We Got a Sneak Peek of Crate & Barrel’s Cool New Test Kitchen — And Spotted 3 Smart Organizing Tricks to Steal

published May 17, 2022
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Crate & Barrel test kitchen

We love looking at test kitchens. If you’re not familiar, a test kitchen is exactly what it sounds like — a kitchen where tests are run. Test kitchens usually have state-of-the-art equipment, lots of gear, and a highly functional design. Most food magazines have (or at least share) a test kitchen. Ditto for, say, meal kit companies, digital-only publishers, and even food manufacturers. While most of our editors have spent time working in a test kitchen, we actually don’t have an official one here at Kitchn, because all of our recipes are developed, cross-tested, and perfected in our own homes. (To make sure they’ll work in yours!) Still, we can’t help but look. Because we can usually spot a good idea or three, which we can bring home to our own kitchens.

And that brings us to CrateKitchen, the new culinary space at the Crate & Barrel headquarters in Northbrook, Illinois. It’s not as industrial as most test kitchens tend to be because it’s also meant to be a space for cooking demos, virtual gatherings, and more. We got a sneak peek and, when we were done gawking, we made note of three really smart organizing lessons we learned. Here goes.

1. Stand cutting boards up and turn them into decoration.

Look at that photo at the top of this post. See those cutting boards that are propped against the backsplash? This is so smart! Because cutting boards are tough to store in cabinets. By propping them up on the counter, they become incredibly accessible. And they make for a nice decor moment, too.

2. Hang cookware from a rail.

Let’s say you’re in the middle of a renovation and you have time to make some changes to your new kitchen island. (Congrats!) You might want to consider a design like this one, which has space built-in for hanging cookware. If that’s not the case, you can still install a rail somewhere (maybe across a window or between some cabinets) and hang cookware, freeing up cabinet space.

3. Put your dishes on display.

Speaking of freeing up cabinet space! We’re obsessed with this bookcase, which has been turned into a kitchen piece for plates, glasses, bowls, and more. The lesson here is simple: If you don’t have enough cabinet space, add a free-standing unit (in your kitchen, in your dining room, wherever!) to hold your favorite pieces. It will make serving and even emptying the dishwasher a lot easier!

Did you spot any other ideas? Tell us in the comments below.