple case of installing more shelving. Often, kitchen designs neglect to include the sides of existing cabinetry — open wall space that goes under-utilized. Consider having some additional floating shelves installed to accommodate your countertop fruit supply, the coffee maker, salt and pepper shakers, or paper towel.
This expanded shelving solution idea not only gives you a clever and chic space to store your stuff, but also creates more countertop space for food preparation space or entertaining.
Custom Dry Storage
A kitchen pantry is a great addition to any space, and if you have the available space, a walk-in pantry is even better. Regardless, standard shelving only goes so far. Consider customizing your dry storage space with handy turntables inserts that make finding the often-used culprits — salt, pepper, olive oil, sugar, coffee, etc — easy to access and contained in one place. With the space you save with your turntable storage innovation, you can use to alleviate your countertop space from having to house the toaster, blender, or other cumbersome appliances.
Expandable spice racks are another good option to maximize your dry storage space. Simple and inexpensive, these 3-tier shelves can be used to arrange spices, soup mixes, cans, and jars so they’re easy to find and accessible.
Corral the Clutter
Think back to all the kitchen designs you looked at during the time leading up to your reno or rebuild. Think back to all the browsing you did, all the styles, finishes, and colour palettes you considered. Now try to take stock: 90% of those kitchens all featured some type of clutter on the countertop — flowers, a fruit bowl, oils, a vase of cooking tools, etc. Whether it’s useful or not, kitchen clutter is inevitable, and sometimes welcome — but how we choose to organize and store that stuff is key to keeping function a primary demand.
The best way to contain the countertop chaos is to… contain it. Start by finding a tray or board that complements your kitchen aesthetic enough that you won’t mind leaving it out. Consider a wood butcher block, or a chic metal tray. Not only does a countertop tray or board keep the countertop clutter stored and organized nicely, but there’s a double-edge to this idea: when the tray gets too overcrowded and stuff begins to spill overboard, that’s your signal to limit and reconsider what gets to stay on display.
There’s significant literature out there that creatively caters to storage solutions integrated into or on top of cabinetry, but not a lot of it that considers the space underneath the cabinets.
Converting the under-cabinet toe-kick space into functional sliding drawers in an increasingly popular and innovative kitchen storage solution that are perfect for storing away roasting pans, baking sheets, cookbooks, or a few kid-friendly art supplies or toys if your new kitchen space combines as a family hang-out space. The low location means that seldom used equipment and clutter is stored well out of the way, and if you go the children’s route, they can reach their stuff on their own.
Integrated Wine Rack
The idea of a hidden or integrated wine rack in the kitchen may seem like a cheesy feature straight out of the 1980’s or early 90’s, but more and more custom builders, contractors, and manufacturers of fine cabinetry are receiving the request for integrated wine cabinets in new kitchens. The resurgence of the trend may be earmarked by an increasing number of Baby Boomers retiring and customizing their forever homes, and it may also be routed in more and more people simply acknowledging that showcasing their favourite vintages is a profitable resale feature, and a useful component for adding character to your new space.
There are many ways to achieve this storage solution, one being a dedicated wine fridge to chill and store wine in a fashionable, and sealed environment rather than in a classic room temperature rack. Many manufacturers of refrigerators make beautiful, dedicated wine cooling racks that are integratable with most standard and custom cabinetry. Install them under your new kitchen island, in plain view of your guests for an inclusive, elevated aesthetic, and even a conversation starter.
Alternatively, hiding a wine rack in a custom cabinet is another choice growing in popularity. Hidden pull-down wine racks can store all the required accoutrement: glassware, corkscrew, decanters, oxygenators, and of course the good stuff. The pull-down cabinet feature provides a small countertop space for pouring and mulling over your choices with guests — then when you’re done, the cabinet closes and the kitchen is returned to a dedicated kitchen space.
Finding storage in the kitchen is nearly as important as the style and aesthetic of the space. Without applicable storage, the energy of the room is sullied, having to cater to the presence of clutter, appliances, and dishware rather than dedicating its look to wowing guests and satisfying homeowners. Further, maximizing the efficiency of the kitchen ensures the heart of the home is able to dedicate itself to the needs of its occupants.