They can add charm, provide specialized storage and give you a little more room. Meet the built-in, savior of kitchens large and small.
You know the drill: If something sounds too good to be true, it probably is. So if someone were to tell you that there was a way to add extra space and more storage to your kitchen, you’d naturally take this assertion with a healthy dose of skepticism. But this is one case in which the good thing actually is true — built-ins (think specialized cabinets, shelves, even benches and tables) can free up room in the kitchen by making use of space that would otherwise go to waste. Read on to discover some of our favorite ideas for incorporating built-ins into your kitchen.
1. CABINETS (see photos on page 21). It’s a given that the kitchen you’re building will have cabinets — what’s not so certain, though, is how exactly you’ll fill them. While this might seem like the perfect task to put off until moving day, the reality is that figuring out how you’d like to use your cabinet space now will help you design a more organized kitchen. Many cabinet manufacturers now offer specialty items such as corner cabinets and pull-outs in their standard product lines, so be sure to do plenty of shopping around to find options that work with your lifestyle. Specialty cabinets are also a great way to make use of space that would otherwise go to waste — one of the most popular ways to do this is to squeeze long, narrow cabinets designed to hold things like brooms and spices in the nooks between appliances and traditional cabinetry.
2. PANTRY. Just like cabinets, a pantry is a kitchen essential — a must-have space for storing food and other dry goods. But what if you don’t have room in your kitchen for the walk-in pantry of your dreams? A slightly recessed wall often can provide you with plenty of pantry space. (Recesses as small as 5 inches are still plenty wide enough to hold rows of cans, spices and boxed goods.) Again, decide how you’d like to use the space before you begin designing it so you can outfit your pantry with specialized features such as deep drawers, hanging baskets and pull-out shelves, all of which can help keep you organized by providing item-specific storage zones.
3. SHELVES. Because they don’t have doors to hide behind, kitchen shelves often end up becoming something of a display space, so take this into consideration when building them into your design. Of course, the lack of doors also gives shelves another bonus: easy access. You’ll want to keep both of these factors in mind when deciding where to place shelves in your kitchen. For instance, a small cubby near your stove designed to hold cookbooks is handy when you need to look up recipes, and the books’ spines will add a nice pop of color. In the same vein, open shelving or a plate rack above an island or bar allows you to show off your china and stemware while providing convenient access for serving.