What's In Store
New ways to squeeze more storage out of your kitchen.
There's good news for kitchen-gadget addicts and spatially challenged cooks: You might not be able to make your kitchen larger, but there is a wide array of storage-stretching devices and accessories on the market that will make the space seem and work bigger. Some, like the latest cabinet designs, are intended to be visible parts of the kitchen landscape; others, such as drawer inserts and corner-cabinet carousels, go under cover to push storage capacity to the max. This roundup takes a look at space economizers big and small, from specialized fittings to general-purpose fixtures.
Glass-front cabinetry is a growing trend in kitchen design. Wood-framed drawers from KraftMaid feature false-front display panels that play a fun or functional role.
Available in two- and four-drawer base-cabinet units, you can fill them with dry goods (pasta, beans) or with more fanciful items (small toys, wrapped candies) for visual variety. With Nolte's lightweight, easy-cleaning molded-plastic drawers, what you see is what you get: a clear view of what's stored inside. Place them either above or below the counter.
More than just a decorative touch, these wicker containers let air circulate around the contents of the drawer -- ideal for apples, potatoes and other produce. This look is especially at home in a traditional setting; sliding, chrome-plated wire bins are a suitable equivalent in a contemporary kitchen.
In kit form, these drawers are a rewarding retrofit project (starting at about $150 per set). Or you can purchase fully finished cabinet boxes from a number of manufacturers; this version is from KraftMaid.
Pivoting Wall Panels
If you like the convenience of hanging your cooking equipment on the wall, pivoting panels can effectively double your storage space. These devices are a European innovation (the model shown, from Nolte Kitchens, is fitted with shelves on one side of the panel, adjustable rails on the other face), where cabinetry is designed for mobility. Clearance is key to these units, so they're best installed in the corners of rooms, taking the place of a conventional 36-in. corner cabinet.
The new System 4000 from Häfele (left, $1,500) features adjustable, quick-release trays that lift completely out from a central supporting column. Part of the appeal of pull-out pantries lies in their accessibility; don't install them in corners, where one side of the shelves will be blocked.
Drawers, work surface and seating in one neat, roll-away unit for the truly pressed-for-space. Closed (inset), with its two stools slipped under the table, the cart claims only a 28x33-in. floor area. Opened, the gateleg table measures 28x30 in. Available from Lillian Vernon ($149.98).
Liberated from the confines of the cupboard, tiered lazy Susans are now at home on the wall. Nolte's version is a handy off-the-counter place to stow tins of cooking oil, bottles of vinegar and other daily-use items that are too big for spice racks or enclosed shelves.
Need just a little more storage space close to the kitchen action? Installed under a hanging cabinet, this 22-in. spring-loaded drawer from Ikea ($19.95) can handle the odds and ends a busy cook accumulates.
Attached on the backsplash, railing kits, like this one from Häfele, keep utensils within reach but out of the way. By adding such accessories as S-hooks, bottle cradles, a coffee filter holder, a towel rack and even fruit bowls and corner-shelf components, you can customize the system to your liking. Prices, which start at about $10 per linear yard for the basic rail unit, vary by manufacturer and quality of materials.
Kitchen Storage Dos & Don'ts
- Don't use counters as storage space. Work surfaces are prime real estate in the kitchen. Keep them clear by using drawers, cabinets, walls and overhead spaces for storage.
- Do locate equipment logically. This means stowing pots and pans near the cooktop and oven, and everyday dishes and glassware between the sink and dishwasher.
- Don't purchase any storage item before taking accurate measurements of the area it will occupy and the items it will contain.
- Do invest in quality products. If a cheap rotating shelf doesn't spin smoothly and completely, it doesn't save space or, in the end, money.
- Don't be unrealistic about the ability of storage accessories to transform your cooking and cleaning habits. Even the most deluxe plate rack won't entice your dinner dishes to put themselves away.
Surfing for Storage
by Jonathan Raphel
The Web is a valuable resource for kitchen storage information. We've noted a few particularly helpful sites below. Some offer products for sale, others are more information-oriented.
Primarily a referral service for anyone looking for a kitchen designer, you'll unearth lots of useful info and creative ideas by following the links to each designer's home page.
This well-designed site arguably lives up to its claim of having the largest selection of storage and organizational products on the Web. It can be searched by location (kitchen, bath) to target the areas of the home that most need help.
This attractive site is produced by the
organization that sponsors a major trade show, but you don't have to be an industry pro to reap the benefits of it. The basics and beyond of kitchen design and storage are presented in plain, often humorous language.
Look under "Building Tips" for diagrams and dimensions for a number of simple kitchen-oriented do-it-yourself storage projects.
A vast array of specialty hardware components make this a worthwhile visit. Order a free 650-page product catalog on the site.
Operated by the National Kitchen & Bath Association, this is one of the most comprehensive sites on the topic. It's divided into two parts: one for NKBA members, one for consumers. Learn about the fundamentals and the fine points of kitchen remodeling, get free advice from experts in an accessible Q&A format and link to related sites in the United States and Canada.
From the folks who bring you the hideaway ironing board, here are a few other unusual dedicated storage items, including a wall cabinet just for your toaster.
Lazy Susans of every shape, size and material and wire shelving to fit any cabinet configuration?this is the mother lode if you need to straighten up your stuff. Visit the "Solutions Center" for suggestions tailored to fit your kitchen.
Where to find it:
3901 Cheyenne Dr.
PO Box 4000
Archdale, NC 27263
100 Lillian Vernon Dr.
Virginia Beach, VA 23479-0002
274 Bryan Rd.
Dania, FL 33004
2409 Plantside Dr.
Jeffersontown, KY 40299