Kitchens are often the busiest room in a home, and having enough storage space for all your cooking gadgets, dishes, and pantry items is key. If your kitchen feels disorganized and cluttered, it may be time to consider adding more storage. One great option to gain storage in a small footprint is hutch-style cabinets.
What are Hutch Cabinets?
A kitchen hutch, sometimes called a Welsh dresser, is a tall, upright cabinet with shelves inside and/or cupboards on the bottom. Hutches serve both form and function, providing storage solutions while acting as display units for dishes, collectibles, or decorative items.
Hutch cabinets have been around for centuries and remain a popular storage and display furniture piece today. Modern hutches are available in a vast array of sizes, finishes, and configurations to work in any kitchen aesthetic.
Key Features and Benefits of Hutch Cabinets
Here are some of the best features and benefits hutch-style cabinets offer:
- Maximized vertical storage: Hutches make the most of vertical wall space, giving you storage opportunities that regular wall cabinets don’t provide.
- Display and decoration: The shelving area allows you to elegantly display dishes, mugs, bakeware, and other decorative kitchen items. Glass doors on hutch cabinets keep items free of dust.
- Extra pantry storage: Hutches often have enclosed cabinets on the bottom, offering concealed storage for food items or small appliances.
- Visual interest: Incorporating a hutch breaks up wall expanses and adds architectural detail. Hutches are available in a variety of designs, from minimalist to ornate.
- Flexible placement: Hutches can be purchased as standalone pieces or incorporated into kitchen cabinetry design. They are commonly placed near dining areas but also work along any kitchen wall.
Hutch Cabinet Designs and Styles
Hutch cabinets now come in a spectrum of styles, ranging from traditional to contemporary. Consider where a hutch will be placed and what look you hope it will achieve. Here are some popular hutch design styles:
Traditional Hutch Design
Traditional hutches have an old-world feel with intricate detailing. Materials like solid wood, carved accents, and crown molding are typical. Glass doors show off display contents while protecting them. Scalloped, curved, or raised panel doors add classic detail. Traditional hutches work well in kitchens with traditional, country, or farmhouse vibes.
Modern and Contemporary Hutch
Clean lines, recessed panel doors, metals, and glass give modern hutches their sleek look. Streamlined hardware and minimal ornamentation provide visual interest. Contemporary hutches often have open shelving rather than doors. They integrate seamlessly into contemporary kitchens.
Rustic or Farmhouse Hutch
Rustic hutches incorporate worn, natural wood finishes, visible wood grains, and hardware like wrought iron for a casual feel. Unlined shelves and exposed edges give a handcrafted look. Painted hutches in chippy white or cream work for French country style. Distressed rustic hutches suit farmhouse kitchens.
Cottage hutches feature painted, distressed wood in light hues like robin’s egg blue or buttery yellow. Quaint hardware, display lighting, and glass door fronts maintain the delicate cottage aesthetic. Worn edges and decorative accents like scallops or curves add character.
Kitchen Island Hutches
For larger kitchens, hutches are being integrated into island designs. Open shelf hutches maximize display space. Enclosed base cabinets provide concealed storage. Island hutches are great for casual dining areas.
Ideas for Hutch Storage Solutions
Deciding what to store in a new hutch cabinet? Here are smart ideas for hutch organization:
Display Glassware and Serveware
The glass doors and shelves of hutches make them ideal for showing off glassware, ceramics, and serveware. Group items by color and style for an artful arrangement. Place frequently used mugs and glasses within easy reach.
Store Small Appliances
Hutch interiors often have adjustable shelves to accommodate small appliances. Coffee makers, stand mixers, blenders, and toasters can be neatly arranged and plugged in nearby. Appliances will be protected from dust and grease splatter.
Organize Pantry Items
Hutches with cabinets or drawers are great pantry storage additions. Use them for snacks, baking ingredients, spices, canned goods, or packaged foods. Add pull-out trays or risers for optimized space.
Show Off Decor
Display your loveliest kitchen decor in a hutch. Vintage cake stands, cookbooks, floral bowls, or ceramic chickens look right at home. Arrange items sparsely against the back wall of cabinet shelves.
