Your kitchen is the most functional area of the house. Even in the bathroom, you can just chill and relax but when you go to the kitchen, it’s for a purpose. Sure, you can sip your coffee behind an island or have your breakfast there but this is always preceded by a coffee/breakfast preparation process. Even if you’re just there to pour yourself a glass of (filtered) tap water, you’re still there to perform a kitchen-related task.
This is why organization and functionality in a kitchen are so important.
These two things will affect the way you use your kitchen and allow you to get the most value out of it. Not only will this drastically increase the resale value of the entire home, but it will also it will help you improve the quality of life in your kitchen, as well. It will help you resolve the storage issue in your kitchen, find things more easily and make it all look like the kitchen of your dreams.
With that in mind and without further ado, here are several tips on how to have an organized and functional kitchen regardless of its layout.
1. Open storage
One of the best ideas when it comes to organizing the storage in your kitchen is to take the doors off the upper cabinets and add wall-mounted open shelving. This is the so-called open storage system that helps with the transparency of your storage, as well as the amount of available space that you have.
The biggest four advantages of this method are:
- Open shelves give more space
- It’s easier to find your way around
- This adds an additional decorative dimension to the kitchen
- It visually expands your kitchen
First of all, an open shelf is smaller than its traditional counterpart. After all, the door themselves add to the thickness, which means that you get a bit more space in the kitchen.
Since you can see everything that’s stored on these shelves, there’s no misremembering where you put something. You can see everything on these shelves at all times, which makes a world of difference during your food preparation stage.
Keep in mind that open storage allows you to use the textures and nature of kitchenware to contribute to the layout of the kitchen. Just think of all those interesting mugs, plates and other items that are not visible because of the cabinet doors.
Finally, the room will simply appear larger, once you remove this additional barrier. All in all, you have so much to gain.
2. Upkeep and service
Every appliance has its own expected age. This is usually measured in the number of work hours left. However, with proper upkeep and maintenance, you can prolong the life of an appliance by quite a bit.
Why is this so important for the organization of your kitchen?
You see, appliances like fridges and ovens don’t always come in the same dimensions and they definitely do not come with the same visuals. This means that while you’ll choose all the appliances when first designing your kitchen, later on, every replacement will be a challenge. This is why it’s a better idea to look for a reliable oven repairs service than change your oven every time it malfunctions. This much is true even if you could potentially afford this replacement.
Let’s run this scenario once again, shall we? Once you need to replace an appliance, you’ll face one of two situations. You have to find a perfect replacement in terms of:
- Fitting the surrounding
The alternative is that the kitchen layout appears off, which is something that you want to avoid at all costs.
3. Hide small appliances
Small appliances can be problematic to organize for a number of reasons. First of all, items like blender take a relatively small amount of space but once you place them on a counter, a huge chunk of space around them will be unusable, as well. One of the ways to avoid this is to custom-make niches for each of these appliances. This way, you can use them with optimal space efficiency. Moreover, these niches can also act as racks. This means that you’ll be able to use them at your own behest or just keep them there when you’re not using them.
4. Drawer organization
The next step you should take is organizing the drawers so that you can handle all the silverware in your kitchen, as well as some additional supplies. First of all, you should empty all the drawers and declutter the contents. The truth is that you may have more items than you need. Do you really need 4 bottle openers? Probably not.
Second, think about your alternative storage options. Buying items in a bulk may be a good thing if you have where to store them. Some ingredients attract pests, which is why keeping them in a basement is not safe. Then again, if you put them in a drawer, you may risk a scenario where a single item (which is not that important, to begin with) clutters a huge portion of the drawer.
Buying a kitchenware organizer (a pre-built drawer divider) is probably the simplest possible way for you to handle this issue. Just keep in mind that you might need a custom divider, based on your inventory.
There are a plethora of tutorials out there to help you make the divider you need. All you need for this are some hand tools and some basic (inexpensive) materials. In other words, you can start right away.
A lot of people have a setup where their kitchen is not cut off from the rest of the home with an internal wall. Even if the place isn’t otherwise an open floor setup, the kitchen itself may be joined with the kitchen or a dining area. In this scenario, you need to think about the continuation and there are several things to keep in mind.
First, you need a range hood, the most powerful that you can afford. The last thing you want is the fumes from your kitchen to fuse with the fabrics and walls in your kitchen. This is an investment that will pay itself off in the long run.
Second, keep in mind that the style of the kitchen, in this scenario, needs to match the room that it’s the continuation of. The color scheme and texture don’t have to be the same but at least some sort of visual continuity can go a long way.
The kitchen island is the focal point, even a portal connecting these two areas. It is an element that can allow you to watch TV while doing the dishes or participate in conversation with your guests while preparing food. Contrary to popular belief, it doesn’t shrink the available space in your kitchen. Just think about your priorities – do you really need some more empty (maneuvering) space in your kitchen or do you need more work surface? In 9 out of 10 kitchens, the latter is far more valuable.
6. Add more light
The light is probably the biggest issue regarding functionality when you plan to cook at night or just outright use your kitchen. The safest choice here is the layered lighting.
Downlights are a popular choice but you can also go for something a bit more stylish. For instance, above your kitchen island, you could lower some pendant lights. In the past decade, a lot of people prefer this option to just hanging a chandelier.
Other than this, try to install some lights into these niches and around the countertops. By layering lights into a myriad of smaller fixtures, you’ll achieve two great things. First of all, you will make your kitchen light more resilient. A single bulb that is out will not envelop your entire kitchen in darkness if you have other fixtures. Second, you get to set the mood by turning on only the lights you need for your current kitchen task.
One more thing you need to watch out for is the fact that some kitchen surfaces are glossy by nature. You need to be careful around them, seeing as how this will amplify the level of illumination in your kitchen. While this potentially means that you can enhance the light even with a lower-intensity fixture, it also means that you might be facing some glare. LED light strips can be a great way to avoid this. Just keep in mind that you check all your options in advance.
When planning to shape up some things around your home, there’s nothing more urgent than reorganizing your kitchen. Let’s face it, you use this area of the house every day and by solving just a couple of organizational issues, you could easily improve your quality of life. If you ever choose to sell the place, the kitchen will probably be one of the first areas that the potential buyer will want to see. In other words, regardless of your intentions with the place, investing in your kitchen and keeping it organized and functional is always a great idea.
Blog post author: Ron Wolf