How Fixer To Fabulous Star Jenny Marrs Maximizes Storage In A Small Kitchen

Kitchens are one of the spaces in every home where adequate and ample storage is a must. Dave and Jenny Marrs are used to facilitating dramatic kitchen transformations on their HGTV show "Fixer to Fabulous." This often includes remodels of outdated and older kitchens that contain a lot of dead space that could be maximized for storage. In Season 5, Episode 8, their kitchen redo included a small but smart change in cabinets along with other modifications like new lighting, flooring, and counters. By raising the cabinets all the way to the ceiling, not only did the "Fixer to Fabulous" pair unlock a huge amount of extra storage space, but the new design also made the kitchen feel both brighter and larger.

In the episode (via HGTV on YouTube), Jenny Marrs says, "We really wanted to maximize as much storage as we could in this kitchen. It's small, but mighty." Installing loftier upper cabinets is a great solution if you are looking to fix an outdated or cluttered kitchen. This is especially true of older kitchens with an unsightly dropped soffit or open space between the top of the cabinets and the ceiling, which really only collects clutter, dust, and debris.

Reasons to extend your cabinets to the ceiling

Cosmetic soffits and dropped cabinets, sometimes called one of the worst kitchen trends of all time, began as a mostly practical solution, popular in the latter half of the 20th century, used for hiding things like ductwork and wiring. Their presence also worked to keep cupboards and their contents at a reachable height for anyone standing. While this is important, many homeowners want to maximize that space instead, and are willing to reach or climb a little higher to access the upper levels. Upper shelves work great as a spot to store things that you use less often like serving trays, specialty cookware, and formal china. By installing cabinets that go all the way up, you can gain several square feet of shelving that you did not have before. 

Besides creating more storage, the change offers a cosmetic benefit as well, with many newer kitchen designs running cabinets all the way up the walls and eliminating the dated look of dead space and extraneous horizontal lines. By adding cabinets near the ceiling and emphasizing vertical lines, the entire room can feel larger and more open, as demonstrated in this "Fixer to Fabulous" episode. Jenny Marrs opted for a soft off-white shade on the simply designed cabinets, which further helped to make the kitchen feel bigger and airier.  

Ways to make this Fixer to Fabulous trick work in your home

If you are looking to update your kitchen and ditch the low cabinets, you can swap them for taller uppers during a renovation, or add additional matching shorter cabinets atop the ones you have. There are many great DIY tutorials on how to extend your cabinets to the ceiling on a budget or how to build custom-sized pieces to fit the open space above older cabinets, and how to remove the existing soffit. Some homeowners choose to use these upper cabinets as open shelving or glass-fronted displays. Thinking of hopping on the stained-glass kitchen cabinet trend? You can even add lights behind frosted or clear cabinet doors for additional illumination.

If your storage needs are already met and you just really want the look of higher cabinets, you can install false fronts that mimic the contemporary effect of continuous cabinetry. This may be a practical solution if you want to avoid ripping out and replacing your uppers entirely, but still wish to hide the gap above your cabinets to give your kitchen a high-end look. You can also add molding and other details to a cumbersome soffit for some texture and interest. These details can create a similar visual and aesthetic impact as ceiling-high cabinets. This approach is also a great solution if you cannot remove your soffit for electrical or plumbing reasons.