Small Kitchen? Home Stagers Say to Do This to Your Countertops

published Jun 11, 2021
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Small studio apartment kitchen with blush pink walls and white cabinets

Looking for a place to live can be a real give-and-take situation. If you want bigger bedrooms, you may have to do without an ensuite bathroom. If you want a formal dining room, you may have to give up some kitchen space. Or, if you live in an efficiency, studio, or city apartment, your kitchen may be pretty small to begin with. And in that case, it almost feels inevitable that the countertops will get cluttered. To steer clear of stuff strewn about, follow this kitchen countertop organization advice from home stagers.

First, prioritize your needs.

Think about the things you use every day. Perhaps you make coffee every morning, or you use a toaster oven every day. These are the things that should stay on your counters. Take some time to designate a space on the countertop for those daily-use items. Think of it like creating stations. Make a coffee station with everything you need for daily coffee right in that spot, and use that mindset while organizing your other essential items.

Next, clear off your counters.

The most well-organized kitchen that Stacey Herman, founder of Stripe Street Studio, has ever seen, is one that had absolutely nothing on the counters except for a coffee maker. The owner of the space organized his cabinets well and prioritized the items he used every day. Pat Evans, owner at Pat’s World Staging & Re-Design, says the first step to that level of organization is to remove anything from your counters that isn’t essential. With the remaining items, follow the “stations” method above. Put things where they’ll be out of the way as well: push a toaster oven under the cabinets so it doesn’t take up too much room. Keep in mind that you want to maximize prep space, so try to keep as little on display as possible.

Then, get creative with storage.

If you absolutely need to have items on your countertops, get creative with the storage. Evans suggests using solid canisters for dry goods and miscellaneous items. She also suggests using a lazy susan in the corner for spice jars, and a utensil caddy with three compartments — one each for forks, knives, and spoons — if you don’t have the drawer space to store them. If you’re meticulous about organization and keeping things neat, open cabinets can make your kitchen feel more spacious, Herman says. Just be sure to keep everything inside displayed nicely, otherwise it will feel cluttered and make your small space seem smaller.

Finally, add space where you can.

What other spaces can you use for kitchen storage that will help you keep the counters clear? You can immediately get rolls of paper towels off the counter with an over-the-cabinet-door holder, Evans says. And if you have open wall space, install floating shelves to store everyday items like bowls and plates, or even to highlight a colorful small appliance that you’d normally keep on your counter — think stand mixers or blenders. Don’t forget about cabinets and closets nearby, too; if you can, add extra shelving in them to hold some of the countertop overflow.