The kitchen is where almost everything happens, it’s the social heart of the home, so it’s bound to get a bit messy and disorganised every now and then. And that’s ok – my kitchen wasn’t designed as a show home – but a few clever storage solutions and simple space-saving tricks can help you use the space more efficiently, and more importantly, savour and enjoy cooking without having to worry where things are. Some of the ideas shared here are simple and easy to achieve, such as making the most of a small space so its easier to prepare meals, sprucing up tired cupboards with some neat organisation, or simply adding a few fresh touches to brighten up a space and inspire you to fall back in love with your kitchen.
These VEDDINGE grey units may look minimal and smart from the outside, but they’re working hard on the inside to keep the kitchen tidy and uncluttered. I’m a minimalist at heart but a minimalist who likes things around me – I love collecting postcards from exhibitions, I have an old French road sign I picked up at an antique market in the living room, and I only really need one coffee cup but have dozens, all of which I can’t bare to part with – each thing tells a story or is a reminder of a trip abroad.
My solution has always been to hide things away in cupboards and have the nicest things on show. But, with a new kitchen to start afresh with, I was keen to make the most of the space I have. Simple things like storing food in transparent kilner jars to encourage us to cook with what we have, instead of going out and buying more, discovering we have three packs of basmati rice at the back of the cupboard. Utilising the space above the cupboards for the things we use less often and putting in drawer inserts to divide pots from lids and plates from bowls, so items are easy to take out and put back again. Finding a solution for the perennial problem of spice jars, so you can always find the one you’re looking for without having to take everything out of the cupboard. Organising rubbish and recycling bins so they’re not an eyesore cluttering up a corner of the kitchen.
With this kitchen everything has its place – it’s designed to reflect how we use the space and cook together. It’s all about customising the kitchen just for you, to create an inviting space that inspires and makes everyday life that little bit more enjoyable.
Here are some simple ideas I’ve implemented into my own kitchen using some of IKEA’s smart storage solutions above…
Worktop lighting and power outlets
Lighting can make or break a kitchen. Bad lighting can make a space feel unwelcoming, dark and dingy, not to mention not being able to see what you’re cooking or preparing. Good lighting can transform a space, brighten and open it up, while ideally being adaptable depending on how the space is used during the day and evening. We have ceiling LED lights in the kitchen for overall light, pendant lights over the dining table and worktop lights below the kitchen units.
The UTRUSTA LED worktop light is a very clever tool for the kitchen. Not only does it light up workspaces for cooking and food prep, it can be connected to a plug socket with a USB port so you can plug in your appliances and charge your phone too. The lights are dimmable in two steps using a portable remote control. The light comes in three different sizes meaning several Utrusta lights and plugs can be connected together in a line to build a discrete lighting system under the units. This really worked for us because it meant that the clean lines of the beautiful white metro tiles didn’t have to be ruined by ugly, bulky plug switches on the splash back.
Each light also has three little hooks, which are perfect for keeping favourite utensils close to hand or hanging drying herbs. It allowed us to personalise the space a little and add some detail and texture to the minimal grey units.
Utilising your sink space
With just one wall of kitchen units, we don’t actually have much worktop space. It means we need to really utilise the surface smartly so things don’t get too cluttered while we’re cooking or using the space throughout the day. The sink is naturally where most of the kitchen prep begins so why not take a closer look at that space and make it work a little harder for you?
The GRUNDVATTNET collection of sink accessories is designed to aid the daily routine of cooking and cleaning and make your workflow more efficient, saving you time, water and effort. Containers and inserts can be used to divide up the sink for different tasks. A colander can balance over the sink to wash fruit and veg, or to drain washing up at the end of a meal. A small square container can separate ingredients, or be used to store washing up liquid, sponges and scrubbing brushes. A chopping board can be slid over the sink to create an extra bit of workspace for chopping food. It can even be used to hide unsightly dirty dishes when you don’t have time to do them and want to give the illusion of order to dinner guests!
Unsightly rubbish bins and umpteen different (often overflowing) boxes for recycling can really ruin the look and feel of a kitchen. I couldn’t wait to get rid of my pedal bin and install some bins in the space under the kitchen sink. IKEA’s VARIERA/UTRUSTA waste sorting system can be installed in cupboards and pulled out for quick, easy access. Various sized compartments mean rubbish can be separated and organised, depending if its food waste or recycling. Simple and clever.
There’s nothing quite more satisfying than a tidy kitchen drawer. Choose what you truly treasure and really need, and organise according to how often you use it. Drawer inserts help arrange utensils, while dividers separate pots from pan and maximise space. These VARIERA inserts for spices are a revelation for me, I used to have all my spice jars mixed up in the cupboard, I could never see what I was looking for and half of them ended up unused at the back of the cupboard. Now I can see them all clearly and can quickly take them out of the drawer and use them while I’m cooking. The inserts have grey wiggly lines to grip the jars so they don’t rattle around in the drawer.
The RÅSKOG trolley is also a handy addition to any kitchen. On four wheels, it can be moved around to wherever is needed. I stock mine up with essentials like oils and condiments, coffee cups, napkins and cookery books. It could also work as a bar cart or bathroom trolley, in fact, I think I need one in every room now!
I hope those storage solutions and details have given you some inspiration for your own kitchen. Even if you’re not going through a complete makeover project, there’s easy ideas to take away, whether it’s giving your kitchen a new lease of life with smart lighting, adding an add-on workstation or wheeled trolley for favourite implements, or going through your drawers and arranging them again for a little peace of mind. Even just having a spring clean and spruce up can make the world of difference and help you see your kitchen again in a new light. Most of all, I think it shouldn’t feel like a chore, but rather a few simple ways to give your kitchen daily joy.