Lack of counter space is up there on the list of tiny-kitchen frustrations. Even if you’ve KonMari-ed your kitchen and tucked all your usual space-hogging suspects away, it’s possible you’ll still come up short. Still, it’s easier than you might think to increase your work surface area. Here are eight solutions in order of difficulty from super simple to more involved (read: some degree of handiness required).
1. Use your windowsill for storage.
Audrey’s home offers a beautiful example of using a windowsill well, but you don’t have to limit yourself to an herb garden. If you’re lucky enough to have a deep kitchen windowsill, use it to hold carafes, kitchen canisters, cookbooks, and all those other things that so often clutter our counters.
2. Make your drawers work harder.
Drawers aren’t just for silverware—they can hold spices, pantry items, and all those little things. This smart kitchen uses a combination of drawer organizers, wall shelving, and shelf stackers to free up counter space.
3. Make the most of the space above your cabinets.
Move infrequently used items up high, to that often-underutilized space above the kitchen cabinets, if you have space between them and the ceiling. Then use the room you’ve made to store the stuff you’ll actually use more often—like crocks of wooden spoons and cutting boards.
4. Add a shelf stacker or under-shelf basket.
A narrow shelf stacker almost instantly doubles the surface area of a space. If you prefer to keep your counters completely clear, outfit your cabinets with under-shelf baskets to hold mugs, plates, or jars (or all of the above).
5. Keep things off the counter with pegboard storage.
Julia Child made pegboard storage famous in her kitchen, and the idea has legs. Add a shelf to one hold your canisters and carafes, or hang holders from it to organize your various spice jars.
6. Make your stovetop do double duty.
Even if you only have space for a stove, refrigerator, and sink, you can use burner covers to create a work surface. Follow this easy tutorial to make your own custom covers, out of basic wooden cutting boards, for very little money.
7. Clear counter space by adding wall shelves.
One of the reasons people keep things on their counters is to have all those frequently used items in view. If you’re short on work space, but want to keep your plates and pantry items in plain view, consider adding open shelving—like these stainless restaurant style versions—anywhere you can! Move dishes, spices, and even small appliances off the counter and onto the walls to clear space for prep while keeping everything out where you can still see it.
8. Make your own custom kitchen island.
This one requires a bit more effort, but in a small space, a custom island can be easier to fit than a standard size. Julia and Bruno prove that it can be done inexpensively and beautifully. They made their island from a butcher block counter and IKEA trestle legs.
Have a small kitchen? How have you created counter space? Let us know in the comments!
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