Your trash can doesn't have the most glamorous job in the kitchen, but that doesn't mean it needs to be an eyesore. In fact, choosing a practical bin without any character is a missed opportunity to show off your interior design style. Instead, why not see your trash can as an opportunity to have some fun, turning it into a decorative addition that contributes to your kitchen color scheme or adding pattern to the room?
What's more, a tidy trash can that brings a little joy will also go far to brighten up the space, and maybe even make your task of waste management and sorting a little less of a chore. So whether you want something that is sleek and minimal, an built-in cupboard trash can, or something loud and full of character, here are 9 that have caught my eye and are perfect for any modern kitchen.
Material: Metal and MDF
Dimensions: 16"W x 13"D x 26.5"H
I like the rustic aesthetic of this buttery yellow bin from Walmart, and it's available for a steal and ideal for a more traditional-style kitchen. The lid effortlessly opens, and it is made from a durable material, crafted from low-emission, sturdy MDF board, which is good for the environment too.
Dimensions: 8.25 in diameter x 10.5 H
Who says you can't have fun with your bin design? There are a few variations of this pattern on Burke Decor, with a brightly colored polka dot pattern, but I like these monochrome stripes with a fun colorful blend of vivid greens on the interior.
Material: Stainless steel
Dimensions: 11.22"W x 15.24"D x 25.04"H
With a motion sensor, all you need to do is place your hand in the sensor range and the lid will open automatically for you. The rose gold colorway adds a bit of interest to your kitchen, while practically, the ring liner will hold and conceal the trash bag within the trash can.
Dimensions: 10.24"D x 20.47"H
For a more industrial kitchen design, this iron bin is a brilliant addition. With a gleaming iron exterior for extra sheen in your kitchen, and a traditional design, it's quite a cool style, available from Burke Decor.
Material: Stainless steel
Dimensions: 10.2"W x 19.9"D x 26.5"H
This buy from Target is a great find for a bargain price. Its slim-line style looks classy, while a pedal-operated lid allows for convenient hands-free disposal. This on-trend design also has a glossy fingerprint-resistant finish that adds style to your kitchen decor.
Material: Stainless steel
Dimensions: 12.3"W x 16.8"D x 25.5"H
With a gentle silent close function and a lid that opens at just the right angle, this is a clever design that is available in a variety of colors. I like the peach tone if you want to use your trash can to inject a little more color, but the stainless silver colorway is a great option too.
Material: Steel and wood
Dimensions: 31.5"W x 13.93"D x 32.83"H
The ultimate addition for a more traditional-style kitchen or even a Shaker kitchen, this hidden bin has a unique tilt function. This makes it really easy to use, while any unsightly bin liner is hidden out of sight and out of mind. It's available in grey, white and black.
Material: Powder-coated carbon steel and black recycled plastic inner bucket
Dimensions: 8.27"W x 19.69"D x 19.69"H
This design by fermLiving blends form and function, with a slick powder-coated carbon steel exterior in an elegant, oval shape. The removable bin liner is made from recycled plastic and if you invest in a duo of bins you can create your own practical at-home sorting system.
Material: Steel and plastic
Dimensions: 10.71"W x 26.73"H x 11.52" Dia
This metal can has a removable can liner, a soft-closing lid, and a stylish satin white finish that stops grubby fingerprint smears. I like the soft round shape of the trash can too, bringing sinuous curves to the kitchen.
What to consider when buying a trash can?
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When buying a trash can for your kitchen, there are a couple of factors to consider. Firstly, think about the size and shape. If you have a small kitchen, you don't want your trash can to be the dominating item of furniture in the room, so you might want to go for a concealed option that is hidden by cabinetry, or a smaller-sized trash can.
Think about the size of your household too, and how you sort and divide the waste. If you are big on recycling and like to separate food waste and recyclables into different bins, you might only need something small for the waste.
Next up, think about whether you want something with an open lid. If you're shopping for an all-encompassing trash can that gets everything and anything thrown in it, it will end up releasing foul odors if it doesn't have a proper cover. There are also trash cans that have handy motion sensors that mean you need only wave your hand in front of the lid for it to magically open - minimizing contact and the spread of germs around the kitchen. Just be careful when cleaning them, and don't get the motion sensor too wet to avoid ruining this smart function.
How to pick a design-forwrd trash can
Finally, design is a key consideration. 'Not all utilitarian objects in your home need to feel like one,' says Genevieve Ghaleb, principal designers at XYContemporary, a boutique interior design firm based in Montreal. 'Disguising your trash in an elegant vase rich in color and pattern (think chinoiserie umbrella stand!) takes it from eye sore to home décor!'
Think about the palette of your room and use design techniques like the 60-30-10 rule to make sense of the colors you have and their weighting in the space. An overly blue kitchen, for example, might look nice with red accents - a retro set of scales, toaster, kettle, and red trash can for example.
If you want to hide your bin or go minimalist, something slick and matt black helps it shirk into the background, or for something more industrial, go for the traditional iron look that brings a gritty edge to your kitchen.
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Oonagh is a content editor at Livingetc.com and an expert at spotting the interior trends that are making waves in the design world. Writing a mix of everything and everything from home tours to news, long-form features to design idea pieces on the website, as well as frequently featured in the monthly print magazine, she's the go-to for design advice in the home. Previously, she worked on a London property title, producing long-read interiors features, style pages and conducting interviews with a range of famous faces from the UK interiors scene, from Kit Kemp to Robert Kime. In doing so, she has developed a keen interest in London's historical architecture and the city's distinct tastemakers paving the way in the world of interiors.
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