Storage space in most kitchens is at a premium. You never seem to have enough of it, and every square inch counts. Good storage can make or break a kitchen's usability and determine whether it's enjoyable to cook in or a nightmare of awkward ergonomics.
Why then is the corner space where two banks of kitchen cabinets come together often neglected or even completely unused? While it can be challenging to design a well-thought-out kitchen corner space, it's absolutely worth doing. The corner cabinet ideas below can help you put this space to great use.
What is a "blind corner cabinet"?
When you start researching kitchen cabinet design and corner cabinets, you will probably see the term "blind corner cabinet" being used. A blind corner is the space that is created where two perpendicular lines of cabinets meet. In less efficient cabinet designs, this space, which isn't accessible by any cabinet door, is often left inaccessible or "dead." In most cases, a better use of limited kitchen storage space is to install a "blind corner cabinet," which extends beyond the corner and takes up the unused space.
The drawback of a blind corner cabinet is that it can be difficult to access the items at the very back because there is no door opening directly to that part of the cabinet. It requires long arms and a fair bit of groping around for what you're looking for in the back. I had a blind corner cabinet in my last kitchen and found that my family ended up just storing bulky and seldom-used items way in the back. It was better than not having that storage space, but it wasn't very useful.
In this post, I'll run through some other solutions for using the space that are better than a basic blind corner cabinet or simply letting the space go to waste.
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1. Lazy susan
Most of us are familiar with the idea of a lazy susan. These spinning shelves offer a way to get the most from your space and also make them easily accessible. Reaching into the back of a corner cabinet is challenging and results in wasted space. With the lazy susan feature, you'll have spinning shelves that allow you to reach every part of the shelf without straining. This is a great option when storing pans and similar items. All contents will be reachable by spinning the shelves so this is a simple but effective solution to using this space well.
Lazy susan systems come in three major variations.
- The spinning trays can come with a pie-shaped piece cut out for a folding door (as pictured above).
- The trays can be full circles without the cutout, and the whole apparatus is set back behind a diagonal door.
- The doors can be permanently affixed to the front of the pie-shaped cut-out.
This third solution is what I have in my own kitchen. It's a relatively old design, but I really like the speed at which I can access items on the trays, without having to pause and open a hinged door. In fact, I've gotten so used to my lazy susan that I can spin it with my foot to quickly access items anywhere on the trays.
2. Cornered drawers
This option is an innovative idea that solves the corner cabinet problem. Cornered drawers are built into the corner cabinet and then easily pulled out. The corner drawers are typically divided into smaller compartments as they are not the conventional shape and size of typical cabinets. The shape of these drawers makes them a good option for utensils or unusually-sized items which may be challenging to fit into a standard draw. Dividers can be installed into the draws to help you make use of the space.
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3. Diagonal cabinets
This solution is not new, but it will never go out of style. The cabinets can be paneled in order to blend into the other cabinets in the kitchen. This cabinet is typically smaller than a regular cabinet, but they're often paneled with glass to allow you to see the contents. This option may be available in a pre-fab kitchen although it can also be a specialized request. Consider using this space for small dishes or specialty items that will add to the appearance of the kitchen. They're also good for cookbook storage.
4. Variable storage options
To get the most out of this corner space, consider using up the entire wall from floor to ceiling. This space does not have to be the same cabinets or shelves but can be variable depending on your storage needs. For example, consider using the bottom drawers that pull out directly to store pots, pans and more. Change the above-counter space with open cubbies that have a variety of uses. This is often a good size for a small microwave and the additional open cubbies can be used for cookbooks. This floor-to-ceiling solution provides you with additional storage and also a good visual consistency.
5. Drawers for trash cans
The lower kitchen cabinets in the corner usually have depth that's often wasted due to a lack of accessibility. This is an issue that can be addressed by using the lower drawers to store larger items. Since most people want to keep their trash out of sight, consider installing a pull-out trash and recycling drawer for this space. While the above arrangement will get the job done, it is not ideal because the pull-out trash drawer is positioned to bump into the drawers on the perpendicular wall.
If you want to store your trash and recycling bins in the corner, consider a lazy susan system designed for that purpose, as in the dated-looking photo below. (We don't recommend installing carpeting in your kitchen, or periwinkle wallpaper, for that matter!)
Photo by Hafele
6. Magic Corner Cabinet
German engineering at its finest! The cabinet hardware company Hafele has created an innovative solution to the blind corner cabinet problem with their Magic Corner II cabinet shelf system. I have the previous version of this product in my cabin, and I'm kind of amazed every time I use it. It really makes great use of an awkward storage space, but it's not quite as quick as a lazy susan.
6. Rounded cabinetry
Okay, the above cabinets are not for those who are squeamish about contemporary design. This is a contemporary look on steroids and is definitely not for everyone! But for an innovative approach to cabinets that also softens the space, consider installing rounded cabinet doors. These will swing open and maximize the storage space in that area. The true benefit is the appearance of the doors. Instead of a sharp corner, the rounded shelves gives a unique touch to the kitchen space.
Ready to design a corner solution for your kitchen?
Corner cabinet space often goes wasted but with no good reason. In the kitchen, efficiency is key and it is possible to maximize storage and display areas in this space. These solutions provide a variety of options to get the most out of every area in the kitchen without having to sacrifice the aesthetic. Feel free to get in touch if you would like to discuss a redesign of your Seattle-area kitchen. We love design challenges and maximizing space and utility in the kitchen.