Home Decorating Amy Studebaker’s Tips for Organizing Your Kitchen

Amy Studebaker’s Tips for Organizing Your Kitchen

Designing a kitchen may be a job for the pros, but the tiny details are just as important as the cabinetry and appliance layout. From drawer organizers to window treatments, these small elements are what make a kitchen go from good to great. Plus, you can change and update your kitchen organization and styling without the headache of a major renovation – or the help of a professional. To inspire a refresh for your own kitchen, we talked to St. Louis interior designer Amy Studebaker. Known for her elegant but livable style, Amy creates amazing interiors, but it’s her flawless kitchens that we can’t get enough of. The owner and principal designer of her eponymous firm, Amy has a knack for creating luxurious kitchens that feel aspirational but also like places where real people cook and live. Here are Studebaker’s tips for organizing and styling your kitchen:

The secret to always-clear countertops

One of Studebaker’s favorite ways to create space on kitchen countertops is to add what she calls “decorative-containing items.” For example, in her own kitchen, Studebaker has a beautiful silver tray to hold all of her oils, spices, and salt and pepper grinders. Not only will this keep your items neatly organized, but it’s a good way to take inventory of what you actually use.

Use what you’ve got

Studebaker suggests you can save drawer and counter space by “doubling up” items you already own. “Consider taking a pretty champagne bucket that you rarely use, and placing all of your cooking utensils in it,” she suggests. “Your champagne bucket will look fabulous sitting on your counter and now you have extra cabinet and drawer storage for other items.”

Weave in warm metals

Anyone who follows Studebaker on social media knows that she loves brass and copper, which she says lend a kitchen warmth. “I found beautiful copper canisters a few years ago, and I use them to store so many items we use daily,” she explains. “One of them holds our coffee, while another holds dog treats for our sweet pup, Biscuit. They have patinated over time, which gives our kitchen a comfortable and lived-in feeling.”

Sprinkle in some vintage

“I love using vintage and antique pieces in all of my designs, whether that’s for our clients or my own home,” says Studebaker. “I have seen some fabulous vintage canisters at antique stores that would make any space functional and unique.”

Go big with your accessories

One big accessory has more visual impact than several smaller ones and creates less clutter for you to clean around. For example, Studebaker displays an oversized breadboard that she found on a buying trip. “I get asked about it so frequently on Instagram, and it has become such a central decorative (and functional) focal point on our kitchen island,” she says. “I love that it gives warmth and texture to our space.”

Update your hardware

“Changing out your kitchen cabinet hardware is a small update that’s manageable and can drastically change your kitchen,” says Studebaker. “Not only will it change your look, but you also won’t have to break the bank to do so!”

When in doubt, paint it white

“A fresh coat of paint can elevate outdated kitchen cabinet fronts,” advises Studebaker. “Choosing a color like white or light cream can brighten up even the most dimly-lit kitchens. All-white kitchens are timeless and classic for a reason.”

Roll out a runner

“Adding a fun patterned rug to your kitchen can bring in color and softness to the space,” says Studebaker, who has the Herringbone Coral Runner in her kitchen (at the moment!) “There are so many fabulous options to choose from, and even the washable ones look great if you are worried about daily messes.”

Think outside the box for storage

Studebaker suggests creating additional storage outside of the kitchen. “I love using a chest of drawers in my dining room to store all of our table linens, placemats, and extra plates,” she says. Likewise, you can place beautiful baskets with lids under your cocktail table or console table to store items that you use less often, like seasonal table linens.

Contain the kid clutter

To prevent the lunchbox pile-up, Studebaker suggests designating a storage space for all of your child’s school items that will work for both your child and yourself. “This could be a cubby area, the mudroom, or maybe even a spot in your hall closet. Adding hooks to any of these spaces will also encourage your child to hang up their items as soon as they get home from school.”

Aim for progress, not perfection

“For our clients, we always discuss how and where they store every item in their home — from linens to children’s toys, we talk through each item and what we can do to create a solution for minimizing clutter in their spaces,” Studebaker says, but she notes an always-perfect kitchen is not the goal. “Yes, my countertops are always clean for Instagram, but that is not always the case for daily life – even designers get busy!”
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