I Finally Bought This $20 Thing for My Kitchen and I Can’t Believe I Didn’t Get One Sooner

updated May 1, 2019
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(Image credit: Jessica Isaac)

I stand at about five feet and three inches, and I’ve yet to live in a house with a kitchen designed for not-so-tall people. While I appreciate maximizing wall space with cabinets that reach the ceiling, over the years it has become incredibly annoying to drag a chair away from my kitchen table or climb onto the counter to get something down from the top shelf. And because I like to keep my kitchen fully stocked with baking ingredients, snacks, and booze, there’s always something on the top shelf.

The obvious solution? Probably a step stool. The problem? My ongoing mission to cut back on both clutter and unnecessary spending. I’ve written before about living in small spaces and cooking in tiny kitchens, and as a young, single person, budget is a perennial concern.

I’m always up for a creative challenge, so I tried to avoid buying a step stool for as long as possible. But after realizing that I’m in my 20s and am most likely not going to have another growth spurt, I caved and bought a step stool at (where else?) IKEA.

(Image credit: IKEA)

Buy: BEKVÄM Step Stool, $20 at IKEA

Because I don’t own a home yet and will probably bounce around apartments for the next few years, I wanted one that would match any decor. I chose this birch model (it also comes in white) from the Swedish superstore. For around 20 bucks, it was an affordable, chic solution to pretty much all of my vertical challenges.

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Kikkerland Step Stool, $13 (Image credit: Amazon)

3 Other Step Stools We Love

In my current apartment, this step stool lives where my kitchen counter ends and the dining area begins. (It’s not collapsible, so it’s always out, which I know a lot of you will scoff at, but I have learned to love having it around.) Its cozied up next to a paper bag that I use for recycling, and since it’s a super-neutral color, it’s barely noticeable.

When the stool isn’t being stepped on, it serves a variety of alternative purposes. I use it as a platform for shopping bags while I unload groceries, or sit on it so I can get a front-row seat to whatever show is going on inside my oven (it’s usually banana bread and I always know how it ends, but I still like watching).

I often keep a pair of shoes on the lower step, since the entrance to my apartment immediately leads into the kitchen. It’s a great place to let rain-soaked sneakers dry out, and it’s also an ideal spot to keep slippers. (There’s nothing better than cozy footwear waiting for you when you get home after a long day.) Yes, I sometimes have to clear off the shoes when I need to move the stool into position, but even that is easier than my old chair-getting method.

Fun fact: I like the look of this step stool so much, I recently bought a second one to keep in my bedroom, where it functions as a plant stand.

There’s only one drawback to this step stool in particular: the assembly process. I’ve grown pretty confident after many years of experience with IKEA assembly, but it definitely gets frustrating. This step stool looks SO simple that I figured it would take 10 minutes, but I spent closer to an hour putting it together. For the price, though, I think it’s still worth it. I just really don’t know why I didn’t cave and get one sooner.

Do you have a step stool in your kitchen? If so, where did you get it and how much did you pay for it?