How to arrange dishes in kitchen cabinets

Careful planning is required to ensure a kitchen that’s both beautiful and highly functional. Here are 20 tips to consider when designing your kitchen.

Your kitchen hosts a wide variety of important everyday tasks, so it needs to both work hard and look good. Whether you're cooking, cleaning, eating, or entertaining, the kitchen should be a space you enjoy being in, and thoughtful kitchen design can help make that happen. If you're planning a kitchen renovation or designing a new kitchen, these tips will help you create a space you'll love. Follow our advice on planning, organization, and must-have features for a kitchen that looks beautiful and functions efficiently for all your needs.

1. Eliminate wasted steps.

When organizing a kitchen, think about how and where you typically use items. Store breakfast foods and bowls near the breakfast table. Keep wraps and plastic containers in one handy spot near a work surface for wrapping leftovers. Locate dishware and flatware near the dishwasher to ease the process of unloading.

2. Design wide walkways.

Ensure your kitchen floor plan includes enough room between cabinetry and the island to easily move through the space. As a general rule, paths throughout a kitchen should be at least 36 inches wide. Aisles within the cooking zone should be 42 inches wide for a one-cook kitchen and 48 inches wide for a two-cook configuration. When planning, adjust kitchen islands and peninsulas accordingly.

3. Direct traffic through the kitchen.

Traffic flow is a key consideration when designing a kitchen. For kid-friendly kitchen design, keep the cooktop out of traffic areas so children don't catch handles and cause spills when passing through. Also, make the refrigerator accessible to both passersby and people working in cooking and cleanup areas.

4. Stay clear of corners.

Pay attention to corners when deciding where to place cabinetry and appliances. To make cabinet and appliance doors fully functional, plan space for the door's clearance and swing direction in your kitchen design. Keep appliances away from corners, and make sure doors won't bang into each other if open at the same time.

5. Find the right height for the microwave.

The correct height and location for a microwave oven will vary depending on the chef or the kid-friendly nature of the kitchen. For adults, 15 inches above the countertop level is a good microwave height. If kids will be using the appliance, a below-countertop setup might be safer and more suitable.

6. Determine the island’s function.

When it comes to kitchen islands, form follows function. Think about how you'd like to use the island within the space before you consider the design. If you want to cook and eat on the kitchen island, for example, plan enough space so the cooktop is safely separated from the dining area. The island can also house other elements such as a sink or dishwasher for added functionality.

7. Plan landing space near appliances.

Landing space around appliances provides a spot to place items while cooking or preparing ingredients. When designing your kitchen, allow 15 inches of countertop on each side of a cooktop and refrigerator. Landing space is also important near the microwave and other small appliances, such as a coffee pot or toaster.

8. Consider the countertops.

Think through your needs for meal preparation to help guide your countertop choices. Chefs who like to cook require more counter space (ideally between the range and sink) than those who cook infrequently or who prepare simple meals. Additionally, incorporating two countertop heights can make baking easier and help kids who are involved in meal preparations.

9. Double up kitchen appliances.

If you have a large family or extensive cooking needs, consider doubling up on your most often-used appliances. A second microwave oven and a mini-refrigerator or refrigerator drawer positioned at the edge of the kitchen work center, for example, can spread out the workload and keep snackers out of the cook's way. Add a snack bar with stools for an after-school spot for the kids.

10. Arrange the range area.

Plan to store important cooking essentials in the space directly around the range. Place a shelf beside or behind the range to keep cooking oils, utensils, and spices handy. Place S-hooks on the side of the range hood to hang frequently used pots and pans.

All the best tips to tidy up your spices, pantry ingredients, pots and pans.

How to arrange dishes in kitchen cabinets

How to arrange dishes in kitchen cabinets

Not everyone can have a massive kitchen with tons of storage space and a separate pantry. Since gutting your space and starting anew may not be a possibility, find easy ways to make use of the small kitchen that you do have. Get all the inspiration you need by taking a look at these clever kitchen organization ideas. With a few simple DIYs and organizing products from Amazon, you’ll take charge of your space, tackling messy drawers, cabinets and shelves.

Before you put these organizing tips to work, take a look at your kitchen to see what you need help with most: your overflowing spice racks, cluttered drawers and cabinets, messy pantry, to name a few. It may be easiest to tackle one area at a time, starting with organizing everyday essentials (pots and pans, for example) before working your way to more tedious tasks, like decanting spices and baking supplies into matching glass containers. Little by little, you’ll notice that in addition to looking neat and clutter-free, your kitchen will be more fit to cook, bake and entertain in — a tell-tale sign that you did it right.

How to arrange dishes in kitchen cabinets

When you hear the term “open shelving,” you might be quick to rule it out: Maybe you’re worried about dust, or you don’t know quite how to style the shelves, or you’re just worried about how to install them. We’re here to help—and show you the beauty that open shelves can add to your kitchen, no matter its size or style. Ditching cabinets and embracing sleek shelves can help turn your kitchen into the open space you always dreamed about. Ree Drummond’s open shelving in The Lodge’s kitchen is a case in point: They add a great pop of color to the kitchen, and Ree has all of her favorite dishes within easy reach!

Open shelves can instantly add depth and make a room feel more inviting, whether you’re considering them for your kitchen or just as part of your pantry organization setup. And you can make the shelves as simple or as intricate as you’d like. For instance, many of these shelves are natural wood, which are perfect for displaying everyday bowls, plates, and cups. Or, you might be inspired by the kitchen with custom gold shelves framing the stove, decorated with thoughtful pieces. These examples prove that open shelving kitchen ideas are suitable for either casual decorators or design-oriented homeowners. Once you reach the end of this gallery, you’ll feel much more confident about applying this kitchen trend to your own home.

Declutter your kitchen and stay on task with these pan organizers.

How to arrange dishes in kitchen cabinets

How to arrange dishes in kitchen cabinets

We’ve been there, and we’re guessing you have too: you open a kitchen cabinet to grab a pan, and they all come tumbling out. We’ve also all been the person with approximately 15 pots and pans stacked up on the counter and stove. To help streamline cooking, organize cabinets, and declutter—without renovating the entire kitchen—consider investing in a pan organizer. Not only will it keep you on track in the kitchen, it will ensure your pots and pans are kept clean and scratch-free. There are a number of pot and pan organizer options to choose from. Read on for the full report!

What to Consider

A poorly organized kitchen can doom what should be a relaxing and enjoyable cooking experience. If you keep the following in mind, you’ll be well on your way to a more delicious dinner.

Weight: How much do your pots and pans weigh? Our selections hold anywhere from 20 to more than 100 pounds, so think about how many large items you want to organize before making a purchase.

Design: Some racks have a decidedly industrial vibe, while others would look great in a farmhouse or modern aesthetic.

Space: Where do you want the rack to go (and how much space should it occupy)? We have large and small ones that hang from the ceiling, wall-mounted racks, fit in cabinets, and more!

How We Selected

We considered all of the different kitchens and needs out there on the market, and kept a range of space, style, and budget constraints in mind. We also consulted kitchen organization experts and everyday users for their thoughts on what worked and what didn’t. Below, you’ll find the best of the best, from top-rated companies.