Corral Kids’ Art Supplies
Give kids a dedicated craft zone using a hutch in a casual dining spot. Corral markers, glue, scissors, paper, and paints inside, then proudly exhibit their masterpieces up top.
Store Liquor and Barware
For lovers of the at-home happy hour, use a hutch to store spirits, glassware, and bar tools. Built-in lighting illuminates what’s inside. Extra shelving provides space for garnishes and cocktail recipe books.
Hutch Placement Tips and Tricks
Hutches provide storage and display opportunities anywhere you install them. Follow these tips for ideal hutch placement:
- Near dining areas or eat-in kitchens, hutches allow easy access to serveware and glassware. They also enable decor displays to be viewed up close.
- In small or galley kitchens, a hutch maximizes vertical storage at the end of a row of lower cabinetry. Opt for a narrower depth.
- Along the back kitchen wall, a hutch introduces eye-catching architectural detail. Floating shelf hutches work here.
- On the back of a kitchen island parallel to windows or lighting, contents are shown off and illuminated well.
- Near pantries, hutches augment existing storage with open shelves for cookbooks or closed cabinets for overflow items.
- In craft rooms, office spaces, laundry rooms, and other non-kitchen areas, hutches provide organization options with built-in style.
Hutch Installation: Build Into Cabinetry or Freestanding
Purchasing a hutch is just the first step – deciding how to install it comes next. Hutches can either be:
Integrated into Existing Cabinetry
Having a hutch custom-built directly into kitchen cabinetry streamlines the look for a built-in feel. Your cabinet designer will incorporate the hutch into the cabinet plan. Pros are a seamless aesthetic and maximal storage. The con is higher cost.
Freestanding hutches simply sit against the wall as standalone pieces, not attached to other cabinets. Pros are easier installation, ability to move the piece later, and lower cost. Cons are potential to look cluttered and less storage capacity.
Factors To Consider When Shopping for a Hutch
Ready to purchase a hutch for your kitchen? As you shop, consider these factors:
- Kitchen style – Select a hutch that coordinates with your existing kitchen cabinets and architecture.
- Placement – Measure the intended installation spot to ensure the hutch will fit with room to open the doors.
- Depth – Standard depth is 12 to 15 inches, but slimmer depths are available for tight spaces.
- Interior fittings – Look for adjustable shelves, interior lighting, and other functional fittings.
- Size and storage needs – Calculate how much display and concealed storage space you require.
- Quality – Solid hardwood offers lasting quality. Dovetail joinery adds integrity to the cabinet boxes.
- Finish – Most popular are painted, stained, white washed, and natural wood tones. Select a finish suiting your style.
Hutch Storage Solutions: Creatively Gain Space
Clever homeowners come up with inventive ways to utilize hutch storage and display space. If you’re looking to maximize every inch, consider these creative hutch storage solutions:
Use Glass Door Fronts to Double Display Space
The glass fronts of enclosed hutch cabinets can creatively give you two layers of display. Try displaying decorative plates within the cabinet while filling the shelves on top with everyday dishware. The glass allows you to see both collections.
Incorporate Pull-Out Shelving for Hidden Storage
Pull-out shelving is a great way to optimize hutch interior storage. Shallow pull-out trays allow you to neatly arrange spices, packets, or cans that would otherwise waste space. Deeper pull-outs store bulkier items out of sight.
Utilize Vertical Dividers for Small Items
Vertical dividers transform a hutch’s boxed interior into organized segmented storage. Narrow dividers corral spice bottles, drinking glasses, or condiment jars. Wider dividers create zones for baking pans, cutting boards, or plastic storage bins.
Add Removable Shelving for Adjustable Space
Opt for a hutch with removable shelving to reconfigure interior storage as needed. As your collections grow and change, shelves can be removed or added to adapt. Minimum shelf spacing is key for flexibility.
Incorporate Tiered Displays for Double Duty
Acrylic risers allow you to tier displays and gain storage surface on a shelf. Try stacking plates on a lower riser to display them prominently. Use upper shelf space for mugs, cookbooks, or baskets.
