How to Decide How Much Kitchen Storage You Need
Your kitchen is essentially one big storage unit. From cabinets, to the pantry, to the 'fridge, at least 75 percent of the space is dedicated to housing things like food, linens, cookware and utensils. The amount of storage you require will be the major deciding factor in how large your kitchen should be. So if you're currently planning a renovation or building a home from scratch, understanding your storage needs is crucial to designing a space that functions for your lifestyle.
Determining how much storage you need in the kitchen can be a challenge. After all, how do you translate the amount of nonperishables and dish ware your family uses into a tangible number of cubic feet (the measurement for most kitchen elements) for a pantry, cabinets and refrigerator?
While your kitchen designer will certainly be the best resource for coming up with the final number, there are a few tips that will help you guess at the cabinet and appliance sizes your kitchen design or renovation will require.
Think about your family.
Generally speaking, the bigger the family, the more storage you'll want, especially if you have teenagers or adult children living with you. Guidelines for cabinet, refrigerator, and pantry size are generally based on the number of adults and children living in the household.
For example, when purchasing a refrigerator, on average you should allocate for 5-6 cubic feet of space per adult and child over four. This means, for a family of two adults and two children, the minimum-sized refrigerator is around 20 cubic feet. However, because children turn into growing teenagers pretty quickly, we typically recommend families purchase refrigerators no smaller than 24 cubic feet.
When it comes to dry storage (like pantries and food cabinets), our general recommendation is to allow at least 14-18 cubic feet per person. For reference, a standard upper cabinet of 12" deep x 36" tall x 36" wide is 9 cubic feet, and a pantry closet thats 3' long x 2' deep and 8' tall is 48 cubic feet.
But, consider your lifestyle, too.
Most storage guidelines are based on the number of people in your home, but it's also important to consider your lifestyle from the outset of your kitchen design project. A newlywed couple planning to have children in the next few years might not need big refrigerator now, but will want to factor in the extra storage space required for 2-3 hungry kids. On the other hand, empty nesters who are avid cooks, love to entertain, and still host family holidays might require more space for china, cookware, and small appliances than a family of four who prefers to dine out.
Factor in organization.
You could have the biggest kitchen on the block and still feel like you don't have enough room to get store everything. Adding organizational elements within your pantry and cabinetry is key in getting the most out of them. If you upgrade your cabinetry and drawers to include built-in organizers for things like dishes, spices, and cutlery, as well as specialty appliance garages you'll be able to get more storage space with fewer cabinets. Similarly, a small 3' x 2' pantry closet might be more than enough room for a large family if it's got the right organization system.