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Your top tips for practical kitchen design

Have you been dreaming about a kitchen renovation? Or are you about to embark on a kitchen remodel? If you’ve answered yes, lucky you! Read on for top tips to ensure your kitchen is the ultimate in practical kitchen design. Beautiful. Organised. Functional.

That was me a year ago (well actually, the dreaming went on for a lot longer than that!).

This was my first ‘new kitchen‘ and I am forever grateful for the advice I’m sharing below with you. Although we hired a kitchen designer, she would not have included this depth of personal planning in the design. Seriously, this advice led to my cupboards and pantry being the ultimate in organisation. I now have a kitchen that has storage that works for me.

Here is the long promised photos of what’s behind the shaker doors and drawers in my beautiful new kitchen.

As I mentioned before, this is the first time I’ve done a kitchen reno (still pinch myself that I got to do one!!).  I am forever grateful to my dear friend Delia, an organiser extraordinaire, who shared a couple of secrets with me, that was the best advice I could have received, as we designed and planned the new kitchen. And today I’m sharing these top tips with you.

It did mean a little extra work in the planning stage, but that time has been returned to me tenfold (and more), by the total functionality of my kitchen.

What I am most proud of, is not that my kitchen looks beautiful (at least to me!), but that it functions so well.  We’re a busy family, and we use the kitchen a LOT.  It’s been a little over a year now since it was installed, and there’s nothing I would change.

My kitchen remodeled

I used to sit at my kitchen table, staring off into space, dreaming about what I’d do to change the kitchen.  Seriously, several times my boys would ask what the heck I was doing.

Now I sit at my kitchen table, and stare at my beautiful kitchen, and still want to pinch myself that it’s done, and it’s mine, and it’s real.

Top tips for beautiful organisation in your kitchen

So without further ado, here’s the one piece of advice that made the biggest difference.

Delia told me to itemise everything in my kitchen that I wanted to keep, and then when planning my new kitchen, make sure I had a place to put it.  

Like literally.

Now I know you’re probably reading that super fast, and you’re thinking ‘what’ …. , that’s your magic piece of advice?!!

But slow down, and really think about it. 

Everything that I have, and use in my kitchen, has a home. And it’s a home that was sized just for it.   And it’s in a place that makes sense for it.

Before, I had the sandwich press, and the crockpot, in the living room armoire.

The beater, extra food, ice cream maker etc were in the hall cupboard.

And the extra plates, bowls, cutlery and crystal punch bowl (my grandfathers), were all in the spare room cupboard.

Do you see the picture here?  My kitchen before was pretty.  It was pretty, ….. and small, ….. and dysfunctional. 

Some people asked me why I would change such a beautiful kitchen.

It was beautiful.  But they didn’t have to cook in it. And of course, they weren’t seeing all the kitchen items stored throughout the rest of the house.

Can you relate?

Now I have a dream kitchen, that functions.

And all because, every cupboard, and every drawer, was perfectly planned to house all our essentials, and all my ‘toys’.  

Let me show you around, so you can understand exactly what I’m saying, and how this could help you as you design your own kitchen.

Set the heights of your drawers to suit what goes in them

Let’s start with the cupboard on the left. This is a full height cupboard, with two doors. The lower section has two drawers, whose height was designed to fit some key kitchen applicances.

See how drawer height helps for a practical kitchen design

Can you see the sandwich press and crockpot in the bottom drawer. Of course they fit perfectly (it was planned that way). You would not believe how often we now use the sandwich press, because it’s so accessible.

The other thing that’s important to understand here, is that both these items are heavy. As they’re in pull out drawers, it’s much easier and more ergonomic to just lift them out. You wouldn’t achieve this if they were on a shelf. Just saying.

See my egg beater – it was rehomed from my hall cupboard, and my woks also now have an easy accessible home.

But wait, there’s more.

Another example of drawer height for a practical kitchen design

The two drawers above these are my pantry stocks. NOT my pantry (I’ll show you that later), but extra stock. And again, these drawers were designed at their heights and types for a reason.

The first lower drawer, is for small cans, sachets, little packets of things. You’ll note the drawer itself has short sides.

The next drawer up was designed to take taller items. I made sure it would fit the height of wine bottles, spagetti packets etc. (Note the spag packet back left – there’s plenty of height for it). I also put the cans at the front, where I can see what they are easily. As a pull out drawer, it’s easy also to access and see any part of it. (All of these drawers use Blum internal cabinetry.)

Consider carefully what you own and use regularly

OK, let’s move on up the cupboard.

Can you see the file rack sorter?  It keeps all the baking trays etc standing, and accessible.