Hutch Storage FAQs
Here are answers to some frequently asked questions about getting the most from hutch organization and storage:
What are some hutch interior storage tips?
- Use shelf risers or dividers to create neat storage zones for similar items. Label zones for ease.
- Place frequently used items at the front within easy reach. Reserve rear shelving for occasional use or display items.
- Measure items like appliances before buying to ensure they’ll fit in the hutch’s shelf height and depth.
- Opt for pull-out trays or shelves to allow you to access items in the back without emptying everything in front.
How do I incorporate extra lighting in a hutch?
Many hutches come with interior lighting, but portable options can be added:
- Battery operated puck lights attach magnetically inside to spotlight parts of the cabinet.
- Adjustable clip-on lights attach to shelves, useful for illuminating lower levels only.
- Outlets placed inside the cabinet allow you to plug in strip lighting anywhere desired.
What items should be avoided or placed with care on hutch shelves?
- Heavy items like cast iron pans or brick-a-brack can make shelving sag over time. Place larger items down below.
- Quick grabs like mugs are best kept on sturdy wooden shelves rather than delicate glass shelves prone to chipping.
- Greasy cooking splatter will soil and stain hutch interiors. Avoid storing appliances that use oil, like air fryers.
How can you make a hutch kid-friendly for use and display?
- Use unbreakable melamine dinnerware perfect for little hands.
- Install Plexiglas or shatterproof shelf lining to prevent damage.
- Corral art supplies in organizer bins; replace glass doors with unbreakable acrylic or mesh doors.
- Display prized artwork and rotating fridge masterpieces up top for whole family admiration.
Style Your Hutch Display Like an Expert
The right styling transforms a hutch from basic storage to an eye-catching focal point. Follow these professional display tips:
- Edit first – Remove everything and curate just your favorite, most visually appealing items for display. Less is more.
- Group by color – Placing like-colored items together results in a cohesive, artistic arrangement. Alternate cool and warm tones.
- Vary heights – Create visual interest by mixing tall and short items in groupings. Top a stack of plates with a tall vase.
- Add natural elements – Soft greenery, wood rounds, or dried botanicals contrast nicely with dishware.
- Include books – Stacked cookbooks add height and color while filling awkward gaps. Include them thematically or by color.
- Light it up – Accent lighting or natural light ensures contents get shown off. Shut off overhead lights to avoid glare.
- Refresh seasonally – Rotate bisque Christmas tins with white ceramic eggs come spring for a quick seasonal update.
Hutch Alternatives: When a Hutch Just Won’t Work
While hutches offer great storage solutions, they aren’t right for every kitchen. In certain situations, consider these hutch alternatives instead:
The problem: Hutches protrude from the wall, eating up valuable floor space.
The solution: Opt for full-height wall cabinets that maximize vertical storage flush to the walls. Remove upper cabinets to open the space visually if needed.
The problem: Standard hutches are around 6 feet tall; low ceilings will require a custom (costly) fit.
The solution: Choose a short console cabinet instead with an attractive top to decorate. Slimmer depths work well.
small wall space
The problem: Your wall isn’t wide enough to accommodate a typical 30-36 inch hutch.
The solution: Consider more narrow hutch sizes, around 24 inches wide. Or opt for floating wall shelves.
The problem: Hutches can be an expensive investment, especially for custom work.
The solution: Seek out DIY plans to create your own budget hutch with new or salvaged materials. Or watch for quality resale pieces.
mobile flexibility needed
The problem: Built-in hutches can’t be moved if you remodel cabinets or move homes.
The solution: Choose a freestanding hutch that can easily come with you to the next kitchen.
Hutch cabinets remain a versatile storage and display piece, as useful today as they were centuries ago. With such variety available, there is a hutch style to suit any kitchen’s form and function needs. Hutches create organization solutions for dishes, décor, pantry overflow, and more while providing architectural detail. Place your hutch creatively to build in specialized storage for glassware, appliances, craft supplies, or anything else needing a home. With an optimized hutch, you’ll gain storage and style.