One of the biggest aspects of interior design is understanding how a client will use their space and that goes all the way to the inside of the cabinetry. One of our goals is to help clients get more organized and have more useful storage.
I’ve got some tips here to share that mostly concern cabinetry, and I think, especially if you’re considering a remodel soon, you might find these interesting.
One of Pinterest’s most searched items last year was “wire management”. (Don’t quote me on that, but I did read it somewhere in an article that I now can’t find. :-) Apparently, it’s quite unsettling to see a wad of wires lying out on the floor, catching dust bunnies, tripping up the pets, and in general, scrambling your visual field. I know it bothers me. It bothers my clients too.
One of my clients’ main priorities when we remodeled her home office was to hide the wires and cords. If you have a desktop made of wood with outlets below that you’re stretching cords all over trying to get to outlets, then drill a hole and use a plastic grommet. You can then thread the cord through to reach the outlet, keeping the cords off the desktop and out of the way.
I have one in my desktop at home and several on our worksurfaces in the office. These are great for items that are plugged in all the time, like desktop computers, printers, etc.
Use a small shelf with a lip, like we did in this project above, located on the back wall under the countertop, to guide the cords over to a cabinet that might have other equipment you need to connect to. With a hole drilled into the side of the cabinet, the cords can enter there and stay out of sight.
Outlets for charging phones need to be up top and accessible. If you’re going to charge a phone with a particular outlet, make sure it’s conveniently located and on top of a countertop where you can lay your phone.
Outlets located inside cabinets are a wonderful thing!! If you think you might need to keep anything plugged in somewhere that would be good to be out of sight, installing an outlet inside the cabinet on the side or back wall works.
When I remodeled my own kitchen, I built this little landing station cabinet at the back door to the garage. I have my hand vac charging inside there and it's convenient but I don't have to see it or it's cords out anywhere.
I love my outlet inside my medicine cabinet too. Something is always charging in there. Robern makes some great medicine cabinets that have outlets inside as well.
Get more accessible storage out of your double door cabinet.
Many cabinets have a center vertical stile (a divider) between the two doors. I find that there is much more accessibility if you can have that vertical piece gone. You just gain such better access to your cabinet and then can move bigger dishes in and out easily. It also enables you to install some organizational products, if you desire.
If you have a center stile, then it’s highly unlikely you have cabinet doors that meet in the middle. It’s likely there’s a gap that the center stile covers.
You can cut that stile top and bottom, making nice cuts to save the center stile. Then attach that piece to one of the cabinet doors, looking just as it would have before. It then appears as a “dummy” center stile, still there when closed, covering the gap, but opens up the cabinet tremendously as it swings open with one of the doors. Another option is to make new doors that do meet in the middle.
Pull-out under the kitchen sink
It’s always hard to get under the sink, so a pull-out really helps you get access to everything you have underneath. No matter what style of cabinetry or kitchen you may have, a double door scenario is almost always done under the sink for access to the plumbing. A single pull-out on the base of the cabinet can be super convenient.
If you have a center stile there, the removal I described above can work so that you have a big, wide pull-out.
Deep drawers have more storage space than pull-outs.
Pull-outs behind cabinet doors eat a couple of additional inches out of your storage width as they have to allow for the door swing and the pull-out mechanism. Especially in a narrow cabinet, if you're not doing vertical storage, a drawer makes better use of space than a pull-out.
Additional Tip: If you are doing deep drawers or pull-outs, stay under 36” wide, as they will begin to sag over time, even with heavy duty glides.
Modify your overhead cabinet above a refrigerator if it’s tiny and unuseful.
If you have a cabinet above your frig that is 12” deep like the rest of your kitchen cabinets, it’s likely not doing you much good. Many times people stack items on top of the refrigerator in front of it and it’s so hard to get to back there, that you don’t even remember what’s there. The cabinet usually ends up being tiny too, especially if it has a center stile, so that it’s pretty much unusable except for odd small items you really don’t need.
I prefer to build in a refrigerator with a full cabinet, bringing the storage all the way out to the face of the refrigerator, using that space many times, for trays or platters with vertical dividers. Check out more of my beautiful kitchen storage HERE.
If you can’t do that and simply want to make your storage more useful, you can remove the tiny cabinet. Typical pre-made cabinets, even custom cabinets, are built in boxes and then installed directly on the wall. Many times they are just butted up to each other, not even attached. Mouldings and trim are then added with finish nails, so it’s quite easy to remove that cabinet by gently prying off the mouldings and trim, saving it, of course, then unscrewing the little cabinet from the wall and taking it down.
Typically the sides of the adjacent cabinet are finished, so no need to worry about exposing something not finished or painted. Then the existing moulding can be cut to fit and return back to the wall beside the cabinets remaining on the wall. So, what to do with that space then?
I have done several things in the past, one was to build a new box cabinet that was taller and deeper than the typical cabinetry. It was also slightly more narrow than the refrigerator, so that it purposefully looked like an accent piece on it’s on. It was painted a color that contrasted with the rest of the cabinetry, again, to make it appear as an intentional change or accent.
We did an adjustable open shelf in the middle and topped it with a crown. Once painted, it became a nice place for display of some favorite kitchen ceramics or especially cake plates w/domes.
Tuck your garbage can into the cabinet for a tidier look to your kitchen.
So, maybe you aren’t remodeling your kitchen anytime soon but are dying to get that trash can stashed away. You also don’t want to have a tiny, short trash can in the kitchen, but need a full height kitchen garbage can to handle your needs.
Most tall trash cans will fit underneath a standard 36” countertop even in a drawer situation. If you have a 20” or wider cabinet with a door below and drawer above, you can remove the panels from those, cut the stile on the face frame that divides them, attach that piece and the door panels to a backer board and build the drawer with the tall paneled front.
The trash drawer is basically a platform with short box around the base so that the trash can fits in. Use a heavy duty, full extension glide so that you can have complete access to the trash can.
Of course, you can buy one of these great drawers from Rev-A-Shelf, and install it into your existing cabinet in the way described above. This one debuted at KBIS2017, all stainless with heavy duty glides.
Start with an inventory.
Oftentimes, especially when we are working with homeowners’ existing furnishings, we start with an inventory. We go through the house and photograph and measure each piece of furniture or furnishings that they know they will reuse in the redone space. This helps us place them in the new floor plans or really, serves to help homeowners decide what they will keep and what they will get rid of.
The great thing about doing an inventory, is that you don't have to make judgements about what to keep and what to get rid of at that time. You're just building a list, it's really rather non-threatening for people who aren't ready to make decisions about their stuff. It also helps to see it all on a spreadsheet and becomes much easier to have it all catalogued with dimensions, etc. There’s something about seeing an item in a document that seems to help a homeowner make a decision about keeping vs. letting go.
This might be a little tedious for a kitchen, but I've done an inventory before for a heavily detailed kitchen project. It works much the same way that a furniture inventory does, by making it easy to evaluate what to keep and what to get rid of.
I have some cool storage products from Rev-A-Shelf linked for you below. These can really help organize your cabinets and gain more accessibility for hard-to-reach spaces.
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