Having enough counter space in the kitchen is essential for cooking and preparing meals efficiently. However, many kitchens suffer from limited counter space, making it difficult to work comfortably. Thisarticle will provide helpful tips and clever solutions for gaining more usable counter area in your kitchen.

Assess What You Currently Have

The first step is to take stock of your current kitchen layout and identify unused or underutilized areas that could potentially become extra counter space.

  • Clear off countertops completely and remove everything from the surfaces. This gives you a blank slate to work with.
  • Look for corners, narrow spaces between appliances, walls, and the outer edges of the countertops that aren’t being fully utilized. These nooks and crannies can often be converted into usable space.
  • Check for areas where the counter is obstructed by a sink, stove, or other appliances. Consider ways you could gain space on the sides or backsplash area.
  • Look for taller cabinetry units that have empty space underneath that could accommodate pull-out shelving, drawers or baskets to hold items.
  • Inspect the walls for narrow spaces that could fit extra floating shelves or wire storage racks mounted vertically to hold spices, utensils and bakeware.

Clear the Clutter

De-cluttering your countertops and kitchen overall is key to freeing up valuable space. Be ruthless in cleaning out any unnecessary small appliances, decorative items, food containers, knives or utensils to make every inch count.

Sort and Toss

Go through everything and decide what you actually use on a regular basis. Toss or donate any superfluous items.

Store Efficiently

Use lidded bins, drawer organizers and storage containers to neatly corral cooking staples, baking supplies and other necessities. This streamlines the space.

Keep Only the Essentials

Limit countertop appliances and gadgets. Only keep out what you use daily, like a coffeemaker. Stash the rest in cabinets.

Install Multipurpose Racks

Install wall-mounted racks for paper towels, utensils and pots/pans. Mount a magnetic strip for knives. Get everything up off the counters.

Add Shelving

Install extra shelving inside existing cabinets to better organize supplies. Use shelf risers to double stacked items.

Optimize Storage Solutions

Introducing new storage elements is an excellent way to free up counter space. Look for ways to better utilize both vertical and horizontal space with specialized storage products.

Under Cabinet Organizers

Mount wire or rack storage units underneath upper cabinets to hold cooking oils, spices, condiments and other items.

Pull-Out Shelving

Install pull-out metal shelves or sliding drawers in lower cabinets near prep areas to access baking pans, cutting boards and mixing bowls.

Lazy Susans

Add lazy susans inside corner cabinets or anywhere items get stacked. Spinning turntable trays make everything easily accessible.

Drawer Dividers

Use cutlery inserts, compartment dividers and trays to divide utensil, gadget and food storage drawers into organized sections.

Vertical Towel Bars

Install vertical paper towel holders on sides of cabinets to free up counter space near appliances.

Pot Lid Racks

Wall-mounted pot lid racks or shelf racks double your storage and clear off the counters. Magnetic strips also hold lids neatly.

Get Creative with Extra Storage

In addition to traditional storage aids, also consider these clever DIY solutions for tucking away items and gaining a few extra square inches of counter space.

Inside Cabinet Doors

Affix sturdy wire mesh, hooks or bins to the inside of cabinet doors to hold cutting boards, cookie sheets and other flat items vertically.

Under Sink

Install pull-out drawers or stackable bins under the kitchen sink to better organize cleaning supplies. Use every inch.

Microwave Shelving

Add extra shelves inside your microwave when not in use. They can hold baking pans and cookie sheets.

End of Counters

Install s-hook racks for towels/pot holders on the end of a countertop or on side walls by a prep area to free up space.

Vertical Spice Storage

Use magnetic strips, wire mesh cubes or wall-mounted shelves to store spices vertically and clear off the counters.

Floating Shelves

Mount floating shelves above countertops or appliances to hold small jars, utensils and decor. Great for extra storage in tight spaces.

Refresh Countertops

A few simple upgrades to your existing countertops can also help expand the usable area.

