In this post: You don’t have to completely renovate your kitchen to make it more functional. These 5 kitchen upgrades are things I do to keep my kitchen efficient.⇒
Do you ever find yourself running in circles when preparing a meal?
Third time around the island and you’re thinking, maybe this kitchen is not as efficient as it could be?
We’ve all heard of the kitchen triangle and storing things near where they’ll be used, but apart from basic storage, here are 5 things I do to keep my kitchen efficient.
Let me start by saying, when it comes to kitchen upgrades, you don’t have to gut your kitchen and do a complete remodel. If it needs that for other reasons, and you have the resources, have at it! But these 5 upgrades can be done to your kitchen even if you’re not doing a major renovation.
1. Glass front cabinets – when we re-did our kitchen (which you can see in THIS POST), we only refaced it and kept the old cabinets. In addition to painting them, we added glass fronts to many of the upper doors. Not only did this open up the look of the kitchen, but I love that it forces me to keep the cabinets neat. I think twice about keeping that one lone glass that the caterer left behind and I can always see where everything is. No more rummaging through cabinets to find things. I can see at glance where they are.
2. Uncluttered countertops – I am very intentional about leaving breathing space between the items rimming the counters. Not only does it look better, but it ensures your usable counter space is more functional. You need to be able to get to the outlets and have workspace to spread out on.
I like to use vintage pieces in practical ways. An enamel bread box which actually holds our bread. An old silver ice bucket as a utensil holder. Antique trays to hold oils and such. A silver tea caddy which stores… you guessed it… tea!
The island I keep free to work on and when not being used, it holds nothing more than fresh flowers.
Now, I will grant that if you have a tiny kitchen it’s harder to keep open wall space along your counters. But even then, it can be done in a smaller way. The key is to keep out only what is absolutely necessary and used every day.
3. Multi task lighting – I like a lot of light. I mean A LOT. At any given time, my house can be lit up like daylight because I really like it light. And nowhere is that more true than in the kitchen. You can’t be efficient at preparing a meal if you can’t see what you’re doing. So, in addition to high hats we have mini chandeliers over the island. When we first put them in, my husband said he needed sunglasses because the light was so brilliant!
The key here is to have multiple light sources controlled by different switches. Use under counter lighting if it will help, but there shouldn’t be dark corners in your kitchen if you use all the spaces.
Now, that said, we use dimmers too. Because once the meal is prepared, we do like the ability to set a more romantic mood. Various light sources can be turned off, while others can be dimmed.
The same goes for the eating area, where we have a vintage chandelier, as well as high hats. Both are on dimmers and this works great for us.
4. An organized refrigerator – As many of you know, I’m nuts about organization and I try to be certain that all of my cabinets and closets are perfectly in order. But the refrigerator warrants extra attention and I clean out my fridge every single week when I do my grocery list.
When we first re-did our kitchen a few years ago, we chose to keep the appliances in an effort to save money. But when the refrigerator stopped working, I welcomed the opportunity to select a model of my choice! I opted for what would look stylish in our newly renovated kitchen, but I was also driven by how I would organize things in that refrigerator.
*This post is sponsored by Samsung, but that decision was made purely by my own opinion and long before I met my sponsor.
I’m a compartment girl and I believe the key to organization is having designated areas for different things. I wanted varied shelves and deep door storage, as well. And the essence of my crazy system is keeping things in rows – a row of iced teas, a row of milk, a row of water, a row of juices. You get there idea. If someone puts juice in the iced tea row, you can be sure they’re going to hear about it! 🙂
I also store food in clear containers so you can see what’s in them and use before spoiling. It drives me batty whens someone puts away leftovers in the plate it was served on, covered with foil. Then I open the fridge to a sea of tin foil, with plates doing a balancing act piled precariously all over the place.
Nope. I need clear containers in neat rows.
(Btw, I intentionally chose to show you my actual fridge in its natural state with the door opened on any given day. Like many organizers, I could have decanted everything and lined up only rows of same-sized bottled waters, but that’s not how we genuinely keep things and hence it’s of no use to you.)
5. Easy to reach ice and water – If you’re going to get a new appliance, you may as well get one that will make your life easier. I use my ice and water makers all the time, as we love to entertain and it’s a wonderful convenience. I have a butler’s pantry that’s often set up for guests with an ice bucket and drinks, but 9 times out of 10, we just use the fridge in the kitchen.
It’s. so. much. easier.
There’s one more convenience of this Samsung fridge that makes my kitchen more efficient and it’s a feature I need to point out that I really love. The lower right section of the 4-door layout is a flex zone, meaning it can be switched from freezer to fridge and back again, depending on your need. This is awesome for holidays when early in the week I have more things frozen, but as the event gets close I need to move more into the fridge temp range. No more trips to the old basement fridge. I have the extra space right here in my kitchen!
It’s wonderful to have a brand new renovated kitchen, but even if that’s not in the cards, each of these points can be employed in an existing kitchen. Why be exasperated by the time guests arrive because your inefficient kitchen made it difficult to prepare to entertain? With a little planning and a few kitchen upgrades, you can be more relaxed and enjoy your guests.
And when it’s time to clean up, just hope hubby (or whomever is helping) doesn’t make mountains of tinfoil in the fridge!
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