If you’ve ever lived in a small home or apartment before, chances are you always had to make do with what you had – which was probably not a lot. You probably had to deal with off brand products that stopped working when you needed them the most. You also probably dealt with small kitchen spaces, weird design setups, and awkwardly placed cabinets. Thankfully, when you live in places like this, you realize what you hate, love and would change in your home kitchen to make it more user-friendly, efficient and functional. Here are a few design ideas I learned about not only as a foodie but as a Chef in my own home kitchen.
The Right Vent Hood Is Important!
If you have a microwave above your stove, you probably don’t need to worry about this kitchen design tip. However, if you don’t and your microwave is elsewhere, you do need a specific vent hood for your stove. A vent hood is not just meant to look pretty, it actually has a functional use; they can suck air, smoke and even stinky smells out of your kitchen and out of the house. Any professional kitchen has a vent hood. Actually, to be honest, its not just a small vent hood like the one in your kitchen, it is almost the entire length of the line! Just the same, when it comes time to picking out your vent hood, its important to buy the right size. Just because you buy a bigger hood, doesn’t mean its going to suck out more air. No. In all actuality, the amount of air that is sucked out doesn’t deal with size, necessarily, it deals with CFM – cubic foot per minute of air that can be sucked out. Also, too large of a vent not only defeats the purpose, but it can also look really odd above your range as well which is definitely not a good kitchen design strategy. Definitely, something to think about.
Proper Knife Storage
I can’t tell you how many knife blocks I have had in my life. Its a large number. But, one thing I have always hated about knife blocks is that they waste space on your counter. Granted I have one now that is slimmer in build and I also have one of those magnetic knife racks, but if I had my choice I would definitely consider one of these drawer blocks as one of the better kitchen design tips. In fact, that’s my next project! These knife blocks are placed inside your drawer – they are smaller in size in terms of height, they fit into your drawer after all, but they tend to be the entire width and length of the drawer. You can either buy these custom made or you can find them on a website like Amazon. There are 2 different types of drawer knife blocks. These are ones with grooves cut into them where you can lay the knife into the groove and then there are cut outs. These cutouts are really nice because you aren’t just throwing the knives in the drawers, you are organizing them by type and size. I’ll show you two images below so you can see what I mean. I also saw another option at Target a few weeks ago. Its this material, I suppose its almost like Kinetic Sand. Its durable and strong enough to slide your knives into, but its soft enough to wear it won’t dull or scratch your knives. I’ll also include a picture for that below as well.
Invest In A Properly Designed Pot/Pan/Lid Roll Out
Once, I lived in an apartment that was so small I could barely fit anything in the cabinets, including the pots, pans, and lids. We had literally 2 cabinets that were very deep and yet very low to the ground and slim – very annoying. We would just sort of stack and stuff as well as we could but this becomes ultra aggravating and lets be honest after awhile you just shove stuff in there haha. It makes for a very unorganized cabinet, for sure. Not sure what the designers were thinking when they made these cabinets or the kitchens, but obviously they did not consider ANY kitchen design tips like the ones found in this article! But, you do have other options available to you if you are doing a kitchen renovation. Some people like the pot racks – these are placed (usually) above your kitchen island. It anchors to the ceiling and then the rack has these little hooks that you can hang your pots and pans on. But, what about the lids? There’s really no place for the lids to go! Other people prefer to use MDF board and then add hooks to the wood or even create a stencil so each pot and pan has its own place, but again, no real place for the lids! One of the best options to consider are these roll out drawers. If you have a lot of cabinet space or space in general, these roll out drawers make a lot of sense. I know I love mine. Everything stays where its supposed to go, its organized, they are easy to get out and… there’s a place for the lids! The roll out drawers can be multilevel – that way you can “stack” as many drawers on to each other as you need to and you still have a drawer for pots, another for pans, and another for.. LIDS! Yes.. LIDS! Thank god.
Make Cooking Utensils Disappear…
Chances are you probably have a lot of cooking utensils. Whether you throw them in a drawer in some unorganized manner or you have a jar or a pot you keep them in on top of the counter, you are not utilizing all your options! Another really cool idea is to create a drawer specifically for your utensils like whisks, pot stirrers, spatulas, etc. These “drawers” are not regular drawers, though. In fact, instead of a cutout section which is the case for most drawers, there is a solid wood block inside the space that would usually be open. Inside the block are these cut outs for stainless steel carafes and that is where you would place your utensils you cook with. Its all very organized, but its also a space saver and keeps your counters clutter free. There are, of course, other ways to create the same idea, but in different ways. If you don’t have a ton of money and need to budget, you can also weld together enough stainless steel carafes that will fit into a drawers, you can think about inserts – these work just like the blocks of wood, but they can be purchased separately and inserted into the spaces of the drawer. For cooking utensils, I definitely prefer storing them upright versus laying down. Otherwise… well, lets be honest, that’s what you did before and look at the mess it created! Upright is definitely the way to go!
Pantries Are Important, But….
They are important, but that doesn’t necessarily mean you need some huge, money sucking, walk in pantry. I lived in a few townhomes over the years and one of the things I really loved was the pantries that were kitchen dedicated. They weren’t walk in, but they had enough shelf and space that they were pretty damn perfect. 2 things I do have to mention from those townhomes that I hated in terms of the pantry and 2 of the most important pantry kitchen design tips; 1- Make sure your shelves are not those wired racks. They become really annoying when you try to place smaller or slimmer boxes on them. 2- Make sure you add some light! If its too dark, you won’t want to use it. So whether you add some backlighting or a light up at the top, make sure you do add some source of light to your pantry. If you really want to make things easy on yourself, forgo the “racks” entirely, and instead get yourself some pullout, stainless steel or wooden shelves that pull out. That way you won’t have to reach over or push aside food, just pull the drawer out and see everything that you have available!
Summary Of Products Used In This Blog:
Proper Knife Storage