Remove Backsplashes

Eliminating tiled backsplashes and drywalling the area creates a smooth, seamless transition from counters to wall. This allows you to scoot appliances back and utilize the newfound side space.

Replace with Deep Countertops

Swap out short, standard-depth countertops for deeper versions when renovating a kitchen. This adds inches of usable space along the front edge.

Add Portable Islands

Bring in a rolling metal cart or butcher block island to place near the counters when you need extra prep space. Stash it away when not in use.

Extend with Removable Cutting Boards

Cantilevered chopping boards or fold down cutting boards can attach to counter edges to temporarily extend the work surface.

Improvise Extra Work Surfaces

When you need to expand your food prep area, there are ways to improvise additional counter space throughout the kitchen:

Use Larger Appliances

Lay a cutting board across the top of a washing machine or dryer placed near the counters to create more workspace.

Tops of Small Appliances

Use the flat tops of microwave carts or tall cabinets as impromptu prep surfaces when needed.

Fold-Down Tables and Workboards

Mount fold down tables or wall-attached workboards that can be unfolded when you require more space.

Carts and Rolling Islands

Keep a stainless utility cart, baker’s rack or rolling kitchen island nearby to wheel into place for extra surface area.

Dining Tables and Bars

Utilize nearby kitchen tables, islands or bars as auxiliary food prep spaces. Spread out tasks over multiple surfaces.

Organize Appliances Efficiently

Make the most of the existing counter space you have by organizing appliances in ways that maximize usable surface area:

Align Along Back Walls

Line up appliances like the refrigerator, stove and dishwashers along the rear counter space against walls whenever possible. This is less disruptive to the work area than island placement.

Stack Small Appliances

Use vertical storage racks to stack small appliances like the toaster oven, coffee maker and blender together. This consolidates their footprints on the counters.

Place Near Outlets

Position appliances that need frequent plugging/unplugging, like mixers and electric knives, near outlets. Avoid cord clutter across counters.

Allow Clearance

Leave ample clearance behind and between appliances for maneuvering and opening doors. Clustering too tightly decreases accessibility.

Choose Compact Models

When replacing aging appliances, select more compact, space-saving models. Slimmer designs allow you to reclaim precious inches of counter space.

Add Functional Features

Consider incorporating some of these specialized functional elements that can help expand your usable counter area:

Split-Level Islands

A multi-tiered kitchen island with lower and higher surfaces creates more usable space overall. Good for prep tasks and dining.

Butcher Block Islands

A large butcher block island on casters can be moved around the kitchen as needed for food prep, then pushed aside to open up space.

Pull-Out Prep Tables

Custom pull-out worktops like cutting boards, fold down tables or stainless prep surfaces that slide out from base cabinetry maximize hidden real estate.

Extendable Countertops

Some custom countertops have hinged extensions that pull out or pop up to provide additional surface area when cooking and can be put away afterward.

Rearrangeable Modules

Modular countertop pieces on rollers with storage allow you to rearrange configurations based on differing prep needs. Reclaim space as you work.

Make Use of Vertical Space

In addition to clearing and better utilizing horizontal counters and surfaces, also tap into the vertical dimension in your kitchen.

Wall-Mounted Wine Glass Racks

Mounted wine glass storage racks clear items from taking up counter space. Good near a beverage center.

Vertical Spice Racks

Wall-mounted rails or shelves for spices utilize vertical real estate and eliminate clutter.

Pot Racks and Hanging Pans

Install ceiling-mounted pot racks and vertically affixed saucepan racks to hang bulky pans overhead and increase visibility.

Wall-Mounted Utensils and Tools

Get utensils, knives, measuring tools up off the counters by installing wall-mounted magnetic strips, bars and horizontal racks at arm level.

Overhead Storage Racks

Utilize overhead space by installing open wire racks above islands and peninsulas to store extra bowls, bakeware and other items.

High Shelving for Small Appliances

Place small appliances like the blender, toaster, mixer up on open shelving units mounted to the walls or tall cabinets. Keeps counters clear.

