This article originally appeared on Houzz.com.
Beautiful kitchens abound — but as we know, beauty is only skin deep. If the bones of the kitchen do not function properly, the time spent there will soon become annoying.
“Good-looking” is great, but in my book, it needs to go hand-in-hand with “functional.”
A few organizational cabinet appointments can make everyone’s life easier through accessibility. Any of these accessories will make work seem less like a chore and allow people of any age and mobility the dignity of maintaining their autonomy while doing what they love to do: cook!
If you have the opportunity to remodel your kitchen or are lucky enough to be planning a new kitchen from scratch, opt for as many base cabinets with drawers (instead of doors) as possible (see above). Drawers are much easier to access — plus they bring the contents to you, rather than forcing you to bend down and reach into a dark cabinet.
Organizational accessories, such as this pegboard for dishes, allow the heavier items to be stored within reach and offer the flexibility of rearranging items to suit your needs and dishes. Storing your dishes in base cabinets allows even the grandkids to get in on the action of setting the table. It also eliminates the sometimes dangerous reach into upper cabinets for a stack of plates.
Tip: Make sure you select heavy-duty rollers or glides to accommodate the extra weight of the dishes.
This bank of drawers is dedicated to both flatware and dishware, using a traditional plate rack. It would be great located near the sink or dishwasher.
Other drawer systems offer interchangeable rails for maximum organization. The possibilities for drawer styles and accessories are boundless these days. They’re like jewelry for your drawers.
Roll-Out Trays Storage (CliqStudios.com): Traditional rollout shelves come in handy when you prefer the aesthetics of doors over drawers. You must take care, however, to fully open the door before pulling out the shelves to minimize the inadvertent scraping of the inside of the door. The shelves come in a wide variety of traditional and other materials, such as this wood dovetail version. A base cabinet with a standard door can usually accommodate three shelves, depending on what you need to store.
Rev-A-Shelf In-Cabinet Chrome Cabinet Organizer ($111): The racks shown here are chrome-plated, but some also come with clear plastic sides, or plastic or metal side rails, which are sometimes called gallery rails.
Storage Solutions: Corner cabinets, particularly blind corner cabinets (ones that extend either right or left into the corner and have only one face door) used to present design challenges and wasted valuable space. But not anymore. New corner storage systems maximize accessibility and organization. This system has trays with nonslip mats to keep items from falling off or slipping about. Wire rack systems are also available.
Here, a wire rack Lazy Susan optimizes space in a traditional corner cabinet, allowing the user to rotate the shelves to bring items to the front of the cabinet.
Drawers like these are another option for corners. However, they require some adjustment to pull out, as they usually have pulls on either side of the drawer for aesthetics.
Custom Cabinet: Pull-out pantries offer the convenience of bringing the stored items into view and to you.
Pantry cabinet: This pullout for spices would be convenient located near your primary cooking counter or stovetop.
Cutlery drawer inserts help keep everything organized and in sight.
Automatic opening mechanism: The Kick-and-Go Foot Pedal automatic door opening system from Richelieu is the perfect complement to the trash bin or recycling cabinet, especially for those who have trouble gripping and pulling handles. It can also be very useful if your hands are full and a third arm isn’t around.
Wood Classics pull-out waste container: Automatic opening systems are great for the trash or recycling cabinet. No more sticky door and handles!
Blum Servo-Drive Uno automatic drawer: For those who can afford the Cadillac of options in their kitchens and have mobility or dexterity issues, this is the ultimate convenience. The motorized system opens with a simple tap of the drawer or door. The automatic drawer goes beyond touch-latch and magnetic latch hardware and requires early planning to accommodate the extra electrical circuits required.
EZ-Down Storage System: Upper cabinets always pose a challenge for anyone in a wheelchair, as well as for shorter individuals and children. It allows the user to pull the contents of the shelves down toward for total accessibility.
Tandem system: A tandem swivel pullout for upper cabinets, either for blind corner cabinets or traditional corner cabinets, maximizes space and accessibility.
Modern Pull ($16.50): One more thing to keep in mind: select pulls over knobs. Pulls allow any user the ability to open the door without having to grasp a small knob — something that’s difficult to do for those with arthritic hands or dexterity issues.
Bow handle ($5.44): Also opt for handles that are sleek in design and that don’t have any elongated areas where clothing could get caught.
These are just a sampling of cabinet fittings available to maximize efficiency, accessibility, safety and organization.
Houzz is the leading online platform for home remodeling and design, providing people with everything they need to improve their homes from start to finish. From decorating a room to building a custom home, Houzz connects millions of homeowners and home design/improvement enthusiasts and professionals. Anne-Marie Brunet, CKD, CBD, is a regular contributor to Houzz.