'It doesn't need to be an eyesore!' 9 good-looking kitchen trash cans you won't mind having on display

These surprisingly stylish trash can designs won't need to be hidden away if you want to keep an aesthetic kitchen

A selection of trash cans
(Image credit: Future)

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.

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.

Oonagh Turner
Livingetc content editor and design expert

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.