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We don’t just prepare food in our kitchens, we host our friends, have family discussions and simply hang out in them as well. Enhancing the organization and functionality of your kitchen will allow the space to feel open, appear tidy and look great while serving your needs. Here are the top 10 tips and techniques I encourage my clients to follow when designing their kitchens.

1. Max Out on Storage

I don’t think I’ve ever heard a client say, “I have too much storage.” Since kitchens are not always arranged in a straight line, there’s often dead space. Make the most of corner cabinets and other unused areas with custom storage. In this San Francisco kitchen, for example, an angled pullout spice rack fills an awkward space next to the stove. Try to use every nook and cranny — you will probably not have much trouble filling them.

10 Steps to an Organized and Functional Kitchen

2. Add a Magic Corner

Another great storage solution is a “smart” corner with pullout shelves, Lazy Susans or wire shelves on tracks, such as this unit from specialized hardware-maker Richelieu. Use these nifty storage solutions to gain access to otherwise wasted space, where you can keep large pots and pans, small appliances and other bulky items. They tuck into cabinets nicely and provide easy access when needed, helping to create a more organized kitchen.

10 Steps to an Organized and Functional Kitchen

3. Put Everything in Its Place

Use drawer organizers to create a space for each of your kitchen utensils. Their individual compartments will encourage you to put everything back in its place after each use. This custom built-in drawer organizer from Dura Supreme Cabinetry provides specialized storage for steak knives and spices.

10 Steps to an Organized and Functional Kitchen

4. Hide Small Appliances

First impressions are made when you walk into a kitchen, so keep those countertops clear. It makes a huge difference when you don’t see rows of appliances on the counters, and it also frees up space for prep work when cooking or baking. Consider appliance garages, which are storage cabinets with rollup fronts that retract the same way a garage door does.

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