This Dixon, Illinois, kitchen not only looks good but also makes for smart cooking. Designed by a home economist and her architect husband, the 13x18-foot space features carefully arranged appliances and storage features that minimize steps and maximize convenience.
Click through the next slides to see eight clever design features that add up to one organized kitchen -- plus tips for keeping your kitchen in shape.
Open shelves make cooking supplies and dishware easy to locate at a glance. They're also an inexpensive solution for homeowners on a budget.
Tip: Keep dishes either close to the dishwasher so they're easy to put away -- or close to the table, so it's a snap to set.
A built-in spice rack blends into the backsplash. Just 4 inches deep, it preserves counter space while it keeps spice jars easy to find.
Tip: Store spice containers with labels facing out and group by type or organize alphabetically. Discard and replace spices that no longer have much of a scent; if there's no smell, there's no flavor.
Dishwasher drawers installed to flank the sink let you separate delicate china from everyday dishes or run a small load without feeling guilty. Plus, you don't have to bend down to use them.
Tip: Another kitchen back-saver: Consider different countertop heights. If you're short, you might want to lower some countertops below the 36-inch standard -- a good rule of thumb is that countertops should be 3 inches below your elbow.
This trash basket on wheels can easily move wherever the cook needs it. When not in use, it tucks below the perimeter countertop, and its false cabinet front blends in with surrounding cabinetry.
Tip: Keep extra trash bags in the bottom of your trash can so you always have a new bag handy -- and the unused bags don't take up room in your cabinets.
Vertical slats store oversize platters and trays in the deep space above the ovens. Open shelving makes it easy to find what you need, and the slats keep big kitchen items organized and neat.
Tip: Even a kitchen with lots of storage space can get overrun with clutter. Get rid of duplicates, and don't be tempted to fill every shelf and drawer to capacity.
Directly below the cooktop, rollout drawers provide quick access to pots and pans.
Tip: Choose drawers instead of cupboards for heavy, large items such as pots; they slide out and make it easier to find what you're reaching for.
A maple butcher block counter provides a hardworking surface on the 4x8-foot island for slicing and prep work (but should be coated with mineral oil once a month to maintain). A stool tucked under the cook's side of the island stays out of the workflow except when needed.
Tip: If your kitchen doesn't have enough counter space, add a rolling cart that provides extra room to organize.
Shelves on one end of the island hold cookbooks for ready access. Island shelves can also store cookware, dishes or even a microwave oven installed at a child-friendly height.
Tip: Remove any cookbooks or magazines you don't use regularly. For instance, store holiday cookbooks outside the kitchen.