The desire for more counter space is likely as old as indoor kitchens. Especially as kitchens have become the true hub of the household. We prepare and cook food on them, we clean up from prep and cooking on them, we entertain on them, and we may even work on them.
Assuming a full-scale kitchen remodel isn’t on the table, there are more solutions than you might think. Like most home improvement projects, it just takes patience, planning, creativity and maybe a DIY.
The First Steps
What do you NEED on the countertop?
What do you WANT on the countertop?
How do you use each area of the countertop?
There are items you use every day, even multiple times a day. If possible, having them easily at hand makes your morning or day run smoother. Getting that battery-charging first cup of coffee or tea, utensils for food prep to get dinner on the table quickly, and napkins or paper towels for a fast cleanup fall into these categories.
Clear the Decks
Remove everything from the counters.
Step back to evaluate the countertop and wall space.
Measure the spaces – counters and walls. Even make a diagram showing where they are located – next to the sink, the stove, the refrigerator, etc.
This step allows you to visualize the space you already have to work with. The measurements and diagrams provide the basic information needed as you begin researching and shopping for solutions. Label each space for its best and highest purpose. This will also help decide what countertop solutions are possible and practical as you create more counter space. This is also a great time to inspect countertops and walls for needed repairs or maybe a new paint color or some other refresh (new paint or tile?).
What Goes Back?
The NEEDS go back first. Brutal honesty is required here. Take each item and place it in the most logical place for where it is used. That may not be where you used it previously. For example, is the coffee maker on the opposite side of the kitchen from where the supplies live? Warning: this process may set off a full-fledged kitchen shakedown.
Prioritize the WANTS and begin placing them
Evaluate the space. Evaluate the counter space for how it is used now that these items are in place.
More Counter Space Solutions
Now the fun really begins. Europeans and New Yorkers have struggled with this situation for eons. Knowing it is a universal issue, manufacturers and designers have come up with solutions that fit every need, every style and every budget. While shopping here is not for everyone, IKEA has ingenious products for kitchen storage, which is what this is really about. The basic question is, where do I put all the stuff I need and want available and still have room to work on the counters? And then, of course, there’s Pinterest.
Is there blank wall of any dimension about a counter? There will be a shelf or some other practical product to make use of the space. Open shelves are on trend, stylish and can be multifunctional. Hooks can be placed on the underside of the bottom shelf for all kinds of things, like mugs near the coffee maker. Bonus space in cabinet now! Referencing Pinterest here again.
It may be counter intuitive, but taking doors off cabinets can make them more useful. Taking it down to allow for shelving, if it can be done without damage, can also provide more storage than the closed cabinet. Pairing this with rethinking how space is used can bring on epiphanies of using your whole kitchen more efficiently.
Use the backsplash area. What items could hang on the wall above the counters? Knives? Utensils? This gives you the best of both worlds: the items are handy, and you’ve created more counter space.
Kitchen islands of any size can be stationary or moveable, open or closed. If the space allows, a peninsula may be a possibility. Consulting a reputable kitchen contractor is a good idea before taking this on. There may be structural reasons to not do it. And their experience in kitchen design may also show you what other possibilities there may be.
But Wait, There’s More
SO much more. Ideas of ways to create more counter space abound on the internet. Of course, on Pinterest, but also in the websites for stores like IKEA and Container Store, and blogs and websites for professional organizers. With far too much to cover here, we’ve included a few resources for more ideas.