More Storage for your Kitchen, Bath or Laundry Room
If you have more stuff than you know what to do with, the easy thing to do to solve your space issues is rent a dumpster! Or you might value your stuff a little more so the alternative would be to work with a cabinet designer that might have some "out of the box" ideas that will max out the space you do have. So there is hope, don't rent the dumpster yet.
A good way to get more storage space in you kitchen, bathroom or laundry room is to go up. A very popular solution would be to increase the height of your wall cabinets. Older kitchens most commonly have 30 inch high wall cabinets with the rather unpopular dust collector gap of about 12 inches from top of cabinet to the ceiling. Cabinets come in many heights. Most commonly 30, 36, 42 and 48. Also, many cabinet manufactures are offering custom heights without charging a customizing fee. Wall cabinets that go to the ceiling also make a room look larger.
About 15 years ago it was popular with builders to put in a sheetrock soffit. From the ceiling down to the bottom of the soffit is often a pretty good chunk of space. As long as there isn't significant plumbing (usually a drain line) or electrical inside these sheetrock soffits, they can be removed without breaking the bank. Your cabinet designer should take the time to inspect inside those soffits before ordering your new cabinets.
If you like the idea of taller wall cabinets, be prepared to use a step stool to get to the top shelf. This top shelf is good for items you don't use everyday and will cut down on your dusting. For adjustable shelving in wall cabinets, it is often good to add a bonus shelf. Take a look at your current wall shelves. Typically, folks will stake plates and items on top of each other, but still have space from the top of the item to the bottom of the next shelf up. Adding a shelf may allow you to use that space.
Recently in Rye, New Hampshire we worked on a kitchen that had a lot of windows. Although a bit unusual, the customer liked the idea of making the windows inoperable and design open wall cabinets that would fit over the windowed space. The advantages, customer would still get natural light in the room and solved a storage issue they were having. Granted this idea is not for everyone, but worked out for this particular application.
Corners in a kitchen are always a topic of discussion with most kitchen remodeling jobs. Still the best option is the 36 inch Super Lazy Susan. If you haven't seen one lately, you can view video of a kitchen we recently did in Hampton, New Hampshire below...
In the video above, you will see a "blind corner cabinet" and the "Super Susan corner cabinet" with bi-fold door.
There is a third option for corner base area, corner cabinet with drawers. Not my favorite choice because the space you loose and the cost. May work well for a large kitchen.
Another key cabinet to have in your kitchen is the drawer base. These should be placed strategically next to dishwasher and/or range because the tools needed in cooking wont be far away. Large pot and pan base cabinets are often better than a cabinet that has two doors and roll out trays. With a roll out tray cabinet you have to open the two doors then the roll out. With a pot and pan base, you just pull out the drawer. The disadvantage to the pot and pan base is the drawers cannot be adjusted. Roll out trays can offer some minor adjustment if you have that tall lobster pot you are trying to store.
When I am looking at kitchens that have a cook top, I often see a false drawer at the top of the cabinet. This is to make room for the cook top under the counter top. However, I will most often order a regular cabinet as though the cook top weren't there. In most cases, on the job site I can customize the above drawer so the space under the cook top can be used for storage. Similarly, for a sink base cabinet. The false drawer area can be used as a sink tip out.
Another cabinet I often add to a kitchen design is the 9 or 12 inch tray base. Cookie sheets are easier to reach if they are stored vertically and not on top of each other. Alternatively, I will also add a vertical partition in a deep refrigerator wall cabinet for storage of cookie sheets, serving platters and/or cutting boards.
Speaking about refrigerator wall cabinets... A lot of kitchens that are in need of remodel often have a wall cabinet over the refrigerator that is only 12 inches deep. This cabinet is pretty hard to get to when you have a refrigerator that exceeds 30 inches in depth. It also promotes storage of unsightly items that just don't have any business being on top of a refrigerator. The better way is to install a 24 inch deep refrigerator wall cabinet. Yes you will likely, still need the step stool, however it will give the refrigerator a more built in look and offers deeper and better storage for seasonal items.
How about adjustable shelving in filler space. As long as you have two base or wall cabinets next to each other, you can use up wall space with a filler pullout. This storage solution is often used for spices, oils, cooking sprays and/or sauce jars.
Another out of the box storage area people forget is the toe kick space. Standard base cabinets have 4-1/2 inches of vacant toe kick space. It isn't good space for every application, but I have been known to work in a pull out for a step stool in that area. Another area that is under utilized is under the sink base cabinet. We often have to make room for the plumbing and garbage disposal in that area, however I have installed a roll out tray at the bottom of this cabinet. Where practical, customers often like the added convenience.
Hampton, New Hampshire beach area has some real small kitchens. Often buildings have been converted to full time homes, but lack the land for adding an addition. So in the past I have put together islands on wheels. In order to have a stationary island, it is often practical to have at least 36 inches of space all around the island. With a movable island on large locking rubber caster wheels, that requirement no longer applies. Peninsula base cabinets,where the storage can be accessed on both sides is a great cabinet for a movable island. The movable island will give you a nice work surface and extra storage space in a small kitchen. Then roll it away when not in use.
From this quick article, you can be rest assured that there are plenty of creative solutions to make your small kitchen more efficient and better organized. There are more options I haven't covered. Let me know if you need help narrowing down storage options for your next project.