Cluttered kitchens benefit from letting it all hang out

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Cluttered kitchens benefit from letting it all hang out

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By Kim Seong-ryong


Kim Yoon-kyung, 36, lives in a 66-square-meter (710-square-feet) apartment with her husband. The couple fits into the apartment perfectly, but the kitchen is small and cramped. The counter, Kim says, is never big enough to hold all of the cooking utensils.

She is not the only one with this problem. For many urban apartment dwellers, one of the biggest concerns is kitchen storage.

“With the gas stove, microwave, toaster, mixer and rice cooker, there is no space for other things,” said housewife and mother of two Min Soon-young, 43. “My kids are growing up so I have to spend more time in the kitchen. Having a bigger family means more dishes and kitchen utensils, but the kitchen storage space stays the same so it is always untidy.”

Many people find that sinks and counters are always littered with kitchen utensils, not to mention appliances and other cookware.

But the JoongAng Ilbo’s lifestyle section Home& has found a solution: hang frequently used items on the wall like a painting. Your kitchen will look wider and cleaner.

Shin Kyeong-ok, the author of “Smaller Houses Are Better,” which contains stories about successful apartment renovations, agrees.

“There is no better solution for small spaces than hanging,” she said.

The first step is to determine which items are always out on the counter and table such as such as frying pans, pots, kettles, cups, ladles and other serving utensils. It is difficult if you have to constantly take these items out and put them back. Rather than laying them on the kitchen counter, try hanging them on the wall. Cups are easy to hang if they have handles. Hanging colorful cups in a zig-zag will brighten up the room, and hanging cups with similar tones and shades in a straight line will give the kitchen a calm atmosphere.

Dishcloths and aprons are perfect for hanging as well. Pans and pots of different sizes and shapes can bring a European feel to a kitchen. A small wooden chopping board can be a perfect wall decoration while also bringing some warmth to a space.

Other items that are good for hanging are those that are not often used but are difficult to store.

Wine glasses with tall, thin necks are hard to store in a cupboard. They are not only fragile but also take up a lot of space since they cannot be stacked. Install a wine glass hanger under the cupboard and hang the glasses upside down. This gives the kitchen the feel of a hip wine bar.

If you are worried that hanging everything on the wall will make the kitchen too unkempt, you can put your worries aside. Unlike the living room or bedrooms, the kitchen is the best place for cute and charming decorations.

Although walls and cupboards make ideal surfaces for hanging, easy-to-reach places such as the space under the cupboard or under a windowsill are also good places to hang things. Windowsills are usually made of wood so it is relatively easy to install small hooks.

Bold, decorative items are best hung on a wide, empty wall. Install a wooden bar on the wall and install a few hooks. To make the entire piece more decorative, leave one hook for something unusual.

If you hang more than one item, make the extra item a frame that goes well with the other item. Installing hooks of different sizes and shapes can be decorative as well.

For additional storage space, try hanging a decorative pouch. There, you can store small items with similar functions and label them with stickers or pictures. It makes finding small items easier and also has a decorative effect. Sacks and necklaces are also perfect for hanging as well.

In spring, twigs can be used as decorative hangers. Twigs brighten up a room better than stainless steel or plastic hangers and create a natural look and feel. Choose thick, strong twigs to hang heavier items and lighter twigs for less weighty items.

Collect interesting looking twigs on your next hiking expedition or visit a florist, where they usually sell for under 10,000 won ($8.99).


By Seo Jung-min [estyle@joongang.co.kr]
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