Streamline Food Storage and Prep

Being strategic with food storage and prep tasks also conserves precious counter space:

Store Food Efficiently

Keep cabinets organized with lazy susans, tiered racks and bins so items are easily accessible without cluttering up the counters.

Prep in Stages

Do any chopping, slicing, mixing and measuring of ingredients in batches ahead of time before cooking to minimize workspace required.

Consolidate Appliances

Reduce small appliance clutter by choosing multi-function models like stand mixers with attachments that replace other gadgets.

Transport Items When Cooking

Carry utensils, bowls and prep items with you when moving between counter and stovetop to avoid spreading out.

Limit Bakeware

Minimize bulky pans, cookie sheets and cooling racks left on counters by only keeping essentials. Stack and store the rest.

Clear as You Cook

Wash and immediately put away dirty dishes after using so they don’t pile up and steal precious space.


How much counter space do you need in a kitchen?

A good rule of thumb is to have at least 15-20 square feet of usable counter space in a kitchen. This allows adequate room for food prep tasks, appliances, and flexibility. If your kitchen has multiple cooks, add more square footage.

What are some space-saving tips for small kitchens?

Opt for narrower appliances, install pull-out shelving in cabinets, use wall-mounted storage, keep the counters cleared off, and utilize portable carts to help maximize every inch in a small kitchen with limited counters. Also extend surfaces by adding supplementary tables, fold-down workboards and butcher block islands on wheels.

Where should I put appliances in a small kitchen?

Locate appliances along the perimeter walls, edges and corners in a small kitchen to avoid obstructing the usable counter area. Stack smaller appliances vertically and position larger ones a few inches off the walls for accessibility. Avoid placing appliances on islands or peninsulas where possible.

What storage solutions maximize vertical space?

Pot racks, wall-mounted spice racks, vertical towel bars, pan hooks, ceiling-height open shelving and wall-mounted wine glass racks are excellent options for utilizing vertical space above kitchen counters and maximizing storage capacity without taking up valuable countertop real estate.

How do I add more counter space when preparing large meals?

Use nearby dining tables, kitchen islands, appliance tops or portable worktables and carts for extra surface area when prepping larger meals. Stagger food prep tasks across multiple makeshift workstations to gain more space as you cook. Roll away portable surfaces when finished.

How much space should I leave behind appliances on the counter?

Leave at least 3-6 inches of clearance behind kitchen appliances like refrigerators, dishwashers and ranges to allow for proper ventilation, utility access and ease of opening doors without collisions. Anything less restricts usage of the surrounding counters.


The kitchen can never have enough clear counter workspace. By creatively utilizing every inch of vertical and horizontal space with specialized storage solutions, portable carts, wall-mounted racks, appliance rearrangements and other innovations, you can overcome limited counters and ensure this coveted commodity is optimized for cooking and food preparation needs. Implementing even a couple of these smart tips can help youreclaim valuable square footage and keep counters optimally functional in the heart of your home. Get inspired imagining the possibilities, and roll up your sleeves to start carving out more usable counter territory throughout your kitchen.

Tuck and Roll: How to Get More Counter Space in Your Kitchen

Gaining additional counter space in your kitchen is an attainable goal with some clever planning and DIY solutions. Even the tightest kitchens can be optimized to free up those valuable extra inches for food prep and cooking needs. Follow these tips to start maximizing your existing counter potential:

Remove Clutter

The first step is eliminating clutter. Clear off everything from the counters except absolute necessities. Toss or relocate any non-essentials like decorative items. Organize contents of cabinets and drawers to make the best use of space. Proper storage keeps items off the counters.

Add Shelving

Take advantage of vertical real estate by installing extra shelving on walls, inside cabinets or under upper cabinets. Floating shelves and wall-mounted racks can hold spices, oils, utensils to clear counters.

Multi-Task Appliances

Save space by opting for appliances that serve multiple functions when possible. For example, the Instant Pot pressure cooker consolidates a rice cooker, slow cooker, steamer and more into one compact appliance.

