We all want more kitchen storage. Very few kitchens come pre-built as luxurious, open rooms with plenty of counter space and cabinets abound, and changing the size and shape of an existing one means an expensive and time-consuming renovation. There are a lot of visual tricks to make a kitchen appear more spacious and less cluttered. But if you’re seeking to actually maximize your kitchen storage, that advice won’t help you. Instead, here are smaller and more reasonable projects that do the heavy lifting of giving you more kitchen to work with – without tearing out a wall.
Lifting Up the Countertop Microwave
Counter space is the most valuable area of your kitchen, but it’s easy for commonly used items to become permanent residents there. So when decluttering your kitchen, your first priority should be getting as much stuff off your counters as you can. That includes appliances. Your microwave is one of the biggest offenders in this regard. Thankfully, it can be embedded in your cabinets, hooked underneath, or integrated into your kitchen island. Any of these options keep your microwave in easy reach, while clearing up the space it was taking up on your counters. Some microwaves also act as range hoods, so if you really want a dual-purpose appliance, you can find one with a bottom vent and put it over your stove.
Hang and Display Your Glasses
Your microwave isn’t the only thing you can store under your cabinets. Stemware and bottle racks let you move some of your glassware and wine out from the back of your shelves and into the open. This can be both a storage fix and a display option, showing off your finer tastes to any who visit your kitchen. I also find that I’m more likely to use those fancy glasses if can see and easily access them. It’s not a perfect solution as it only works with stemware, but it’s certainly better than having it all crammed together in your cabinet. Bonus: you can use that extra cabinet space to move even more stuff off your counters.
Introduce a Kitchen Island
The next most valuable space in your kitchen is the floor in the center of the room. Placing a kitchen island here adds both counter space and storage. Get yourself an island with drawers, shelves, or a cabinet and you’ll find you suddenly have a lot more space for bulky pots and pans, recipe books, pantry overflow, or kitchen and dining linens. Plus, it becomes a good spot for meal prep. Especially if you have two or more people cooking at once, an island makes a good workspace that can be used without blocking important appliances or cupboards. That means you can have help without getting in each other’s way. Kitchen islands come in all sizes, and should correspond to the size of your kitchen. Never have one so big that it blocks your work triangle, or that makes it so you don’t have enough space to move comfortably!
Convert a Cabinet for Trash
If you find yourself feeling cramped after installing an island, try moving something else that takes up floor space into your cabinets. The trash bin is the perfect candidate as you can’t use the top of it as a counter surface (nor would you want to). Having a pullout bin keeps it out of the way until you need it and has the additional benefits of preventing your pets from getting in. Cabinet waste bins can also help reduce unpleasant trash odors. Of course, it does come at the cost of some cabinet storage and requires a smaller bin, so it may not be ideal for larger families. For families that produce a lot of waste, consider using this bin for recycling or composting, or even invest in a trash compactor to help reduce the volume of your waste.
Create a Tipout Drawer
You can find storage in the smaller places as well. Remember that false drawer directly underneath your sink? You can install a tip out tray there and have an extra couple of inches of usable space where there was none. In it, you can store sponges, soaps, and other small things that clutter the area around your kitchen sink. Making this change can be a great weekend DIY project if you’re the handy type (or willing to look up a few videos), but isn’t as good an investment as the others if you have to rely on a professional due to the smaller amount of room you add.
While you can’t create new space in your kitchen without some heavy remodeling, you can maximize what you already have through little adjustments that don’t break the bank and make you appreciate your kitchen just a little bit more.