Refresh Your Kitchen Counter in 6 Steps

clear kitchen counter

@houseofharvee

Your kitchen is a major workhorse, and it's more than likely that your countertops could use some streamlining. Whether you're living in a small space or a larger one, it's all too tempting to place a slew of appliances, papers, and cooking supplies atop the counter without a real regard for clutter. But no one wants to step into a chaotic looking kitchen day after day. In honor of starting fresh for the new year, why not give them a bit of a revamp? We spoke with designers and organizing pros who shared tips for designing a countertop that is ultra functional and aesthetically pleasing.

Meet the Expert

  • Kim Sneath is a clutter coach and breakthrough specialist.
  • Melissa Keyser is a professional organizer and certified KonMari expert.
  • Adam Meshberg is the founder of The Meshberg Group, an architecture and design firm.

1. Play Favorites

Your kitchen counter can only hold so many gadgets before it starts to look chaotic, so you'll want to offer a permanent seat to only your favorite appliances. "If you love toast every morning, leave the toaster out," clutter coach and breakthrough specialist Kim Sneath advises. "If you're a dedicated coffee drinker, keep the coffee maker out and place it on the counter closest to the cupboard with the cups." Items that you use less frequently can live in the cupboard, and those that only make rare appearances can be corralled in the pantry or even stored in the basement, Sneath adds.

vessels on kitchen counter

@houseofchais / Instagram

2. Make Trays and Vessels Your Friend

If you have smaller items such as spices that you feel inclined to keep out on display at all times, place them in a tray, suggests Melissa Keyser, a professional organizer and certified KonMari expert. "Visually, it's more cohesive than scattered around the counter," she notes. And don't be afraid to transfer frequently used spices out of their plastic jars. "It's definitely a great idea to transfer salt and spices into nice containers on a luxurious tray that adds character to the kitchen without cluttering," designer Adam Meshberg says.

Then, place cooking utensils in a crock to stay organized. "Choose utensils that are a cohesive plain wood or stainless steel," Keyser advises. "It will visually look less cluttered than, say, a hodgepodge of random colored spatulas and spoons."

3. Don't Forget About the Backsplash

"Utilizing backsplashes also helps get items off the countertop," comments designer Highlyann Krasnow. "Magnetic knife racks or hardware for hanging cooking utensils are great tools to clear off items that are usually stored on the countertop."

kitchen with open shelving

Arditi Design

4. Utilize Those Cabinets or Install Open Shelving

In order to keep your counters clear, you'll need to transfer some of the hard work over to your cabinets! "Store [items] where they are used—keep sugar for the coffee in the cabinet right above the pot instead of several steps away in the pantry," Keyser suggests. "Use lazy susans to make it so you can easily spin them around to find what you need instead of reaching in and shuffling." Open shelving systems can also be a prime solution for keeping go-to spices and cookbooks within view yet off the counter, designer Rozit Arditi adds.

5. Don't Let Mail Pile Up

You've gotten your counter looking nice and clean. So how can you ensure it stays this way day in and day out? Don't let mail take over. "One of the biggest pain points for kitchen clutter is the mail," blogger and organization pro Michelle Hansen notes. "We often swing by the mailbox on our way home and promptly leave the mail in a pile on the counter. But clutter is just another form of delayed decisions. So instead of dropping it in a pile, take time to go through your mail every single day." This shouldn't be too hard, Hansen notes, and come with a slew of benefits. "Most of it is just junk mail anyway! Something that would be even better is to go online and opt-in for paperless bills. This will save you time, and it's better for the planet."

6. Make Your Counters More Aesthetically Pleasing

Additionally, now that your counters are sparse, you can do a little makeover if you're so inclined. "If you have a countertop that is in disrepair, you can always tile over it to make it fresh without having to replace the entire top," Krasnow suggestions. "Otherwise, a deep clean and replacing any grout or filler to make it look fresh is also helpful."