Face Your Kitchen
Your Guide to Kitchen Cabinet Refacing

Maximize storage with hidden cabinets

by Karl Fendelander
Face Your Kitchen Columnist

Small kitchens with poorly designed storage might be some of the most maddening places around. Putting away dishes starts to seem like playing a complicated, three-dimensional block-stacking game; finding that last can of olives turns into something on par with an archaeological excavation; and cooking less an artistic expression of flavors than a this-is-what-I-could-find-without-dynamite affair.

Hidden storage and sneaky cabinets to the rescue

Instead of resigning yourself, fighting with your storage or filling the kitchen with unsightly stop-gap storage, take a deep breath, put down the sledgehammer and check out some of the solutions below.

  • Under the floor. Storage built into the floor is traditionally a Japanese idea, but it can streamline your American kitchen with just as much efficiency. Old houses often have large crawl spaces that facilitate the installation of under-floor storage, but these won't work everywhere (like tile floors), so ask a contractor before you take a saw to the linoleum. Use floor storage for things you don't need all of the time, like specialty pots and pans or spare table cloths.
  • At floor-level. Kitchen cabinets usually start a few inches off the floor. That wood in the recessed area between the floor and the cabinets is called a toe-kick, and it's rarely got anything but air behind it. Drawers installed in this space won't hold much that's tall, but extra baking sheets, table cloths and really anything flat will fit like a charm.
  • In the walls. Walls have a lot going on inside, but even with all the wires, pipes and studs, there's a lot of empty space. If you can find it, the world of cabinets and drawers is your oyster. Only the brave and the qualified should start crashing through drywall looking for hidden storage space -- and only contractors should be cutting away at structural materials to fit in a cabinet.
  • To the ceiling. A lot of kitchen cabinets stop short of the ceiling leaving homeowners with super-high shelves to fill with things that may never be dusted again, let alone used. Take these cabinets out and either move them all the way up to the ceiling or put in new ones that go all the way up. The first option opens up room for a shelf underneath, and the second takes full advantage of the space you have to store -- both should be paired with a nice step ladder.

Talk to a bonded, licensed and insured* contractor like the ones you'll find in our network about these additions and others that might work in your space. When you're all done with the additions, be prepared for a kitchen that feels like James Bond's interior designer fixed things up for you.

*See terms and conditions on http://www.streetcertified.com/about/Terms.jsp

About the Author
Karl Fendelander cut his teeth on web writing in the late nineties and has been plugged in to the newest technology and tuned in to the latest trends ever since. With an eye for design and an ear for language, Karl has created content and managed digital media for startups and established companies alike. When he unplugs, Karl can be found biking about town and hiking and climbing throughout the West.

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