- There are some items and trends that can make your kitchen appear cluttered instead of stylish.
- Toss your extra knives and bulky bread machine to save countertop space.
- Open shelving often requires consistent cleaning to look nice.
Kitchens should be filled with useful and meaningful items but many wind up cluttered and poorly designed.
So Insider spoke to interior designers to figure out which items and design elements you should remove.
Get rid of small gadgets and knickknacks
Jill Jarvis, interior designer and owner of Ehrlich Interiors, told Insider that countertop clutter is the main thing she recommends kicking out of your kitchen.
“Nothing makes a kitchen look messier than countertop clutter,” the designer said. “It also makes counters more difficult to wipe down and keep clean.”
Purge unneeded papers, mail, and small appliances that are not used on a regular basis. Jarvis also suggested relocating or tossing decorative accessories that take up too much space.
Open shelving is a poor fit for most kitchens
Rebecca Langman, interior designer and owner of Revision Custom Home Design, told Insider that open shelving is rarely the best option.
“Open shelves create visual clutter and require constant cleaning and organizing in order to look good,” Langman said.
Glass-front cabinets allow for visibility while also reducing the buildup of dust and grease.
You don’t need a huge collection of different wine glasses
Interior designer Joe Cangelosi told Insider that it’s not necessary to own every type of wine glass.
“Unless you have a giant butler’s pantry that can house all that stuff, most people only need some all-purpose wine glasses and a set of Champagne flutes,” he said.
The designer recommended investing in a fancier set of glasses for formal affairs and some cheap ones for everyday use.
Donate or sell excess knives
Unless you’re a professional chef, you probably don’t need 24 different knives.
“Kitchen stores will try to sell you every kind of knife, but 99% of the time, you only need three: a heavy chef’s knife, a serrated bread knife, and a small paring knife,” Cangelosi said.
Sell or donate your underused knives and invest in high-quality versions of your three main ones.
Consolidate and remove bulky cookbooks
Cookbooks can offer inspiration but also add visual and physical clutter.
“To clear space in the kitchen, relocate or donate cookbooks that you don’t use for day-to-day cooking,” Jarvis said.
If you only use one or two recipes in a cookbook, consider copying them down on paper and storing them in a box or binder. You can also take a photo for easy reference.
Get rid of decor pieces on upper cabinets
Decor items on upper cabinets collect dust and can look cluttered.
“Unless you have high, vaulted ceilings, placing items on top of upper cabinets just means more dusting and rarely enhances the look of the space,” Langman said.
If you really want something on top of your cabinets, opt for a low-maintenance houseplant that you also dust when you water it.
Word signs with generic phrases can look overly trendy
Langman told Insider that one of her kitchen-decor pet peeves is signs with common phrases.
“Your guests will know it’s a kitchen even if there’s no oversized fork and spoon on the wall or a sign telling them to ‘gather’ or ‘eat,'” Langman said.
Instead, the designer recommended choosing a piece of pretty, handmade art that complements the atmosphere of your kitchen.
Old dish towels should go
Stained or threadbare towels can drag down the overall look of your kitchen.
“Go through your dish towels and discard those that are past their prime and no longer complement your kitchen,” Jarvis said.
You can use old towels as cleaning rags and donate clean ones that no longer suit your style.
Let go of expired or rarely used spices
Make room in your cabinets and pantry by letting go of excess spices.
“Chances are that your cupboards contain a few spices that you never use,” Jarvis said. “Toss those and any spices that have lost their flavor.”
You can combine half-full bottles of the same spice and use ones that are past their prime to make large batches of tea or infused water.
You may not actually need a bread machine
It can be tempting to let a
knead your dough, but Cangelosi said the appliance is usually bulky and expensive.
“People have been making bread for thousands of years using nothing but a bowl, a kitchen cloth, and a pan,” the designer explained. “You don’t need a cumbersome machine to make great bread.”
Unless you’re making loaves every day, consider storing the machine elsewhere or making bread by hand instead.
Turn your junk drawer into a catch-all space
Junk drawers are commonly filled with things you’ll never use again — such as takeout menus, ketchup packets, and old batteries — so consider transforming yours into a space for the cooking utensils you regularly use but don’t require a designated spot.
“Tidy your kitchen by turning that junk drawer into a clean, organized, and efficient catch-all drawer,” Jarvis said.
Toss the cleaning supplies you rarely reach for
Make your kitchen neater by ditching the cleaning supplies you infrequently use.
“Keep things tidy under the sink by tossing cleaning supplies you rarely use or combining multiples of the same product into the same bottle,” Jarvis said.
Additionally, place products that are nearly empty toward the front of the cabinet so you’ll reach for them first.