14 Clever Ways to Reclaim Lost Counter Space

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counter space solutions
Zillow DigsHanging utensils from hooks and using open shelving can greatly increase your kitchen's storage capacity.
By Tracy Anderson for BobVila.com

Counter space. No matter how big the kitchen, you hardly ever hear anyone complaining that there's too much of it. Especially in a compact kitchen, clear counters are a precious commodity worth fighting for. Luckily, there are lots of smart storage ideas that can help you reclaim lost counter space. Here are 14 great solutions that are just begging to be a part of your kitchen expansion.

Roll me away

If you're striving to save space, a rolling cart with a butcher-block top does double duty. Use the top for prep when you need it, and give dishes or other supplies a good home on the shelves underneath.

Get some hang time

Most kitchen utensils have a notch on the handle, perfect for perching up high. This way, you can save your limited drawer space for something else.

Source: Zillow Digs

Source: Zillow Digs

Climbing the ceiling

Similar to the elevated utensil concept, hanging your pots and pans from a ceiling-mounted rack keeps them nearby and easy to spot. Even better, the cabinet they used to occupy gets freed up, making room for items that used to live on your counter.

Sink in

When you're chopping, you can't be washing, so why not use your kitchen sink as a prep area? Any cutting board slightly wider than your sink will do the trick.

Slide into home

If you're lucky enough to be in the design stages, why not sneak a few pull-out surfaces into the mix? It's a great way to gain extra space that appears only when you need it.

Beyond the block

Let's face it, traditional knife blocks are counter hogs. A simple solution is to store knives on the wall with a magnetic holder, but make sure you dry your knives thoroughly before storing and place them carefully on the strip.

Top-shelf idea

Open shelving -- whether it's set on the backsplash, mounted on a painted wall, or even free-hanging from the ceiling -- can greatly increase your kitchen storage capabilities. Although you'll want to choose eye-pleasing items to house there, the net result will be an increase in space down below.

Trash it

Made famous by Rachael Ray, the "garbage bowl" can help keep peels and trimmings under control as you cook. Scraps go in the bowl until they're all ready for the trash or composting, and the counters stay free of debris.

Another way to look at it

Having a limited amount of kitchen real estate can inspire creative, and at times beautiful, solutions. Mounting a few shelves inside a window not only gains surface area for storage, but also captures a stunning backdrop for anything placed there.

Island idea

Make your kitchen island work a bit harder for you by adding shelves for books, or bars for hanging towels or utensils.

Hole in the wall

Even if your kitchen's footprint is small, you may uncover a treasure trove of storage possibilities between the studs. In many cases, reclaiming this hidden wall space requires remodeling only this one area instead of the whole kitchen.

Corner pocket

Freestanding shelves like these from Beyond the Rack give you a clever, efficient way to use that often-neglected corner space.

Have your cake and eat it too

Use a simple cake stand to hold high-use items like salt, pepper and olive oil. If you need more room, you can easily transfer the stand to another spot in the kitchen.

Jar ingenuity

Ah, the all-purpose Mason jar. What a great idea: Affix the metal lids to the underside of a cabinet, and screw the jars on and off as you need them.


Bob Vila is the home improvement expert widely known as host of TV's This Old House, Bob Vila's Home Again, and Bob Vila. Today, Bob continues his mission to help people upgrade their homes and improve their lives with advice online at BobVila.com. His video-rich site offers a full range of fresh, authoritative content - practical tips, inspirational ideas, and more than 1,000 videos from Bob Vila television.

Note: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinion or position of Zillow or AOL.

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