For some, the kitchen is just that hateful room where you have to cook. But if you've gotten into cooking at home , it's often the room most in need of an efficiency makeover. Here are 10 DIY projects that make your kitchen better.
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10. Make More Space in Your Cabinets
It always feels like there isn't quite enough storage in your cabinets for everything you have. Luckily, there's probably a lot of space in there you aren't using. A tension rod can give you extra vertical space , while adhesive hooks can help you hold just about anything on the cabinet door itself. Of course, there's always the old classic, too: add a lazy Susan to easily reach just about anything.
9. Add More Storage
When you can't make more room in the cabinets and drawers you have, it's time to add more. There are a lot of little nooks and crannies in your kitchen that can be turned into storage. For example, those fake, unopenable drawers beneath your sink can be turned into a small tip-out tray perfect for sponges and other small items. Similarly, the "toe kick" area beneath your cupboards is just empty, wasted space — so take it out and build some simple drawers there for extra storage along the floor.
8. Add a Roll-Out Pantry to In-Between Spaces
Similarly, chances are you have some small unused space in between your fridge and the wall or other appliances. You'd be surprised how much that can hold. This DIY roll-out pantry fits in that tiny space, but builds vertically to hold canned goods, boxes, or whatever else you need. Of course, if you don't have the full height of your kitchen to spare, this small version works too.
7. Store Your Knives Correctly
Storing your knives in a drawer can dull or nick them quicker , so to keep your knives sharp (and useful), you'll want some sort of dedicated knife storage. Sure, you could buy a knife block for them, but this DIY block works just as well, and fits any combination of knives you have. Alternatively, you could make your own block that fits inside a cabinet door . Or, if blocks aren't your thing, try a magnetic rack, either on the wall or under your cabinets to save space.
6. Secure Your Cabinets with Fasteners
Well-made cabinets should be fine without any sort of fastener, but some cheaper cabinets need a bit more security to stay closed. Luckily, cabinet catchers are super cheap and very easy to install. They're one of our favourite kitchen upgrades and you can grab them from Bunnings for around $10 each. (I recently added these to one of my broken cabinets and it worked like a charm).
5. Improve Your Lighting
Ideally, your kitchen would have lots of natural light just like the rest of your home. Unfortunately, it doesn't always work that way, especially in apartment blocks. If you find you need some extra light in your kitchen to see what you're doing (or read your recipes), consider installing some under-cabinet lighting. All you need are some LEDs or cold cathodes — they're cheap and easy to install. If you want, you could even automate them with a motion sensitive power strip or something similar.
4. Tame Counter Clutter
In some homes, the kitchen is like the hub of activity — which means non-kitchen items like mail, calendars and other junk often creep their way in. Don't let this happen. Make sure everything has a home and that its home is not your counter. If you don't have an office or filing cabinet for things like mail, pin some folders inside your pantry for hanging storage. And for the calendar and other items, hang them on the wall or go digital with tip #3 below.
3. Mount Your Tablet or Laptop
For the paper clutter you "need" in the kitchen — like a calendar, cookbooks, recipes, and other kitchen-related things — digitizing them is a great way to save space. You can hang your tablet on a cabinet, build an under-the-cabinet kitchen PC, or even turn a Raspberry Pi into a wall-mounted digital calendar. With those things digitised, everything's within quick reach without taking up nearly as much space.
2. Rack Up Your Spices
Spices can make or break a dish, so if you're serious about cooking, you probably have an awful lot of them — which, stuffed in a drawer or cabinet, can be really hard to rifle through. You have a ton of options when it comes to organised spice racks: DIY shelves, magnetic panels, in-cabinet drawers, or even magnets on the underside of your existing shelves. Whatever you do, make sure everything is clearly labelled so it's easy to find what you're looking for.
1. Organise Everything for Efficiency
Your kitchen drawers — much like your office — should be organised in terms of how often you use certain items, and where. If you drink coffee more often than you bake, make the coffee supplies easier to access. Store your measuring spoons near your spices, your oven mitts near the oven, and so on. When you're cooking, you want the stuff you use most to be as close to where you're standing as possible — so put it near where it gets used. Our geek's guide to rebooting your kitchen (video above) should help you get started, and this kitchen clean-out checklist can help ditch the clutter. If you have expired food, cookbooks, or other extra stuff, you may want to find a new home for that too.