Trying to prepare meals on cluttered work surfaces is enough to put anyone off cooking from scratch. Because we all have so many freestanding gadgets these days, finding or creating alternative homes for things becomes less of a luxury and more of a necessity. Here are some ideas to help you reclaim your countertops so you can use them less for storage and more for food and drinks prep.
If you only ever think of shelves in terms of shelving units on living room walls, you’re missing a clever way to create space on the countertop. Shelves don’t have to be extensive to be useful:
- Install a shelf over the countertop itself, in the backsplash area, as useful storage for jars or bottles of frequently used ingredients.
- Put up a small shelf over the countertop you can use for cookbooks instead of a freestanding book holder. You’ll have more space to work and it’ll keep recipe books cleaner.
- Narrow shelves fitted to the ends of cabinets make handy spice racks. A small rail fitted in front of the shelf would create a bespoke kitchen library where you could store books with their covers facing outwards.
- Invest in a movable kitchen island. They’re handy as extra worktops, often have shelves underneath for storage, and can be wheeled out of the way when they’re not in use.
- Narrow shelves normally used as picture ledges make good storage for plate collections, spices and herbs, or purely for decoration and display purposes.
More often seen in wardrobes, hanging rails have plenty of use in the kitchen too. Inside cabinet doors for instance, you could use hooks over the rail and hang utensils from them instead of letting them clutter up drawer space or take up space in a receptacle on the countertop.
Hanging rails with hooks fitted under wall cabinets make ideal, space saving spaces for mugs, or you could fit decorative baskets on the hooks to hold jars or canisters of frequently used items, such as tea, coffee or baking supplies.
Most kitchens have hidden storage areas tucked down low beneath cabinets. This is normally dead space, as the area is permanently blocked off. But if you open it up, replace traditional kickboards with lift-up hinged or sliding doors, there’s acres of space for storage for those items you don’t use often that lurk in cabinets.
Another way of freeing up space in cabinets so you can clear your countertops but still have what you need to hand, is to make use of self storage units. Kitchen items you only use seasonally, such as giant jam-making pans, oversized baking or roasting trays, bottle and jam jar collections, brewing kit or any number of other space-hogging kitchen things that don’t get used often, can all be safely stowed in self storage.
Also, consider storing larger electrical items such as bread makers and food processors when you’re not using them. We often go through phases of using these items regularly then don’t touch them for months at a time. Put them into storage and when your enthusiasm returns, you won’t have to start from scratch by buying new machines.
Up above cabinets is another area that often goes to waste. Up here, you could store useful or decorative items that might otherwise take up countertop space. Install some custom LED lighting and you’d have an eye catching display area that doesn’t encroach on working areas.
The bonus in finding ways to save countertop space is that the kitchen looks tidier and bigger, too, making home cooking or family dining a pleasure again.