Spreading Out: 14 Ways to Get More Counter Space

Counter space. No matter how big the kitchen, you hardly ever hear anyone complaining that there's too much of it. Especially in a compact kitchen, clear counters are a precious commodity worth fighting for. Luckily, there are lots of smart storage ideas that can help you reclaim lost counter space. Here are 14 great solutions that are just begging to be a part of your kitchen expansion.

  1. Roll Me Away

    Rolling Kitchen Island

    If you're striving to save space, a rolling cart with a butcher-block top does double duty. Use the top for prep when you need it, and give dishes or other supplies a good home on the shelves underneath.


  2. Get Some Hang Time

    Hang Kitchen Utensils

    Most kitchen utensils have a notch on the handle, perfect for perching up high. This way, you can save your limited drawer space for something else.


  3. Climbing the Ceiling

    Pot Rack

    Similar to the elevated utensil concept, hanging your pots and pans from a ceiling-mounted rack keeps them nearby and easy to spot. Even better, the cabinet they used to occupy gets freed up, making room for items that used to live on your counter.


  4. Sink In

    Over Sink Cutting Board

    When you're chopping, you can't be washing, so why not use your kitchen sink as a prep area? Any cutting board slightly wider than your sink will do the trick.


  5. Slide Into Home

    Pull Out Cutting Board

    If you're lucky enough to be in the design stages, why not sneak a few pull-out surfaces into the mix? It's a great way to gain extra space that appears only when you need it.

    Related: Quick Tip—Budget Kitchen Remodeling


  6. Beyond the Block

    Magnetic Knife Strip

    Let's face it, traditional knife blocks are counter hogs. A simple solution is to store knives on the wall with a magnetic holder, but make sure you dry your knives thoroughly before storing and place them carefully on the strip.


  7. Top-Shelf Idea

    Kitchen Floating Shelves

    Open shelving—whether it's set on the backsplash, mounted on a painted wall, or even free-hanging from the ceiling—can greatly increase your kitchen storage capabilities. Although you'll want to choose eye-pleasing items to house there, the net result will be an increase in space down below.


  8. Trash It

    Garbage Bowl

    Made famous by Rachael Ray, the "garbage bowl" can help keep peels and trimmings under control as you cook. Scraps go in the bowl until they're all ready for the trash or composting, and the counters stay free of debris.

    Related: Bob Vila Radio—Kitchen Composting


  9. Another Way to Look At It

    Window Shelves

    Having a limited amount of kitchen real estate can inspire creative, and at times beautiful, solutions. Mounting a few shelves inside a window not only gains surface area for storage, but also captures a stunning backdrop for anything placed there.


  10. Island Idea

    Cookbook Shelves

    Make your kitchen island work a bit harder for you by adding shelves for books, or bars for hanging towels or utensils.

    Related: 12 Outstanding Kitchen Island Options


  11. Hole in the Wall

    Built-In Storage

    Even if your kitchen's footprint is small, you may uncover a treasure trove of storage possibilities between the studs. In many cases, reclaiming this hidden wall space requires remodeling only this one area instead of the whole kitchen.

    Related: Storage Where You Least Expected It—10 Sly Spots to Stash Your Stuff


  12. Corner Pocket

    Corner Counter Shelf

    Freestanding shelves like these from Beyond the Rack give you a clever, efficient way to use that often-neglected corner space.


  13. Have Your Cake and Eat It Too

    Salt and Pepper Storage

    Use a simple cake stand to hold high-use items like salt, pepper, and olive oil. If you need more room, you can easily transfer the stand to another spot in the kitchen.


  14. Jar Ingenuity

    Mason Jar Storage

    Ah, the all-purpose Mason jar. What a great idea: Affix the metal lids to the underside of a cabinet, and screw the jars on and off as you need them.

    Related: Storage Sanity—15 Ways to Make Your Pantry Functional and Fabulous


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