Projects & Improvements

8 Ways to Fake More Kitchen Counter Space When Renovating Isn’t an Option

published Nov 1, 2019
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Credit: Lauren Kolyn

Kitchens always seem to look way bigger before you move in—but once you start importing all your pots, pans, dishes, and appliances, counter space starts looking cluttered. Next thing you know, there’s still not enough real estate to chop an onion and cool off a casserole simultaneously. Luckily, there are plenty of other surfaces in your kitchen just waiting to be exploited—and you won’t even have to knock out a wall. Here are eight ideas for getting the most counter space out of your kitchen, so you can have elbow room and elbow macaroni room.

Credit: Lauren Kolyn

Put the area over your fridge to use

Is there space between your kitchen cabinet tops and ceilings? How about on top of the refrigerator? If so, anything you don’t use as often can move up there. Adding a shelf over the fridge can make for even more usable room.

Bring in a moveable island

If you’ve got a bit of extra floor space, bring in a freestanding island to gain some extra surface area. Even better if you find a model with wheels and shelving underneath to house some previous counter occupants like the classic (and super-hackable) IKEA Bekvam.

Add more shelves

Cabinets might not be enough to keep all of your essentials out of the way. Add floating shelves to your kitchen for those extra canisters or dishes, or—if you have the floor space—add in a free-standing one.

Find extra room on top of fixtures

Your sink and stove aren’t in use all the time. Attachments like a dish drying rack or cutting board that go over the top of the sink or the range turn that unused space into counter space. Want to make your own? Head here to DIY your stovetop burner cover.

Or find extra room underneath them

Anything can hang can hang underneath your cabinets—think wine glasses, mugs, or cooking gear. Or try this clever trick: Fasten metal to the underside and fit your spice jars with magnets so you can hang all of your ingredients where they’re visible.

Credit: Ghazalle Badiozamani/Kitchn

Make your storage do double duty

Maximize your interior space with handy items like shelf risers, back-of-door organizers, and drawer inserts. The more you can hide away, the more you can keep off your countertops.

Put up a pegboard

The eternal darling of the crafty set, the pegboard, is here to help. Attach it to the wall to hold utensils, pans, kitchen tools, oven mitts… the options are endless.

Credit: Samara Vise

Utilize window space

Take advantage of built-in storage without blocking your light by placing strategic containers on your sill—plants are an obvious choice, but you can also use it for kitchen crocks or other non-perishables that won’t be affected by exposure to sunlight. Or, look higher up and add a rod within the window frame or above it; then, use hooks to hang pots and pans, buckets for silverware, or pots of herbs.