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Renovation & Design

Get your kitchen looking fresh

The Container Store

Use clear, open bins to contain things such as snack bags and bars.

The Tile Shop / The Associated Press

Ceiling-high cabinets make your space look taller, but they can also coax you into keeping junk you don’t need stacked up high. Don’t let that happen.

There are many recent design trends that have vastly improved the functionality and efficiency of the modern kitchen. But while some of the trends succeed esthetically, they can create organizational challenges.

 

Large, open-plan kitchens

Large kitchens with open floor plans have become very popular in recent years and for good reason. For a lot of people, it makes sense to have ample space in the kitchen.

But there are disadvantages. An abundance of storage can hamper efficiency if it’s not well organized, making it difficult to find what you need quickly. Additionally, a larger kitchen means there is more space to clean and keep tidy.

 

Replace lower cabinets with drawers

Another new trend is to have mostly deep drawers as storage on the bottom portion of the kitchen. In some ways, deep drawers are better than cabinets for storing kitchen items; things are contained and it’s easy to see everything when you open the drawer.

But some things just don’t fit well into wide, deep drawers. And heavy items, such as upright mixers, are difficult to store in them. When you’re deciding on a layout, take a complete inventory of your kitchen. A regular cabinet with shelves is sometimes just what you need.

 

Open shelving

Doesn’t open shelving look so inviting in magazines and on cooking shows? The problem is, most of us don’t use display-worthy dishes every day. Often, open shelving becomes a display space in an area that would have been the perfect place to store daily dishes. Before you add open shelving, consider how your pieces will look and whether you’re up to the task of keeping the shelves neatly arranged.

 

Movable pantry shelves

Built-in pantry cabinets with pullout shelves are also all the rage. They’re a major improvement over pantry closets or cabinets with fixed shelves that make it difficult to access items hidden way in the back.

But the design of the movable shelves — wide and with a low frame — makes them difficult to manage and keep neat. Large boxes topple over when the shelves are moved, bags of snacks get piled on top of one another and there’s often wasted vertical space between the shelves.

Fortunately, there are several ways to make these drawers more functional. Insert a vertical divider so things can be neatly lined up and stored upright. Store grains in stackable canisters that make better use of the vertical space than the products’ original, usually bagged, packaging. Use clear, open bins to contain things such as snack bags and bars.

 

Ceiling-height cabinets

Cabinets that extend to the ceiling are now the norm in kitchen design. And it’s understandable why this trend is so popular — they make the ceiling appear higher, erase the problem of what to do with the awkward space between the cabinets and ceiling and provide extra storage space. But they also give an easy excuse to keep all kinds of things that aren’t wanted or needed. Although it’s fine to keep some rarely used dishes or extra wine glasses in the uppermost cabinets, it is generally not a good idea to keep things or buy things just because you have the space.

— Washington Post

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