Why an Appliance Garage Might Be the Organizing Secret Your Kitchen Needs

A kitchen without appliances is like a garage without tools. But no one wants these gadgets—the mixer, blender, and coffee maker—to take over your counter space, creating a junk drawer in plain sight. Enter the...

A kitchen without appliances is like a garage without tools. But no one wants these gadgets—the mixer, blender, and coffee maker—to take over your counter space, creating a junk drawer in plain sight. Enter the appliance garage, the organizing secret your kitchen needs. It is a designated spot in your kitchen cabinetry where you can park your appliances and neatly hide them behind closed doors.

An appliance garage is a functional way to keep small countertop appliances easily accessible, but out of sight. Like a garage for your car, but tinier. - Jenny Slingerland, owner and principal designer of Black Ink Interiors.

Successful kitchen organization hinges on the ability to hide clutter but keep it within reach. If you don't have a butler’s pantry or a large walk-in with optimal pantry storage solutions, an appliance garage can help you maximize cabinet and countertop space without the chaos. Here’s what you need to know.

The pros and cons of an appliance garage

While large appliances have their designated spaces in the kitchen, utensils, dishware, and pots and pans also need their own storage. However, people often forget about the small appliances, such as toasters, coffee makers, mixers, and even microwaves. Appliance garages work double duty. They not only reduce clutter and allow for easy access, but they also give you back clean counter space and keep your kitchen aesthetically appealing.

These kitchen storage solutions typically sit on top of countertops and are built into cabinetry. They can feature lifting doors, double-sliding doors, retractable doors, and more.

But because of the more complicated components, building an appliance garage is often a job for the pros—and it is likely to cost more than typical cabinet installation. And while you will be gaining counter space, you’ll also likely be losing cabinet space. As a result, you might have to find a new spot for your ceramic bowl collection or devise a clever way to organize your glassware.

Rd Why An Appliance Garage Might Be The Organizing Secret Your Kitchen Needs Opt For Full Height Opt for full height for maximum appliance garage space. Photo by Michael Hunter/Courtesy Luxe Living Interiors.

1. Opt for full height

To truly optimize your appliance garage space, organize your kitchen cabinetry to be a full-service space with several pull-out shelves that can fit all your kitchen gadgets. Use the top shelves to store complementary dishes and accessories. According to Gary Eisner, designer and founding partner at BuiltIn Studio, "It’s especially clean when the layout has full-height cabinetry coming in from one direction and a pull-out shelf to make the space easily accessible."

2. Let it slide

For easy access in a tight spot, like a corner, consider a sliding drawer and an overhead door setup. BuiltIn Studio opts for this design, making it super easy to reach in and grab the coffee pot and some toast. The pull-out setup almost works as if your appliances are on a tray.

3. Spotlight your goods

Transform your appliance garage into a gallery by adding cabinet display lighting that spotlights your prized appliances. Regan Baker Design, a California-based interior design firm, uses overhead doors that work as a reveal for your culinary treasures. A lighting upgrade is especially useful when you’re stumbling to make coffee before dawn.

4. Add an outlet

Conveniently power your appliances in a single space. Make sure your appliance garage has an outlet for easy use. Matching the mixer color with the hardware can tie the kitchen ensemble together, as demonstrated by Jenny Slingerland, owner and principal designer of Black Ink Interiors.

5. Set up a breakfast station

An appliance garage can serve double duty as a kitchen coffee station. Add coffee mug storage, a drawer for coffee pods, and enough room for a milk frother and more. You can also customize it to house other breakfast necessities, like a toaster and utensils, as demonstrated by a project by Black Ink Interiors.

6. Entertain with wallpaper

Who says an appliance garage has to be all business? Line the back panel of the cabinets with a neutral, yet interesting, architectural wallpaper for a surprising decorative touch. This idea comes from Jenny Slingerland of Black Ink Interiors.

7. Focus on the purpose

Design your appliance garage based on your specific needs. For example, if tea and smoothies are a daily occurrence in your family, create an appliance garage specifically for that purpose. Anna Popov, founder of Interiors by Popov, designed a sliding shelf with ample space for a busy family who wanted to keep their tea and smoothie essentials neatly tucked away.

8. Bring on the bi-fold

When you have more than one shelf, a top folding door is the way to go. It helps keep the countertop clear at all times. Anna Popov carefully planned this appliance garage with a vertical bi-fold door to provide a perfect place to tuck away the coffee machine.

9. Optimize lower cabinets

Not all appliance garages have to live between the upper cabinets and the countertop. Create a base in your lower cabinets to store larger items and install a sliding element that can prop your gadgets up, giving you more space to work.

10. Use tambour doors

Tambour doors are a great option if you enjoy having your cabinets open during culinary routines. They roll up into the cabinet and take up little to no space when open. The appliances are on display when you need them—and out of sight when you don’t.

Remember, an appliance garage is a smart way to organize your kitchen and keep your appliances easily accessible yet hidden. It allows you to declutter your countertops and maintain an aesthetically appealing space. Consider these tips and ideas from experts to create the perfect appliance garage for your kitchen.