Modern takes on this clutter-busting storage trick may surprise you.

By Lauren Phillips
Updated February 28, 2019
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Morley von Sternberg/ArcaidImage/Getty Images

Should you install an appliance garage (or several)? A knee-jerk response may be negative—appliance garages aren’t exactly on the list of chic kitchen décor ideas everyone is clamoring after—but that knee-jerk response might be a little too quick to judge. After all, aesthetic components such as kitchen backsplash ideas are great and all, but they’ve got nothing on kitchen add-ons that have both visual and functional uses.

An appliance garage cabinet can be any space that tucks countertop appliances—think microwaves, toasters, coffeemakers, and the like—out of sight. They often sit on countertops, as an extension of upper cabinets, but they can also be a part of a floor-to-ceiling cabinetry installation or a pantry.

Morley von Sternberg/ArcaidImage/Getty Images

Morley von Sternberg/ArcaidImage/Getty Images

Calling appliance garages a trend might be generous—they’re more of a design or storage tool, like kitchen islands, whereas farmhouse kitchen décor could rightfully be called a trend. Still, trend or not, they’re popping up in more and more kitchens, with doors that are moderately more stylish than the top-down, garage-style door you may be picturing.

Ben and Erin Napier, the home-updating duo behind HGTV show Home Town, say they’ve put several variations on appliance garages in the homes they remake on their show.

“It’s just good design,” Ben says.

He also says that, often, appliance garage cabinets are installed as a design trick to cover up a visible supporting post or other structural element; if a post or pipe must run from floor to ceiling in a certain spot, a ceiling-to-countertop or ceiling-to-floor cabinet installation is a great way to cover the potentially obtrusive item while adding extra storage to the kitchen.

One caveat: As with refinishing kitchen cabinets, this is a job best left to the pros. Certain projects can be completed with a little DIY know-how, but projects like this—projects involving what Ben calls finished carpentry—need a little expertise, the Napiers agree.

“You need the pros. It’s time to call the pros for that,” Erin says.

The Napiers recommend looking into the cabinet makeover services from The Home Depot’s Home Services array of options. The home services pros can make an added floor-to-ceiling cabinet installation look like it was always there and even reface all the cabinets in the kitchen, in just three to five days.

If you’re already considering a kitchen update involving some cabinet work, now may be the time to consider adding an appliance garage. If you struggle to preserve counterspace amid your many countertop appliances or are forced to pull that coffeemaker out of a low cabinet every time you use it—so every day, most likely—you should especially consider adding an appliance garage to your kitchen storage arsenal. (They also make excellent hidden bars and kitchen coffee bars, if you’re so inclined.)

Ben and Erin say this design and storage tool has been around for a while, but if you’re still not convinced, scroll on—these contemporary examples might just change your mind.

The garage-style door on this appliance garage might resemble the more outdated looks of bygone decades, but a modern white finish makes even this classic look fresh.

A more modern option for the appliance garage cabinet is a door that lifts straight up and out. It blends in neatly with the cabinetry, and—as an added perk—the appliances inside can be slid directly onto the countertop when they’re needed.

Appliance garages can have multiple tiers, especially if several appliances are inside. Doors that slide completely out of the way allow particularly heavy, front-facing appliances—like the microwave—to be used where they are while remaining out of sight when not in use.

Losing a little counterspace may be an acceptable loss if it means heavy appliances like that must-have stand mixer are right where they need to be.