Here’s where itemising and sizing everything we have and use really came in handy. It might be hard to see, but there’s a pizza stone and large pizza tray in the little area on the right. The pizza stone is heavy, and large. That’s why I created the little divider to house these items. It had to be this tall, and it needed to be strong enough to hold the stone up. It’s no good having a stone sitting down, because of course, you’d be putting things on top of it, and then you’d never use it. This is perfect!

To the left of this, are my baking trays. Yes, I have a lot, but I do use them all. Muffin tins, brownie tins, baking trays all sit in here. Now, you could have these organised with more dividers like above, but, they are quite wide, so would then limit your space. And, dividers like so by your kitchen company don’t always come cheap.

So here’s my secret hack!

Ready?

I put a file rack sorter in there. Really! Look closely and you’ll see it. It’s light, it was cheap, and it holds all my trays perfectly. Winner winner! You heard it here first. 😊 (Just make sure the width fits your spot before you order it.)

Lastly, the top shelf. This is quite high up, so you don’t want to be putting anything you use a lot up here. Nor anything heavy. So for me, this was perfect for my super large stock pot. And my lovely large tray (see it on the left) which is actually one of those super light ones made to look like it’s old and heavy.

OK, ready to move on to my next winner?

Water / sports bottle organisation

We’re a sporty family, and actually, these days, whether you are or not, I’d be hoping you utilise drink bottles instead of buying plastic bottles. You do right? (And if not, please change, our world needs less plastic, and this is an easy way to do your part.)

So, we have lived a long time with drink bottles anywhere and everywhere in our kitchen.

Many people have a little pull out drawer next to their oven for their oils and things.

Guess what? I do too!

Pull out drawers for your oils etc are another feature of a practical, functional kitchen

But, my genius idea, was to replicate this on the other side of my oven (nice balance!), for our sports bottles.

Et voila!

Pull out drawers are a genius addition for storing sports and water bottles.  Just another thing that adds to your practical kitchen design.

Genius huh?!!

Maximise space while keeping your aesthetics

Next, we’re heading into how to maximise space, while keeping your kitchen aesthetics.

You need big drawers in your kitchen design, rather than a whole lot of little drawers. If you did this, it’d start looking really bitsy. See in the photo above, you’ll see under the counter top, I have one slim drawer and two deep drawers.

So this looks much better, but having so many deep drawers may not be necessary or totally functional in your kitchen. It’s great for pots and pans, but for some of your smaller items, that height can be a huge waste of space.

Well – guess what – you can have ‘secret drawers’. These are drawers that sit within drawers, and a few of these in your kitchen (depending on what you have to go in them), can make a world of difference. Three of my deep drawers have ‘secret’ inner drawers within them.

'Secret' inner drawers help maintain design aesthetic, while maximising storage space in your practical kitchen design

Here’s an example. You could see these drawers in the photo two above, and now you see that open. You’ll see there’s another draw within it. This allows me to not have to stack everything on top of each other to maximise that space. Anything laid on a single level is a winner in terms of using it right?

So consider if this is something that can add to your functionality.

Utilise your kitchen island for storage

OK, lastly for today, I’m going to share the ‘front’ of my kitchen island. I have a beautiful big island, and I was not about to waste all that internal storage.

As you may have gathered by now, I do have a lot of kitchen paraphenalia. Dishes, trays, extra crockery etc. I won’t go on too much as the hubby may read this. 😂 But I think you get the picture.

So – as you look at my island, on the left we have seating for two barstools. On the right, I designed two drawers and a large cupboard.

I was hesitant about having a large modern island without an edge to hide the mess. We’re not the tidiest family, and some of us are not very good at putting things away. No names right! The top two drawers have been lifesavers. Everything that normally gathers in the kitchen, and gets left on the bench top, goes in the drawers. Think ipad, keys, chargers, note pad, pens etc etc. It has worked brilliantly.

Underneath here, is my SUPER cupboard. It houses all my rarely used platters, extra crockery, bowls etc. I made the middle shelf narrow in depth, to specifically house some heavy pieces, that I didn’t want to end up stacked.

The bottom shelf is actually a huge drawer, so I don’t mind stacking on here, as everything is very accessible when pulled out.

I’m still learning how much stuff I fit in here. Often when I’m wanting one of these items, I still head to the spare room to get it. Oh how nice it is that it’s no longer there.

So there you have it. A perfectly planned, organised and functional kitchen. It is possible. What do you think?

But where’s my pantry? Stay tuned, I’ll share that with you soon.

If you have any kitchen planning and organisation tips you’d like to share, I’d love to hear them.

Is there an idea that I’ve shared, that can help with your kitchen remodel design? Can you see that a little extra time spent pre-planning, can lead to the ultimate in practical kitchen design?

Please share what you’ve found most valuable here.

And pin the image below, so you can find this again when you most need to.

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4 Comments

  1. Ewen Sarah says:

    Thanks , I wish I had known someone like you that had done their kitchen that could have given me advise before I ordered mine

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