Store Food Efficiently

Use storage containers, racks, turntables and bins to neatly organize inside cabinets so items are easily accessible. Prevent food boxes and jars from accumulating on counters.

Install Pull-Out Shelving

Add pull-out metal shelves or sliding drawers in lower cabinets near prep areas to access items. Pull-out surfaces maximize interior cabinet storage and minimize rummaging above.

Utilize Wall Space

Take everything off the counters and store on walls with mounted knife strips, paper towel holders, racks and spice shelves. This vertical storage opens up precious surface area.

Slim Appliance Footprints

When upgrading appliances, select space-saving models with smaller footprints that won’t dominate the counters. Measure carefully to allow adequate clearance.

Use Wall-Mounted Pot Racks

Get bulky pans and lids off the counters by installing overhead pot racks. Position them above islands or peninsulas to maximize visibility and access.

Add a Multi-Level Island

Islands with a raised eating bar, lower prep level and open shelving double the usable surface area. Roll up to any side for ample spac

Improvise Extra Surfaces

Make use of stove, fridge and washer tops when more counter space is needed for temporary food prep. Use nearby tables or portable carts as well.

Extend Existing Counters

Look for ways to modify your current counters to eke out more space. Removing backsplashes or swapping in deeper countertops expands usable area.

Organize Appliances Strategically

Maximize counter space by aligning appliances along back walls and allowing ample clearance between and behind. Stacking small appliances saves space too.

Add Functional Features

Incorporate pull-out cutting boards, hideaway work tables and other functional elements like lift-up or extendable counters. These maximize your existing footprint.


With a little creativity, it’s possible to carve out more usable counter space even in the most crowded kitchens. Take advantage of vertical storage options, compact appliances, multi-functional islands and other innovations to start liberating those valuable extra inches for food prep and cooking.

Maximize Cabinet Storage for a Clutter-Free Kitchen

Running out of cabinet space? Disorganized cabinets cluttering your counters? With some simple upgrades and smarter storage solutions, you can maximize every inch of existing cabinetry and keep kitchen items neatly tucked away.

Assess Your Storage Needs

Take stock of everything currently being stored in your kitchen cabinets and drawers. Remove all items and group together by category – dishes, glasses, baking pans, food containers etc. Purge anything you don’t use. Consider your household’s cooking and dining needs to determine the appropriate amounts to store efficiently.

Organize Interiors Strategically

Evaluate the interior configuration of your cabinets. Can the existing shelving be adjusted or additional shelves added? Are lazy susans, slide out trays or other organizational tools needed? Look for wasted vertical spaces that can accommodate extra stacked storage.

Upgrade With Functional Parts

Consider swapping out standard cabinet doors with ones that have storage built in, like spice racks, paper towel holders and stainless steel pegboards. Drawers can also be outfitted with customizable inserts, dividers and other tools to maximize inside space.

Take Advantage of Corner Cabinets

The “black hole” corner cabinet is prime real estate for adding functional turntables, multi-tiered shelving and pull out drawers that make blind corner spaces accessible. Useful for pots, pans and bulky items.

Utilize Interior Cabinet Door Space

Use vertical space inside cabinet doors by attaching sturdy shelves, mesh racks or bins to hold everything from cutting boards and trays to foil, plastic wrap and baking sheets upright and out of the way.

Repurpose Blind Drawers

Revive useless false drawers with a false front and convert them into working pull out storage. Just add shelves and hardware to transform dead space into usable storage.

Consider Shelves & Racks on Walls

In addition to interior cabinet upgrades, also utilize vertical wall space surrounding cabinets. Floating shelves and wall-mounted racks above counters provide additional storage real estate adjacent to existing cabinets.

Evaluate Under Sink Storage

The sink base cabinet offers prime storage opportunities. Install pull out drawers, rolling trays and waterproof organizing bins here to neatly corral cleaning supplies, sponges and trash bags.

Streamline Food Storage