Rethinking Kitchen Storage in the Post-Covid Home

Clare Tattersall

No matter how large a home is, you can never have enough storage, especially in the kitchen, which now doubles as an office for 20% of homeowners, according to a recent trends study by the leading platform for home renovation and design, Houzz. That’s why it is a top priority in remodelling projects and leads to greater demand for larger (or more) kitchen islands and continued growth in cabinet replacement and modification.

Where space is no object, homeowners opt for islands that stretch more than seven feet in length, as they provide plenty of room to spread out when working from home. Some even want to split the most highly coveted kitchen feature into two units. The double island allows for functions to be neatly divided – the first can serve as a food prep station and the second for seating, whether eating, typing on the computer, or taking part in a Zoom meeting.

Either option is an ideal addition to a home that doesn’t have a dedicated office, walk-in, or butler’s pantry. It offers a ton of additional counter surfaces and lots of built-in hidden storage, making the island more useful than ever. When designed with extra deep drawers, casserole dishes, food processors, and other oversized items that homeowners don’t have room for elsewhere can be neatly stored away, and one (or two) can even be turned into a filing cabinet. Tiered drawers with a section on top that pulls up and away from a lower ‘tray’ are also perfect for storing office supplies.

The rise in the multi-purpose kitchen has brought consumers’ desires for storage areas that don’t leave out the tech factor since most are inseparable from their gadgets. To satisfy these homeowners, cabinetry should incorporate a charging station for a range of mobile devices, at a minimum, and even a device holder. Next-level technology enhancements to cabinetry include built-in wireless devices like tablets, televisions, and speakers.

While kitchen function has diversified due to Covid-related changes in consumer behaviour, its primary use is still to store, prepare and cook food. To this end, pantries and sculleries are presently in high demand, given their storage capacity. They are freestanding custom larders that incorporate furniture styling details like decorative doors or a toe base treatment, making them practical and a show-stopping design element. Larder cupboards can even be outfitted with an inner pullout shelf that can hold a keyboard or laptop and then be tucked away and concealed at the end of the workday.

Floor-to-ceiling cabinetry is also an optimal storage solution over open shelving, particularly when it contains space-saving elements like kitchen plate racks and a narrow baking sheet cupboard for vertical pan storage to maximize cabinetry’s overall footprint. Plus, when cabinets go to the ceiling height, they make the room feel taller, and the individual cupboard sizes can vary to create a unique design element in the kitchen. Remember, you may need to equip the kitchen with a rolling library ladder for homeowners to improve access to high shelves.

Clare Tattersall is an interior designer and decorator in Toronto and the editor of Canada’s floor covering magazine, Coverings.

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