Today we’re showing you how to maximize kitchen space with some kitchen storage improvements.
Our Improved Forever Kitchen
With any kitchen reno, there are some ‘must haves’ if you plan to stay long term – but storage is a biggie! In our last post, our kitchen was renovated with the intent of putting our house on the market. After deciding to stay, and living with the kitchen for a while, we got to work changing a few things to make it more liveable for us. Our kitchen is fairly small so storage is key. Our improved ‘forever’ kitchen was accomplished with three key features: better storage (pullouts and pot drawers), electrical placement and lighting. Electrical placement and lighting will be covered in a future post.
Maximize Kitchen Storage with Pullouts and Pot Drawers
Standard cabinets with doors are fine for reselling a house, but are not great when you have a lot of stuff to store. Who wants to kneel down and dig around a cupboard that’s so low to the ground? Not us! It’s hard to reach items in the back and a nuisance to move all the things that are stacked on top of the one thing you really need! Pullout shelves not only help organize kitchen items behind closed doors, but put everything within reach!
Since we weren’t sure if we were going to like pullouts as much as the pot drawers we had in our pre-reno kitchen, we only purchased enough to do a test run on the set of cabinets beside the dishwasher (and for the pantry).
Here is one of the pullouts; they’re pretty shallow.
We removed the shelves and installed these drawer glides.
The part circled below fits into a hole in the back of the pullout:
Here’s a closeup of the back of the pullout where it connects:
To install the pullout, the glides get fully extended, then the back goes in first.
The front of the glides then snap into the clips on the underside of the pullout (shown below):
Ensure that the front is properly connected by trying to lift the front. If it stays put, you’re good to go!
Then you can start loading things in.
Verdict on Pullouts For Kitchen Storage
After testing out the pullouts for a while, we decided that we weren’t fond of using them in the lower cabinets. Things kept getting knocked over because they were too shallow. We also didn’t like having to open things twice: the doors and then the pull-outs. We made the decision to replace the doors on the next set of lower cabinets with pot drawers instead, as you’ll see later.
Having said that, the one place we absolutely loved using pullouts was in the pantry.
Kitchen Storage – The Pantry
Like the first set of lower cabinets, we switched out the shelves for pull-outs. To install them, you have to plan ahead by gathering the items you want to store in the pantry. That’s so you’ll know exactly where to set the height of each pullout. We started by installing the bottom one and placing the items into it, leaving adequate space above the tallest item and marking the approximate height of the next one.
Now, perhaps there’s another way, but I developed a great little trick for installing the rest of the glides. For the next pullout, I inserted shelf pins closest to the height marked and temporarily reinstalled a stationary shelf. Since the shelf was level, I rested the glide hardware right on top of it while I marked the placement so we could drill (shown below). Easy peasy!
We continued in the same fashion until we reached the uppermost pullout.
The pullouts didn’t necessarily give us more storage space, but it sure was a convenience to be able to slide a shelf out to get to our canned goods and appliances at the very back! We would absolutely recommend pullouts for a pantry!
For the rest of the lower cabinets, we removed the doors and shelves. Then we installed two pot drawers in each section for a total of four new drawers.
With all the practice on the pullouts, the pot drawers were just as easy to install. They’re really just a deeper box with a drawer face on the front!
Coordinate the Hardware
We replaced the door knobs that were on the old doors with the matching cup handles that were already on the upper drawers. We debated about whether to centre the handles on the drawer additions, but ultimately decided to position them near the top.
The large, deep pot drawers we swapped out are just the ticket for storing pots and pans!
Finally Tons of Storage – Yay!
In the two wide drawers, we were able to store Hubs’ entire collection of Paderno cookware.
And no kitchen would be without a variety of non-stick pots and pans. Can you imagine what a mess this would be if we had to stack ALL OF THIS into a cupboard?
The pot drawers we added to the narrower bank of cupboards are great for storing glassware and a few other utensils.
You really can’t beat pot drawers for being able to easily retrieve items.
Inside the Drawers
Shallow drawers are perfect for storing spices. Don’t forget about drawer organizers for inside the drawers! Although our spice drawer already had an Ikea insert, it still looked disorganized (it suffered from ‘square peg/round hole’ syndrome).
In contrast, I designed and printed spice labels then transferred our spices to the same-sized round jars (again, from Ikea) which made a big difference. The lack of visual clutter really helps and keeps all our spices at our fingertips!
The Kitchen Storage Transformation
The next three photos will show the transition from before to during and finally after. Sadly, here’s how our kitchen looked before:
Here is the kitchen as were were about to get started on the pot drawers:
Overall, the upgraded kitchen is not only beautiful, but it’s super functional because of the addition of practical storage in the form of pullouts and pot drawers!
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Even we didn’t expect the plot twist at the end of our last post – when we decided to stay after our kitchen was specifically renovated to put it on the market. The improvements we made helped solidify our decision to stay! So if you’re selling your home, check out our tips on how to renovate a kitchen to sell.