Today's kitchens are filled with all kinds of gastronomical gadgets, from coffee bean grinders to indoor rotisseries, yet design trends are leaning toward minimalism. That means you can show off your white marble countertops, commercial range and custom backsplash, but only if you put away the blender, toaster, chop-pow, phone charger, and well... you get the idea.
Here are a few ideas to help you keep your kitchen attractive yet functional.
Remove junk and clutter
As the social center of the house, kitchens are catch-alls for school books, correspondence, and other items that have nothing to do with cooking. Make a place in your mudroom or entry for kids to dump their coats and backpacks. Make a habit of putting mail in the office.
Store rarely used equipment
Which appliances do you use the most? Chances are it's not the ice cream maker, breadmaker or heavy mixer. Pare down what you tend to use least, and store those appliances somewhere else, such as a butler's pantry, food pantry or garage.
Build an appliance garage
Many cabinet makers offer an appliance garage that can be closed when not in use. You can also customize an appliance garage to extend the length of the counter.
Consolidate your beverage area
The at-home coffee bar in the breakfast room is a great way to get coffee, tea, grinders away from the food preparation areas. Sugar, creamer, and lemons can be stored nearby in a refrigerator drawer.
Update your equipment
Make new appliances do double duty. If you have to buy a microwave, get one that's also a convection oven. The new commercial-grade mixers also make pasta and knead bread.
Mount what you can
Under cabinet mounting is easy to do and frees up counter-tops near the sink. Paper towel racks, electric can openers, and task lighting can all be mounted under the cabinets to free up space. Dishrags, sponges and other odor attractions should be housed in caddies attached to the door under the sink for easy access.
Invest in organizers
Deep cabinets are difficult to find items all the way in the back, but a rolling tray makes them accessible. Corners also can be better utilized with swing out organizers. Most carpenters, handymen, or do-it-yourselfers can easily install after-market organizers such as spice racks from Lowe's, the Container Store and other places.
Keeping your countertops clutter-free doesn't have to be all work and no play. Let the kitchen's function inspire your décor. Hanging containers of vegetables, mounted pot racks, and bowls of fruit certainly cut down on clutter, but they also provide a lot of color and function.