Professor's House

Ingenious Space Saving Ideas for Kitchens

Unless you have a large and roomy kitchen with plenty of storage space, chances are you’ll be looking at every possible way to save space. The good news is that you can do this with sensible planning and by using some ingenious space saving ideas for kitchens.

What this really means is you need to get clever. There are two ways to do this:

  1. By finding fixtures and fittings that can help you save space, and
  2. By being imaginative and creative within the space that you have available.

Useful space-saving fixtures and fittings range from clever shelving to custom-made units that are made specifically to make the most of difficult areas. Generally the best units are those that fulfill a particular need. For instance pot drawers need to be large enough to accommodate pots and pans, while shelves for spices (whether hidden or not) need to be relatively close together so they don’t waste valuable space.

So you will see that for storage to be effective, it needs to be cleverly planned and well organized. Some popular space-saving ideas include:

  • pull out chopping boards,
  • pull out ironing boards,
  • fold-away tables,
  • revolving shelves for corner cabinets,
  • wall-hung plate racks that double up for drying and storage,
  • plate racks within cupboards for storing plates vertically,
  • drawers that are divided to accommodate different items of cutlery,
  • wire baskets that slide like drawers for storing vegetables out of the refrigerator, where they won’t get moldy,
  • deep drawers that slide out from under counters instead of static shelves,
  • narrow spaces where trays can be stored,
  • both island and peninsula units fitted on both sides for easy access,
  • units cut at an angle to enable every inch of space may be used,
  • a decent-sized counter that can double for eating and for preparation,
  • a breakfast nook with benches that lift up for easy storage of items like tablecloths or even cleaning equipment,
  • doors with storage mounted on the inside, for herbs and spices for example, and
  • narrow shelves within cupboards doors for storing groceries in sections.

The latter option is a particularly useful one which surprisingly few kitchens offer. Imagine a tall cupboard with shelves at the back of the unit only. Hinged within the cupboard is a central section with shelves that “closes” against the back shelves and opens up at right-angles to them. Thin slats of wood across the front of each shelf keep stored items in place and prevent them from falling out. The door itself forms a third storage section, with shelves fitted inside the door as well. This is one of the most ingenious space saving ideas for kitchens.

Another similar idea is to fit vertical pull-out tiers for storing groceries, particularly jars and cans. The most effective are reasonably narrow, and pull out to reveal a series of shelves so you can immediately see what is in the unit. Two fitted on top of one another will take up less space than a broom cupboard and provide ample space for a family’s day-to-day groceries.

When it comes to being imaginative and creative, you need to start by assessing what you have and how you can improve your options.

Look for areas that are standing empty, like a narrow space alongside the refrigerator or an unused area below a built-in hob. Then try to be innovative in your use of space. For example, so-called “dead” corners can often be used if you find a suitable carousel unit you can fit into the cupboard.

If you haven’t got space to store everything behind closed doors, a popular option is to display whatever is reasonably attractive, from gadgets to pots and pans. If you’re imaginative enough, you will find that there are areas you can use for open storage that would never work for conventional units, for example behind the stove or even on top of the refrigerator.

Problems that demand particularly ingenious space saving ideas for kitchens range from awkwardly shaped rooms to rooms that have more than one door and too many windows. Sometimes you can shut up unwanted openings, but this isn’t always possible. Also, most people are loath to get rid of windows because they obviously allow light to enter the room which might otherwise become dark and pokey. If you are lucky enough to have a bay window, you might be able to use the space in front of the window for a small table, or for seating over some sort of storage.

Tiny kitchens can be a particular challenge that often leads to compromise. One approach is to fit units that provide counter-top working surfaces, and to then fit rows and rows of shelves on all the walls, making every inch useful. You’ll be surprised how much more you can pile onto shelves and racks than into standard sized wall-hung cupboards. Custom-made shelves can be used, but shop-fitting shelves are another aptly suitable option.

In a bachelor flat, with an open plan kitchen, one innovative idea is to literally make the kitchen into a cupboard. Open the doors and you have the basics, and close them and you see nothing.

Another idea for a small open plan area is to suspend a shelf from the ceiling, and use this for open storage. Just make sure there is a solid timber beam in the ceiling at the right point, for attachment.

Areas under fitted hobs often become wasted space, but can easily be converted to hold deep pull-out drawers for storing pots and pans.

Everybody’s storage requirements vary, but always try to relate your personal requirements to specific work areas, for example the cooking, washing up or eating or serving up area. You know what objects or utensils you normally use: make sure they are accessible. Divide groceries into categories – for example tins and dry items, bottles and ingredients for baking – and if you need to store them separately, do so.

Last of all, find somewhere suitable for rubbish. Ideally conceal a small bin within a cupboard, perhaps under the sink, and locate a large bin outside the kitchen door. Always remove rubbish from inside before it starts to smell!

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