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Make Your Cabinetry Work For You

People usually spend a huge amount of time in their kitchens – eating breakfast, prepping lunches, sharing drinks with friends, baking with kids, making dinner. Not to mention the less fun things like doing dishes and cleaning (boo to those).

Over the years, I’ve learned that an efficient kitchen is the best kitchen, and there are a few things that I LOVE to incorporate in my kitchen designs.

First, I really love drawers in a kitchen. They are so much more effective than lower cabinets because you can access the full range of space. I think some people worry whether their stuff will fit in drawers, and I have two things to say to that. First, yes. You can actually often fit more things in drawers because you are accessing all the way to the back and you have 2-3 levels, so to speak, vs. a lower cabinet that has one, cavernous opening (sometimes with a shelf, but usually that’s still so unhelpful). The second thing is that I highly recommend taking your cabinet scheme (before the cabinets are built) and notating where all of your kitchen items will go. This will help you see if you need additional storage, different solutions, or if everything is just right!

I’ve talked about my love of kitchen islands before. Whenever I can fit them in, I do! I just think a lot of life happens around a kitchen island. Plus, it can provide so much extra counter space. You can incorporate so many useful utility drawers or storage solutions in an island – trash can drawers, sinks, two-sided storage, microwaves, etc. The possibilities are endless.

For the rest of the kitchen, here are a few of my favorite “utility drawers” to incorporate…

A spice drawer! I almost always put in a tall spice drawer like this one.

It provides a lot of space, and quite frankly, sometimes it’s helpful to have an 8”-12” “spacer” when planning the cabinet scheme. This works best, in my opinion, next to the stove for easy access when cooking.

On the other side of the stove, I like to put a cooking utensil drawer like this one. Not only can you store ALL THE THINGS, but it gets it off your countertop for a cleaner look which I’m always a fan of.

Another fun utility drawer is one for baking pans and cutting boards. This drawer is so handy for easy access to all those pans! Sometime this works to put dividers into an upper cabinet, as well (above a built-in oven, for instance). I’ve seen people put dividers into lower cabinets, but I don’t like that as much as a drawer since you still have to bend down and sometimes look deep into the cabinet. Whereas, with a drawer, you just open it and can instantly see everything.

And finally, one of my all-time favorite things to incorporate into a kitchen is this appliance closet. All the appliances stored in one dedicated place – be still my heart! With pull-out shelves, it makes it so easy to access both the big and small appliances.

Of course, all of this has to be done with new cabinets and can be done a couple ways. One, your cabinet maker can build these elements in like the pictures shown here. The other way is to take advantage of companies like Rev-a-Shelf. Their inserts can be bought at Home Depot, Amazon, and tons of other places. Your cabinet maker should be familiar with them. I guess a third way to do it could be something like Ikea cabinets (which are actually great quality compared to other Ikea products) that have all kinds of customizable options. And if you go that route and haven’t heard of Semihandmade, you should totally look into it to make your cabinets beautiful and custom-looking. (These aren't affiliate links, they're just companies I like.)

So, if you’re investing in all-new cabinetry, think through how you use your kitchen and ways you can make if more effective. These fun utility drawers are some of my favorite design features in our kitchen and ones I’ll definitely be replicating in our new build.

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