Maximize Your Kitchen Countertop Space With These HGTV-Approved Tips

We may receive a commission on purchases made from links.

A cluttered countertop can be hard to avoid, especially in a small space. Balancing easy access to all necessary tools, finding adequate space for storage, and leaving enough room on the counter for prepping and cooking can become an unnecessary burden if not proactively addressed. That said, there are many space-saving hacks that can not only create room on your countertop, but establish cohesion and flow around the space.

Some helpful tips, suggested by HGTV's experts, can bring innovation and efficiency to saving counter space — all while keeping budget and accessibility in mind. These suggestions inspired by the likes of Jasmine Roth and Abbi Williams are intended to minimize countertop clutter and bring peace of mind back into the kitchen. Plus, these simple changes can be implemented without the funds or effort that a full kitchen renovation would require.

Add an island for more counter space

Adding an island to the center of your kitchen can make room for more seating, increase storage, and open up extra counter space. That's why HGTV's Jasmine Roth recommends installing an island, or a similar staple, as a kitchen's focal point. Some small-space kitchens with limited square footage may not leave room for a full island with seating at the center. But, adding an extra work surface doesn't have to involve a big renovation.

Roth says that there are many different ways to add various types of kitchen islands, even on a budget or in a small space. "It would be really easy to just add like a table, or a bar cart, or something to the center of a kitchen, and suddenly, you have an island," Roth says on YouTube. Roth also notes that including an island in your kitchen can ease the movement and flow around the space. 

Store small appliances in cabinets

Creative storage solutions can lead to more counter space. Ben and Erin Napier took advantage of this tip in their very own kitchen. The pair stored their ice maker and microwave inside a converted cabinet. The two appliances are stored along with several other ingredients and dry goods, all hidden behind the aesthetic of a sleek white cabinet. 

As the Napiers mention, this is not only a great way to free up counter space, but it's also a means of separating the modern appliances from a more rustic aesthetic. "You have the modern inside the historic," says Erin, "and then no one knows it's even here." Establishing style cohesion and eliminating clutter can be challenges in smaller kitchens, and this hack allows you to tackle both with one change — all while freeing up counter space. You can purchase an appliance cabinet, like this one from Amazon, to easily add storage to your own kitchen.

Use drawers for more than just cutlery

A drawer can go a long way when it comes to saving counter space. While kitchen drawers are typically used for utensils and silverware, they can take on the job of cabinet or countertop storage with a bit of inventive organization. This, ideally, will create a ripple effect: Moving kitchen tools from cabinets to drawers will free up space in taller cabinets — creating more storage for countertop items.

For example, designer Abbi Williams suggests using a drawer for plate and bowl storage. This can be done in a regular drawer with enough depth, or it can be elevated by using a drawer that's specifically designed for holding plates and bowls. Williams recommends using organizational pegs."The best part is you can add a peg board and pegs to any existing drawer, making it functional and cost-effective" Williams says on HGTV's website. This can ease up the clean-up process after cooking, as well as ensuring that your plates and bowls don't break while sliding inside a drawer. Then, use your now-empty cabinets to stash away bulkier items like your toaster or blender.

Adding tiers to countertops increases surface area

Even the smallest of spaces pose the opportunity for countertops to grow with a simple extension. Bryan Patrick Flynn of "HGTV Dream Home" and "HGTV Urban Oasis" recommends adding a lifted tier by using brackets and the same material as your existing surface. This is a great way to make use of small spaces by adding more surface area with the same footprint. Plus, if you have a lower countertop, the higher tier gives you an opportunity to create a dining space.

There is no major renovation necessary for this DIY hack. Just be sure to check that your brackets are fastened securely and that your tiered countertop can hold the weight of the objects that you choose to place on it. Building a tiered countertop can allow you to extend your space vertically without needing more surface area, all while keeping the design of the kitchen cohesive and aesthetically pleasing. 

Organize plastic storage with a mail sorter to free up storage

Similar to the hack that involves storing plates in a drawer, HGTV's Maria Antoinette Loggins suggests using a mail sorter, like this one from Target, to organize plastic containers and their lids. This way, you can move your plastic goods from larger cabinets to your drawers. This organization hack, which has also trended on TikTok, reduces clutter by clearing plastic containers and their lids from countertops and cabinets. It also saves time by keeping each container and lid visible. 

This is an especially useful strategy for busy parents packing school lunches or meal preppers on their way to work. When every minute counts, being able to quickly grab a container and its specific lid can go a long way in saving time. Plus, you'll have freed up that cabinet space for the taller items on your counter, like your air fryer, that couldn't fit anywhere else.

Relocate cutting boards and bakeware from the countertops

In small spaces, it can be hard to find the appropriate space to accommodate items with a large surface area. This can often lead to these items naturally being stored on the countertop when they have nowhere else to go. "HGTV Handmade's" Brittani Allen poses a solution for this: First, remove shelving from inside a taller kitchen cabinet. Next, replace the removed shelves with vertical storage racks that can accommodate thinner, but longer items like cutting boards or large baking sheets.

