The kitchen is the busiest area in our home. We all eat, cook and host to a certain extent, so we all spend many hours in our kitchens. The kitchen is also the most expensive furniture in the house. Therefore, a functional kitchen, where items are easily accessible and enough space is available to work on, is extremely important. It would have an impact on our quality of life and well being.

I completely remodeled my kitchen two years ago and I’m more than happy with the end result. I fell in love with my kitchen and thought I’d share ideas.

This blog discusses upgrades to an existing kitchen. In the next blog to come I’ll be writing about planning a new kitchen. How do I plan the perfect functional kitchen, so no upgrades will be required.

As a professional home organizer in San Jose California, I organize many old kitchens. Homes in this area, before it became the famous Silicon Valley, were built with low budgets. In the majority of those homes, kitchens lack functionality. They were built without the options available nowadays. Even after organizing those older kitchens, I felt something was still missing. Even with newer kitchens, I noticed so much can be improved. So, I decided to take a step back; If I could help my clients upgrade their kitchens, then people would enjoy their kitchen so much more.

Here are valuable tips to upgrade an existing kitchen.

#1 – Add pull-outs to your pantry

Cabinets that are deep and have stationary shelves, are not usable. In many cases we can’t reach the back of the shelves with our hands. The biggest issue is that what we store is not visible to us. The result is we end up throwing lots of food and not enjoying what we have in our pantry. It’s easy to add pullouts so we can easily see all we have. “Simple human” has metal pull outs easily installed, and there are many other brands. As long as pullouts are not made of plastic, which is not durable, it’s all good. All you need to do is measure the dimensions and order. Installation is easy. Here is a photo of my friend’s pantry. She installed metal pullouts herself. Remember that the ROI on this investment is quick, just by saving money on groceries not wasted. I’ve had cases where I threw food worth about $200. Spending a few hundred dollars is well worth it.

 

#2 – convert drawers to have high quality hardware

Our friends bought a budget kitchen. It came in with nice looking drawers, but those stopped sliding well after only a year. What they did is totally replace the hardware. Sounds expensive? The truth is it’s not. Our friend researched and ordered “Blum” German hardware slides, which are really high quality European standard. He installed it on his own and the drawers work smoothly since, for years now. The cost for each drawer slides was around $20. There are many YouTube videos on how to install those – it’s not rocked science. Even if you hire a handy man to do this, it’s worth it.

Choosing the right hardware can mean the difference between a kitchen you like to look at, and one you love to use.

Blum website has plenty of helpful information, videos and resources:

https://www.blum.com/us/en/products/runnersystems/tandem/overview/

There are other European brands that work as well.

#3 – add cabinet’s shelves or adjust cabinet’s shelves height and avoid adding organizing gadgets into cabinets

When shelving distance is high, a space becomes less usable. People then go and buy organizing shelves and gadgets to add, so that they can put more plates or bowls in. These organizers have disadvantages:

1. Effectiveness – they usually create more clutter, as their size would never match your cabinets dimensions. I usually take them out, when organizing. and afterwards my clients have more space in their kitchen.

2. Stability – they are not always stable and things fall off them and break.

3. Price – they can be expensive.

Why not make it simple – measure the existing cabinets shelves and add some more. Shelves are adjustable, inexpensive and most functional.

#4 – no spices drawers – not a problem

It is unnecessary to add spice racks on the counter or in the cabinets. Those take valuable space. Here is what I like to do: just lay the spices in a small drawer. This way they are accessible and take very little space.

Bigger spices containers can be put straight on the shelves of upper cabinets not far from the stove. Now you have more space on the counter and in the cabinets.

These are easy adjustments you can easily take on an existing kitchen. If you plan on buying a new kitchen and totally remodeling, read my next blog to come, or just contact me.

Our kitchen needs to be at our service, not the opposite. I’m here to help.
Always here for you,
Hagit Koren
4/14/2020