Find Your Kitchen's Hidden Space

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No Room for that New Counter-top Gadget?
Between new options for storage and a bit of organization, almost every kitchen can hold a bit more

Whether you are living with a cooking area that is 300 square feet or a space one quarter that size, kitchens invariably feel cramped and our counters are jammed with appliances, cookware and other knickknacks. With discount retailers like Costco offering specials on large-quantity items, sometimes there isn't even enough room for food!

Besides its practical purposes the kitchen is the meeting place for many families; the spot where people gather at parties and the one area of the house where many feel the most comfortable.

Since it serves us in so many ways the kitchen should be a place we love. If you are living with a kitchen that feels too small or crammed with stuff, there are a few tricks to make it feel and look more spacious.

The key to reclaiming your space is organization. Today, there are many creative kitchen storage options that don't involve a lot of work or cost a ton of money. If you are like many of us who feels cramped out of their kitchen, read on.

On The Wall Ideas

Older kitchens tend to be a lot smaller than the kitchen/dining/great rooms so popular today. If you are willing to put a lot of time or effort into your home you may want to consider a kitchen remodel or something more significant, such as adding cabinets. If you are content to work with what you have think about alternative places for some of your stuff. Instead of hiding everything away, why not put it on display?

Hanging pots and pans is a great way to free up cabinet and drawer space; plus it gives your kitchen that professional chef look. Installing a pot rack is a fairly simple task that will only take a couple of hours to complete. When looking into a pot rack make sure it can hold a lot of weight--you don't want it buckling. Looking for a place to store the lids? Purchase lid racks that attach to the wall for quick and easy access.

Along the same lines is a pot shelf. These work in basically the same way as the rack except they are slightly easier to install. Like the pot racks, your cookware hangs from S-shaped hooks attached to the shelf. These shelves come in many different sizes and weights, so take some measurements before heading off to the store.

You can mix and match a few different kinds according to your tastes and needs. Just remember to install the shelf into the studs of the wall, otherwise they won't hold.

Other on-the-wall options include knife holders, silverware baskets, dishtowel and spice racks. Don't forget about your cleaning tools, too! Many stores sell plastic units that will hold your brooms and mops. Remember these days if you have it, it can be hung. Creating customized shelving is a great way to save space in your kitchen.

Paint Your Kitchen Bigger

Often what's needed to make your kitchen appear bigger is just a fresh coat of paint. If your kitchen is anything other than a light color, seriously consider painting the walls. Before starting the job, patch and sand any holes or scratches on the surface and then prime it. Also, go for paint with a bit of a sheen to it as this will make it much easier to wipe your spills clean.

Often it's the cabinets that are dark, making the entire room look smaller. Refinishing or repainting them is a perfect way to update your home while making it appear bigger. Though this is no small task, it's one that will make a dramatic difference in the long run.

Organize

Other great space-saving solutions come in the form of inexpensive gadgets that you can install into your kitchen within a matter of moments. A knife tray eliminates the need for a counter top holder (though it does require a free drawer), wine glass holders installed into your cabinets free up space and keep the glasses safe from breakage. Shelf inserts can literally double the amount of space you have in your cabinet. Also, never underestimate the power of cutlery trays. They can be used for much more than just forks, knives and spoons (think of the junk drawer) and can be picked up for about a dollar!

Don't be afraid to revolutionize your cabinet space, either. Try adding a rotating shelving unit or pull out drawers and sliding mechanisms. Do a little shopping at your local home improvement center to see what's new in the way of culinary organization. Getting creative is the best way to maximize your cabinet space. Not only will you get more storage, everything will be easier to find, making your life as a cook and entertainer easier.

Extend Your Countertop Space!

You might think you're limited to your existing countertop space. But there are ways to expand upon what you've already got. You might consider purchasing a rolling cart that to use as a mobile kitchen island, a butcher's block, or just another storage area. If you don't have the room in your kitchen for such a piece, consider storing it elsewhere in your home when not in use.

As we mentioned earlier, usually the appliances are what take up much of your countertop. Consider installing what's known as an appliance lift. By installing one under your counter you can hide away some of your larger appliances until you need them. These units go for about a hundred dollars and can free up some much needed territory.

Magnetize

While we normally advocate the use of tools, tools and more tools, there are a ton of storage solutions that don't require any to install. Magnetic trays can be mounted from the refrigerator that can hold recipes, notes and magazines that you want to keep handy. Spice racks and towel hooks and holders also come in the magnetic variety for easy access and even easier installation. Installing a magnetic message board in your kitchen provides one handy place for your family to keep in touch.

Everything in its Right Place

Putting our things away doesn't have to mean removing them from sight. It just means that everything must have a home and that's where your creativity comes in. Take the time to determine what goes where and why. The key here is to put those items that you don't use very often toward the back and keep those daily use pieces toward the front. You'll be much more likely to put everything away at the end of a meal if you follow this simple rule.

The next time you hit the kitchen, think about what is working (or not working) for you. Are you in need of more cabinet space? Counter space? Maybe a touch of light paint? Whatever it may be, you can easily eek out a little more space in the room where everyone wants to be.

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