What is an appliance garage? Say hello to the kitchen trend that hides unsightly countertop clutter

Appliance garages promise a beautifully organized countertop. We take a look at some inspiring ideas to make them work

a sliding appliance garage in a kitchen
(Image credit: Jean Bai. Design: Blaine Architects + Marshall Interiors)

An appliance garage is every minimalist's dream. If you're fed up with your kettle, toaster and coffee machine disrupting your kitchen's clean aesthetic, this nifty little design hack is for you. 

Simple yet effective, this modern kitchen idea works by disguising any unsightly items on your countertop behind a door or screen to keep your surfaces organized.  Even if you take pride in a color-coordinated toaster and kettle, there really is nothing worse than wires, sockets and caddy tins cluttering up your kitchen countertop. If it doesn't contribute anything your overall design, why not hide it? An appliance garage makes that possible. As the name suggests, it offers innovative storage solutions that allow you store your appliances in their own designated 'garage'. 

'We utilize appliance garages any time we have an open kitchen,' architect Megan Blaine, co-founder of Blaine Architects + Marshall Interiors tells us. 'They keep the kitchens looking clean and tidy, while not sacrificing function.'

Interior designers and kitchen makers alike are embracing the ingenious kitchen trend as a more minimalist-inspired look. Here's how they can work for your space. 

Lilith headshot for bio
Lilith Hudson

Lilith is an expert at following news and trends across the world of interior design. She's committed to helping readers make the best choices in their homes through sharing practical tips and innovative storage solutions for sleek and clean designs that inspire. For this piece she researched the appliance garage trend and explains how to incorporate one in your own kitchen.

What type of door can you have on an appliance garage?

Sage green shaker style kitchen cabinets with a small appliance garage housing a coffee machine

(Image credit: Miranda Estes / Interiors by Popov)

Appliances garages take many forms. This kitchen storage idea gets its name from designs which use styles of doors that mimic that of a traditional garage door, such as lift mechanism doors and even tambours. 

However, now various kitchen designers have introduced their own take on appliance garages, including kitchen coffee bars with pocket or bifold doors. Some are in the form of small nooks which store only a toaster or kettle which make the perfect modern small kitchen idea to make a compact space seem bigger. 

On the other hand, larger cabinet versions take the form of a mini pantry with space for dinnerware, food shelves, and a spice rack, as well as a counter and plug sockets for appliances. Just make sure you let guests know where the kettle is hidden.

A dark green kitchen cabinet with bi-fold doors disguising an appliance countertop and shelving

(Image credit: deVOL kitchens)

Sliding doors are a good option too. In the kitchen of this Californian Eichler house, appliance garages are hidden behind the splashback. 'This appliance garage uses sliding glass panels on either side of the range to conceal the client's mixer, coffee makers, blender, and toaster, all of which get regular use in their kitchen, and are able to remain plugged in and ready for use,' Megan explains.

a modern kitchen with appliance garages behind the splashback

(Image credit: Jean Bai. Design: Blaine Architects + Marshall Interiors)

How do you create a hidden appliance garage?

While appliance garages can simply be incorporated into your kitchen cabinetry, but with a clever application, they can be disguised into your space, too. 

One home blogger who's installed her own take on this kitchen hack is Julia Marcum of Chris Loves Julia. Sharing her own version over on Instagram, she demonstrates how she took the meaning of appliance garage to a whole new level with a garage style shutter to disguise her kitchen goods. 

In the Instagram video, designer and home blogger Julia (Chris Loves Julia) demonstrates how her retractable appliance garage door opens upwards into the recess behind her cabinets. 'The upper cabinets are standard depth, and the door actually goes behind the cabinets,' she explains. 

Installed by Stoffer Home Cabinetry, the appliance garage is used to hide Julia's toaster, kettle, coffee machine and a host of other small appliances and device attachments. The panelling effect of the shutter - paired with the soapstone countertop and mushroom colored, shaker-style kitchen cabinet idea - creates a beautifully sleek, contemporary design that's easy to overlook at a glance.

A track attaches to the sides of the edges of the cabinets either side of the shutter door, allowing it to roll up behind the cabinets when raised with the handle. 'It fits all of our small appliances and once it's closed, you're none-the-wiser,' says Julia.

Minimal space is needed since the length of the kitchen countertop offers ample room for the variety of appliances. The appliance garage itself has a depth of roughly a foot, while the entire countertop (when the door is raised) totals 37 and a half inches.

Color & Trends Editor

Lilith Hudson is the Color & Trends Editor at Livingetc. Writing news, features, and explainers for our digital platform, she's the go-to person for all the latest micro-trends, interior hacks, and color inspiration you need in your home. Lilith discovered a love for lifestyle journalism during her BA in English and Philosophy at the University of Nottingham where she spent more time writing for her student magazine than she did studying. After graduating, she decided to take things a step further and now holds an MA in Magazine Journalism from City, University of London, with previous experience at the Saturday Times Magazine, Evening Standard, DJ Mag, and The Simple Things Magazine. At weekends you'll find her renovating a tiny one-up, one-down annex next to her Dad's holiday cottage in the Derbyshire dales where she applies all the latest design ideas she's picked up through the week.