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Dreaming of an Uncluttered Kitchen

Who doesn’t dream of a photoshoot-worthy kitchen? You know the type: one with ample and easy-care counter space, tons of storage in handsome cabinetry, an abundance of natural light, tough but beautiful flooring, plus an array of appliances, both large and small, designed to make every kitchen task a snap. Welcome to the worldwide club of dreamers!

Fortunately, even if a total kitchen remodel isn’t in your budget, you can harness the burst of energy that comes with springtime and upgrade the hardest-working room in your house by simply decluttering your kitchen countertops.

Appliance garages to the rescue!
Move toward the streamlined kitchen of your dreams by corralling appliances such as microwaves, blenders, stand/hand mixers, coffeemakers, toasters and air fryers behind closed doors in a dedicated storage cabinet known in HGTV-speak as an appliance garage. Not only are these so-called garages useful in decluttering countertops, but they also provide storage for rarely used and seasonal items. (Crockpots and Christmas dishes deserve dedicated storage space, too.)

Assess first
Answers to these questions will help determine which kind of kitchen garage(s) will work best for you:

  • How many and what kind of kitchen appliances do you have that could be stowed out of sight?
  • What sizes and how heavy are they?
  • What height should they be stored? Would they benefit from being countertop height so they can simply be slid out onto the counter in front of the garage or left on a top shelf only to be taken down on special occasions?

After you’ve assessed how many and what types of appliances you want to conceal, the next step is to examine closely the layout of your kitchen and the look of your existing cabinetry. Will you need to hire a contractor to custom build your appliance garage to match your existing cabinets or will you purchase a ready-made solution in a contrasting color and/or coordinating design? Sometimes an underutilized countertop corner can be the perfect place for a purchased appliance garage that will simply slide back into that corner under existing wall-hung cabinets. When adequate in size, a purchased appliance garage can be a handy spot to conceal a microwave or other heat-producing appliances while allowing for proper ventilation. Whether you choose to add an undercounter unit or build a much larger appliance garage, your kitchen layout will drive the design.

It’s all about the doors
For maximum functionality of any appliance garage, the type of doors you choose is critical. In most cases this means being creative when it comes to making doors “disappear.” Below are some ways to achieve this.

Roll-up doors, also known as tambour doors, are made of connected narrow slats that roll back into the upper or lower area of the specialty cabinet with the help of a handle, perfect for appliance garages that house larger, heat-generating appliances that will be used in place. An added benefit of tambour doors is that they will never be in the way of adjacent cabinets and other workspaces.

Another solution is to use doors that swing open and then slide back into the cabinet on either side. This design requires adequate space on either side to accommodate the rollbacks and is often used when an entire wall-hung cabinet is being transformed into a multi-tiered appliance garage. An additional plus of rollback doors is that they close by simply pulling them back out fully and then closing them just like standard cabinet doors.

Especially in smaller kitchens, a great choice of doors is one that either pulls down or lifts up. One of the benefits of a door that swings down is that the door provides a landing area for associated items.

For heavy items that are most conveniently used at counter height, consider lifts installed inside base cabinets. Placing large appliances such as food processors and stand mixers on lifts inside base cabinets provides relief from moving heavy objects. At the same time it frees up valuable counter space and allows associated items to be stored on a shelf underneath.

Remember to add sufficient electrical outlets and lighting inside garages. In cases when you can’t match your existing cabinetry, consider a door with an insert of perforated tin, caning or a metal grille to make the door look more intentional. A customized kitchen appliance garage will not only conceal counter clutter, but it will also enhance the functionality of the hub of your home, getting you one step closer to your dream kitchen.


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