Every homeowner dreams of a nice, big kitchen with plenty of room for cooking and entertaining. Unfortunately, spacious kitchens can be hard to come by — especially if you live in an urban area or own an older home. In tight kitchen spaces, organization is the key to fluid design and functionality, not to mention keeping your food-prep sanity.
Faith Towers, author of the popular blog Design Fixation, says many kitchens are designed to function well, often at the expense of how beautifully they are laid out. But she believes that doesn't have to be the case.
"There are ways to make your kitchen stylish without sacrificing convenience and organization," she says. "The key is to display the pretty things, and hide the clutter - in an organized way." She recommends making vertical spaces, like cupboards and walls, do double duty in order to keep utensils in out-of-the-way places.
Remember these 6 simple tips to creating a beautifully organized kitchen:
(Photo: Faith Towers/Design Fixation)Group items of the same category together. Take some of the stress out of your kitchen routine by combining similar things together. For example, put all of your baking utensils in one drawer and your coffee goods all on the same shelf. This will help you avoid throwing things around in a frantic search for what you need and making a mess of an already cramped kitchen.
Containers are your new best friend. Store food, spices and other items in containers to allow for easier access. If you have limited cabinet space and need to keep these containers on your counter top, choose functional storage containers that can double as an accent piece. Bright ceramic is great for a modern look, while vintage bread boxes add some old-school flair.
Buy what you need to avoid overflowing cabinets. As much as you might enjoy buying those bulk items at stores like Costco (and the price break you get from buying in bulk), if you have a small kitchen this might not be the best option. Try to buy only what you plan on using during the next week or so, and restock as needed. This will save space and keep ingredients fresh.
Divide and Conquer. You can find all kinds of storage dividers for the kitchen in stores or online. Putting a divider system in place cuts down on the time it will take you to find that cutting board or potato masher. I recommend using dividers for everything from silverware and large utensils to plates and baking pans.
Get hooked on hooks. Make use of the empty wall space underneath your cabinets and above the stove by hanging the things you use every day. Hang your favorite coffee mugs near the coffee pot for easy access, and hang your everyday pans above or near the stove. If you have the ceiling height, splurge on a ceiling-mounted pot rack to free up some space. This gives you the option of hanging kitchen towels, utensils and oven mitts on or near the stove.
(Photo: Faith Towers/Design Fixation)For Towers, cabinet doors are very important: "One of my favorite tips is to use the back side of cabinet doors. Buy a clear shoe organizer and fill it with anything other than shoes. Not only will all of your utensils have a home, but you will be able to easily find what you're looking for since you can see through the pockets. No more digging through drawers and boxes!"
She also has a great idea of using the inside of cabinets as a bulletin board. To spruce up the space a bit, Faith suggests using leftover paint to create a fun design on the surface.
Be creative. Use a towel rod to hang cleaning supplies or ceramic cups to hold utensils - the possibilities are endless! Jen Jones, expert organizer at IHeart Organizing, suggests on her blog that homeowners use a mix of new and old to create fun and functional storage options. She uses a rail and hooks from Ikea to hang her potholders and kitchen towels, and repurposes old vases as utensil holders.
It's a new twist on an old idea brought to life by none other than Julia Child, who famously hung her pots, pans and utensils on an old peg board in her kitchen. You can see the kitchen today at the Smithsonian Museum of American History, which moved the famous space - in its entirety - to the East Wing on the first floor.