5 Tips For Integrating Counter Space Into Your Cabinets

4 September 2015
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With all of the kitchen appliances that many modern Americans use, counters often appear cluttered. To avoid this, you may want to consider options for storing and using your common kitchen appliances in custom cabinets. These cabinets can be designed to accommodate the exact height of your appliances, often feature built in electrical outlets to use your appliances without moving them, and sometimes have fold out or roll out shelves to increase your work space. All of this packs up out of sight in your cabinetry. However, before you get a contractor to build your custom cabinets, you should consider these five things. 

Design for Ergonomic Use

When you design your cabinets to be able to use these items without taking them out of their cabinets, it is important to consider whether they are used passively or actively. Some small appliances, such as bread machines and slow cookers, are used passively. You can usually take out an internal container to fill with ingredients, place the container back into the appliance, press a few buttons and walk away. Other appliances such as blenders, choppers, and waffle irons are meant to be used under constant supervision. 

Passive appliances can be built into cabinets that are slightly more difficult to reach, such as those at ground level or above your waist. Appliances that you will need to constantly monitor should be stored at waist level. You should also think about installing racks that either fold out or roll out and lock into position to increase your working space when you are using these appliances. 

Design to Save Space

Integrating your counter space into your cabinets may mean that your cabinets take up more space in your kitchen, but there are a few things you can do to save space. For example, whenever possible, integrate a roll-out shelf into your cabinet. For items like bread machines and slow cookers, this means that the cabinet can be custom fitted to the size of your appliance and you will not need to add the extra space to open the appliance while it is still in the cabinet.

Also, keep in mind that you do not need one cabinet for each appliance. You may build a drawer that holds several small appliances that are meant to be used in the cabinet space above it. This is helpful for small appliances that you do not use often.   

Consider How Often You Use the Appliances 

The appliances you use every day should be readily accessible. For instance, a coffee cabinet may house your coffee machine as well as your coffee, sugar, and other coffee making supplies and should be placed in an area you can easily get to in the morning. However, appliances you do not use every day may be better off being stored in cabinets without an outlet and counter space. Instead, consider just adding custom shelving to maximize the amount of appliances you can easily access in a single cabinet. 

Be Aware of Steam and Heat

Many small appliances, such as slow cookers and bread machines, produce heat and steam while they operate. This can rapidly degrade the interior of your cabinets. If you want to be able to use these appliances while the cabinet door is closed, you should talk to your contractor about lining them with waterproof, heat resistant materials or integrating ventilation into your cabinetry. Alternatively, you may want to install a roll-up door on the cabinet and use the appliances with the door open. 

Know the Limits of Your Electrical System 

If your contractor is installing several new outlets in your kitchen, you should be aware that using multiple appliances at the same time can put stress on your electrical system, causing you to blow a fuse. Talk to your contractor about which appliances you intend to use regularly and whether changes will need to be made to your electrical system. 

Custom cabinets designed to work with your lifestyle and appliances can make your kitchen feel less cluttered and more pleasurable to work in.