Face Your Kitchen
Your Guide to Kitchen Cabinet Refacing

Sneaky storage solutions for the kitchen

by Karl Fendelander
Face Your Kitchen Columnist

With pots, pans, dishes, spices, food, appliances and more, storage space is at a premium in the kitchen. Fortunately, nearly every kitchen has a few hidden storage spots just waiting to be utilized. These secret spaces are usually pretty empty, but many are home to wires, pipes, insulation or air ducts. It's a good idea to bring in a contractor if you aren't comfortable moving or rerouting what you might find.

  1. In front of the sink: The kitchen sink takes up a fair amount of room, which is why you're more likely to find a false drawer front instead of any real storage in those few inches between your cabinet facing and the sink. Rather than keeping that false drawer facing nailed in place, you can install a flip-down mini cabinet to hold sponges, scrubbers, rubber gloves and other small, cleaning-related items.
  2. In the walls: It might take a lot of knocking on the wall to discover, but the walls of your kitchen could be hiding the perfect place for a built-in cabinet or shelving. Watch out for studs and wires, and try not to make too many exploratory holes in the wall while locating this storage spot.
  3. On the walls: This one's hidden in plain sight. Any open wall space in the kitchen can fit a shelf, even if it's a small one. Free up room in the pantry by putting dry goods and spices in glass jars out for all to see. Open some room in the cupboard by putting your decorative dishes on display. With a few extra shelves, even small ones, you can move things around and create a lot of space.
  4. At your feet: Cabinets usually start a few inches off the floor. That space in between the floor boards and where your cabinets start is a storage gold mine. Large, flat pans that don't fit well into cabinets can find a home in long, thin drawers at floor level -- just watch out for wires here.
  5. Beneath your feet: Cabinets hidden under the floor boards have been a Japanese storage secret for centuries. A contractor is your best bet to install these because floor joists will likely be involved. Once finished, these in-floor cabinets can be used to store things you don't need all the time, like holiday dishes and table coverings.
  6. Above your head: Take full advantage of tall ceilings with hanging pan and pot holders in the kitchen. If you've got enough room, push those cabinets all the way up -- and don't forget to pick up a step ladder.

These storage upgrades can be tricky, and several of them deal with structural elements of your home. Talk to a contractor about what you can do yourself and what should be left up to the professionals.

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