5 Ways to Regain Counter Space in a Small Kitchen

published Dec 27, 2017
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(Image credit: Minette Hand)

When you have minimal counter space to prep, work, and cook on, every square inch is precious. Take it from a New Yorker who once prepped a Thanksgiving turkey on the kitchen floor, while chopping mirepoix in the sink and stacking hot bakeware, mixing bowls, and several pounds of potatoes on one square foot of Formica.

While this stylish Austin home has a decent amount of counter space, creative uses of vertical and horizontal space in the kitchen maximize the cooking surfaces available. For those of us cooking with extremely limited, precious counter space, stealing a few organizing tricks from this kitchen can help keep food prep off the floor.

(Image credit: Minette Hand)

1. Keep your microwave low. No, lower

Rather than using counter space or replacing in-kitchen storage with a built-in overhead microwave, custom shelves built by the owner situate the microwave on a low shelf. Placed at the same height as the freezer, the microwave doesn’t seem out of place and perhaps especially smart when it comes to pulling out very hot dishes. This trick could also work with a toaster oven.

2. Use the top of the refrigerator as a spacious shelf

Larger appliances, like a stand mixer and blender, are stored on top of the refrigerator to free up any counter space they may usually live on. For any appliances or larger items not used on the daily, the top of the fridge serves as a perfect storage place. If you only break out your mixer once a year, consider hiding it in a basket or dust bag to keep it from collecting dirt. Just be careful getting this stuff down!

(Image credit: Minette Hand)

3. Turn your produce into decorations

A multi-tiered fruit basket hanging from the ceiling frees up more potentially cluttered counter space. Beyond produce, hanging baskets can be used to store loaves of bread, snacks, and even table linens.

4. Add an island

Further extending the cooking space is a rectangular island, placed next to the stove (more of a peninsula than an island, technically) to add cookware storage on its lower shelves and several square feet of cooking space. While instinct may convince you that a small kitchen has no space for an island, adding an extra, moveable countertop to extend a surface — in this case, a stove — maximizes space.

(Image credit: Minette Hand)

5. Put shelves on the pantry doors

The pièce de résistance in this space-saving kitchen may be the pantry, which has custom shelving along the double doors to hold spices, baking ingredients, tea, and other odds and ends. By adding extra storage to a space that would otherwise go unused, these door shelves keep clutter from taking up cabinet or countertop space.

Tour the rest of the space: A Handmade South Austin Home at Apartment Therapy

This post originally ran on Kitchn. See it there: 5 Lessons to Steal from This Kitchen If You Have Limited Counter Space