Kitchn Love Letters

This $20 IKEA Find Creates Counter Space Out of Thin Air

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When my partner and I first laid eyes on our current apartment, we instantly fell in love. We’d found an affordable place with soaring ceilings, airy rooms, and proximity to the train (we live in Chicago). So what if it didn’t have any kitchen counters?

We were, of course, in for a rude awakening. With just one 16×24-inch corner of flat surface area available to us — where we had to put the dish drying rack — we had nowhere to chop, season, or store certain foods. Thankfully, there was enough space to cram a 4×3-foot counter-height table into the corner, but that’s really more for eating and less for prep work.

Credit: Zack Whittington

Then, I realized that the enormous, IKEA cutting board I’d reserved for butchering meat actually had an additional purpose. When placed over one half of my sink, this 18×21-inch bamboo plank converts into a standalone prep space, instantly adding a decent amount of useable surface area. This is especially handy when I’m working with anything particularly messy because I can easily reach for the faucet and scrape any scraps or spills right into the sink. Most importantly, it functions as a separate prep station that I can easily pack up and hide when company comes over (not like that’s happening these days).

It also has a ridge that’s mega helpful — and I’m now convinced all cutting boards should have one. This ridge keeps ingredients from rolling away and, when flipped, hugs the edge of my sink or counter nicely, keeping the board from sliding around. And although this cutting board is enormous, the ridge makes storage a snap. I simply hang it from the side of my kitchen table, where the board’s 90-degree-angled corner snugly grips the table’s edge.

At about $20, this attractive, multi-purpose cutting board has done more for my kitchen than any other organizer has. If I had the space, I’d buy another in a heartbeat.

Do you live with limited counter space? What’s your best tip for adding prep space? Tell us in the comments below!