The Kitchen Workstation- Yes or No?
Back in the day, a “kitchen workstation” suggested something entirely different than what you can expect in 2020. An old-school kitchen workstation was a cart, shelf, or table that stored all of your meal preparation supplies. This workstation held tools like a cutting board, knives, mixing bowls, vegetable peelers, spoons, a whisk, and even towels. This form of utilitarian storage was a standard feature in many kitchens. The kitchen island then became that prep area that also served as a cooking workstation, which you will still find in many kitchens. Today, however, the term workstation has taken on new meaning.
A kitchen workstation is now the command center for the entire family. It is often where families share messages, pay bills, and organize the calendar for busy family life. As more people continue to work from home today, they grow weary of pressing the kitchen table into service as a desk – enter the kitchen workstation. Here are the essential elements for a truly functional kitchen workstation:
The essential features of a kitchen workstation:
- A flat surface where you can place a laptop, desktop computer, or important papers.
- Concealed storage, such as cabinets or drawers to store documents, books, and office supplies.
- Multiple electrical outlets for charging electronic devices. An outlet with a USB port is a great option.
- Task lighting.
Before deciding if a kitchen workstation is right for you, know that you have options for type, placement, and efficiency.
Convert a base cabinet into a desk
When you remodel your kitchen to include a workstation, you will want to consider your workstation’s functionality, efficiency, and space. If you have a one-wall, galley, or L-shaped kitchen, the most obvious place to add a workstation is to convert the last base cabinet into a desk area. This easy change happens with removal of the base cabinet and addition a shallow drawer directly under the countertop. You can then add an end-panel to finish off the cabinets and to support the countertop desk. You can use a counter stool as a chair for working at the new desk.
Another option in the same space configuration is to keep the base cabinet and install a deep drawer for files and storage, or printer shelf. Add a corkboard or dry-erase board as your backsplash to provide a place for notes, reminders, messages, and grocery lists.
Make a pull-down desk surface with an upper cabinet accessory
If you can’t spare a base cabinet, you can instead transform an upper cabinet into a workstation. Install a pull-down shelf as a desktop to place a laptop or create a flat area to write. You can use the shelves in the upper cabinet to store books, a basket of pens, paper, and other office supplies. Attach a dry-erase board or corkboard to the inside of the cabinet door for your messages, lists, notes, and reminders.
Repurpose the kitchen island, make use of extra wall space
Let’s say you really can’t sacrifice any of your kitchen cabinets. Instead, you can use the backside of your kitchen island as a workstation. If you have space next to your island but don’t want to mount a new countertop, you could purchase a desk or cabinet and place it under your existing countertop. This would give you a workstation tucked out of the way but functional for an office landing area.
With extra wall space beyond your countertop, you can install a wider countertop than standard and use the extra area for a workstation. Mount the edge of the countertop to the wall for added support or install a waterfall countertop with full sides in the same material giving it extra support and decoration.
Use every small space
Some kitchens have unused space by the door out to the garage, or between an appliance and doorway. You can easily make these small areas into a workstation by adding a desk, a section of wall-mounted countertop, and some floating corner shelves and baskets. A dry-erase board, corkboard, and key holder will give this space full functionality as a command and message center.
The addition of a kitchen workstation may not work for everyone, especially if you are already low on storage and space for organization. As many families have at least one member likely to continue to work from home for the foreseeable future, they are finding it more critical to create a dedicated work area. However, with a certified kitchen designer’s help, you might be pleasantly surprised at how easy, affordable – and attractive – it can be to incorporate storage, organization, and kitchen workstation into your kitchen layout.