With this organization hack, baking sheets or cutting boards will only have to be on the counter when they're actively in use. It also streamlines the organization of these larger items, which are often similar in color and size. When baking sheets are stored horizontally in a deep drawer, it can often require removing several sheets just to retrieve the one you actually need.  This option lets you easily identify and grab the item you would like to use.

Build a tension rod spice rack

Spice racks are a useful kitchen tool, but they can take up a fair amount of counter space. Rather than using up visible storage, HGTV's YouTube series, "Easy Does It," shows how you can DIY a spice rack inside your cabinet by adding adjustable tension rods. This can clear the spices off of the countertop, but it still allows the spices to be identifiable and accessible inside the cabinet.

This useful hack works quite well for spices, but it can also be used for other cylindrical items in your pantry, like soup or vegetable cans. Plus, if you're renting your space and plan to move, adjustable tension rods allow you to accommodate cabinets of nearly any size. The same logic applies to the size of the cylindrical containers you're storing: since tension rods are adjustable, not all stored canisters have to consistently be the same size.

Utilize canisters to relocate countertop items

Large and bulky food items like bags of flour and bread loaves can end up finding a home on the countertop when they can't fit anywhere else in the kitchen. HGTV recommends using narrower, clear containers for dry foods and pantry items that were once too large to efficiently fit inside your cabinets. Just be sure to measure your cabinet shelves before purchasing your canisters, and to use airtight containers, like these from OXO

Not only does this kitchen tactic clear up your counter space, but it also keeps all dry food items in one place. Whether or not you put a label on your canisters, the perk of using a clear container is that you can always see what's inside. This provides efficiency in the kitchen both by saving up on counter space and adding the ability to inventory and organize the dried food products in your pantry at any time. Not to mention, it adds a bit of design consistency to what could otherwise be a more disorganized part of the kitchen. 

Take advantage of Lazy Susans to create more functional counter space

As demonstrated by HGTV's Brittani Allen, lazy susans, like this one from Target, can allow for the efficient use of otherwise inconvenient spaces through their rotational function. "I like to use these to corrall like items, like cooking oils, in harder to reach spaces," says Allen, "making it easier to just spin and find what you need." As Allen notes, tucking like items away into a designated area can help to avoid clutter and maximize free counter space.

The beauty of this hack is arguably in its simplicity: Lazy susans are relatively affordable, they're functional without requiring a big renovation or new DIY project, and they can be found in several different colors, materials, and styles. Small adjustments like this can have a huge impact, and they can often be overlooked in comparison to larger or more daunting projects. Not to mention, a lazy susan can be useful in many areas of the kitchen, be it the countertop, pantry, or dining table.

Safely store produce in cabinets or the pantry

As recommended by Laurie March of "The House Counselor," placing a ventilated basket inside of a cabinet, drawer, or pantry can be just as effective for storing your fruits and vegetables as the countertop. "Since not all veggies need to be refrigerated," March says on HGTV, hidden ventilated baskets "keep produce out of sight, but still fresh, by being conveniently placed in a cool, dry part of the kitchen." Large bunches of bananas or bulky bags of potatoes can be hidden with this hack, providing a sleeker look while saving countertop real estate.

DIY TikTok users have also become fond of storing fruits and vegetables in a produce drawer. This storage trick can also provide more convenient access to produce, avoiding the need to sift through mesh packaging or a plastic bag. This can be as simple as adding wire pull out drawers, like these from Wayfair to a standard cabinet. Or, you can opt for the more complicated and permanent process of creating designated produce drawers by replacing their fronts with wire mesh.

Make use of open space

As HGTV's Brian Patrick Flynn suggests, adding DIY fixtures such as hooks, knobs, or shelves to surfaces like kitchen islands, above a backsplash, or on cabinet doors. This can create additional spaces to store kitchen tools that would usually live on the counter — like mugs, large utensils, or small pans. This hack is particularly useful because it doesn't require clearing out an entire cabinet or a drawer. Anything that can be relegated to a hook, knob, or shelf can be relocated, but without eliciting the stress of an entire reorganization.  

Choosing shelves, knobs, or hooks that add a splash of color or texture can add some flair to your kitchen, all while saving on counter space. Floating shelves may require a bit more DIY effort, but their sleek design both adds storage and enhances a space without disrupting a kitchen's existing style or theme. Just be sure to consider the maximum weight and material of a shelf before installing it, in order to avoid falling objects or humidity-inflicted wear and tear. 

Add a shelf rack to vertically expand countertop storage

It may feel counterintuitive to add an object to your counter in an effort to reduce your counter space, but a shelf rack can go a long way when it comes to kitchen organization and countertop space saving. Brittani Allen took to HGTV's TikTok account to demonstrate just how useful shelf racks can be. Allen praises shelf racks because they "make it easy to see what you have, and can be used from front to back or side to side." Each type of shelf rack provides its own unique function, so you can make an informed choice based on your kitchen's needs. 

Cookware lids, dishes, bakeware, and other thin items can be placed in a streamlined, visually pleasing, and narrower shelf rack that frees up counter surface area. Some shelf racks, like this one from Amazon, are even specifically designed for deep corner spaces. If you're looking to create the effect of tiered shelves without the installation effort, a taller shelf rack, such as this one from Wayfair, can provide a similar use.