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Run Out of Space in Your Kitchen? Ditch These Now

Large or small, your kitchen will feel much bigger after a calculated clear-out. Here’s what to dump and what to rethink

Houzz Contributor. Editor in Chief of RealHomes.com. I am an editor, journalist,… More

Whether yours is a tiny galley kitchen or a family-sized space, it’s rarely big enough for your needs. However, a combination of selective decluttering and shrewd rethinking – plus a neat space-saving trick or two – can give you a room that feels much more spacious.

More in this series: Run Out of Space in Your Hallway? Ditch These Now l Run Out of Space in Your Bedroom? Ditch These Now

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They’re bulky, don’t like steamy conditions, block out light and hold on to cooking smells – so why keep them? What works better? Shutters are easy to keep clean, tolerate moisture and let in lots of light. Or, to maximise your space and daylight, why not simply semi-frost the window – if you’re overlooked – or leave it completely bare?

Tour a clever kitchen extension that preserves the original building’s Victorian proportions

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Cupboards that don’t reach the ceiling
Have a look at all that wasted space above your kitchen wall cupboards – just how much household clutter could you hide away if they extended right up to the ceiling instead, like these? So, if you’re thinking of a revamp, plan in extra-tall units and fill the upper sections with things you don’t use often, such as that tagine the in-laws gave you last Christmas…

10 ways to introduce stylish wall lights into your kitchen

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Pans cluttering up drawers
If your drawers and cupboards are bursting at the seams, why not free up some space by hanging your pans from a rack? Take them out and assess whether you need all of them first (have you ever used that fancy crepe pan?) then assign each one a hook. Buy a rack like this and you’ll have extra shelf space on top, too.

If sacrificing wall space for a pan rack is a no-go, don’t forget you have that curtain-free window space you could hang them across. Just make sure you only display your best-looking cookware.

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Appliances you never use
There’s a limit to how many small appliances you can use in a week, but if you have a sandwich maker, a juicer, a toaster, a kettle, a waffle-maker and a mixer mostly idling on your worktop, they’re bound to make your kitchen look cluttered – and smaller. So why not hide some away in your newly freed-up drawers till you need them next – or, gasp, even recycle them?

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Spice racks that live on worktops
Clear worktops will make your kitchen feel bigger and tidier, but if your drawers are stuffed (with those appliances), putting away smaller items, such as spice bottles, might not be an option. Plus, if you’re a keen cook, you’ll want them to hand. So why not install a half-shelf, just deep enough to take a spice jar or 15, beneath existing shelves or wall cabinets?

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A non-integrated bin
Freestanding bins: untidy, invariably surrounded by splat marks from teabags, often left with the lid flipped up so everyone can share the view – and odour – of the contents. Why keep yours if you can adapt an existing under-sink cupboard to take an integrated one, where everything is hidden out of sight? Better still, if yours is divided into sections, you can even recycle more efficiently.

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A kettle cluttering up worktops
Of course, a boiling-water tap – the must-have for every high-tech contemporary kitchen – will save you the most space, removing the need for a kettle at all, but they’re pricey and tricky to retro-fit.

A hob-top kettle, on the other hand, is a low-tech solution to the problem: it lives on the hob, so it doesn’t take up worktop space or a valuable plug socket, and you can always push it to one side when you’re cooking. Looks good, too.

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Radiators hogging wall space
In a small kitchen, you need all the valuable wall space you can grab for cabinetry, so getting rid of radiators makes good sense. Your best option is to replace them with underfloor heating.

If you’re only heating a small space, an electric system can easily be laid under tiles, vinyl or engineered wood. For a larger area you’re renovating from scratch, consider a cheaper-to-run, water-fed system. For less upheaval, investigate whether plinth heating may be suitable for your room – it’s fitted in the dead space beneath base cabinets and can be electric or plumbed-in.

Read this expert advice on choosing and installing underfloor heating

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Pots and pots of utensils
It’s handy to have key utensils out of drawers and within easy reach for when you’re cooking, but stashing a bulky knife block and multiple pots of spoons on the worktop is just another form of clutter-gathering.

Utensils have a habit of accumulating, so decide which you can ditch first, then use one of the many ways – from hooks and magnetic strips to mini shelves with slots – to get yours out of the way and onto the otherwise unused splashback.

How to care for wooden kitchen worktops

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A space-sucking dining area
It’s all very well squeezing in a breakfast bar or even a dining table, but if your kitchen is space-challenged, you need to be ruthless with your planning. So, instead of a fixed piece of furniture, consider a foldaway table that will be almost unnoticeable when not in use. Match it with foldable chairs you can hang on the wall or stools you can stack. Neat.

Tell us…
Which items could you reorganise in your kitchen to gain space? Share your tips or photos in the Comments section.

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