Home Town's Erin Napier Shares Advice For Clutter-Free Kitchen Countertops

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Since first moving into their home as newlyweds, Ben and Erin Napier have made relatively few adjustments to their '80s-era kitchen. "Way back in 2011 when we bought our house, we did an $8k renovation on our kitchen and we drove 6 hours to buy affordable solid maple butcher block slabs for the countertops. And we loved them," wrote Erin in an Instagram post. In time, however, their kitchen began to feel dated, and the power couple behind HGTV's hit series "Home Town" decided that they were ready to launch their own major remodel. The grand reveal of their new kitchen is gorgeous, but Erin explained in an interview with HGTV that some of the most impactful changes were small ones — the illusion of more counter space. Instead of fighting with clutter and constantly rearranging appliances, Erin Napier recommends investing in aesthetically pleasing appliances you won't want to move. "If you use it constantly, find one that isn't an eyesore and leave it on the counter," she said (via HGTV). 

Erin's trick to clearing up more counter space is to eliminate visual clutter by swapping it for visual pleasure. The great part about this concept is you don't need a big budget to implement it in your own space! Here's how Erin's design choices made her kitchen feel clean and spacious, as well as her advice for other clever ways to hide your small appliances for a clutter-free kitchen

Choose appliances with a decorative edge

Erin Napier's key to a clutter-free kitchen follows a rather straightforward rule: if it's going to be visible, it should add to the aesthetic. With kitchen countertop appliances, this can be a bit tricky. Many appliances only come in a limited range of colors or styles, especially if you're working with a budget, but take the time to do a little more research with aesthetic preferences in mind. "It's important to pace yourself and buy what you can afford WHEN you can afford it," explained Napier (via HGTV). 

A good place to start is with the appliances that are used nearly every day and constantly sit out on your counter. For many households, this probably includes the coffee pot, toaster, microwave, air fryer, or tea kettle. "I got a pretty inoffensive looking toaster oven and coffee maker because we use them ALL the time," said Napier (via HGTV). Instead of basic black or white, opt for a soft blue coffee maker in your coastal kitchen, like this Amaste coffee maker from Amazon for $70, or a pastel green Smeg toaster for $200 to round out your quirky vintage-inspired space. Cutting boards, cooking utensils, and any other visible cookware should also blend in and add to the aesthetic as much as possible. Investing in pretty appliances also allows you to rely less on purely decorative items, instead of surrounding your useful appliances in clunky décor.

Store unsightly appliances in a special space

If you can't afford to update all your appliances at once or you're hesitant to part with a beloved purchase, have no fear. The Napiers have no shortage of brilliant hacks to make your kitchen more aesthetic, including the concept of an "appliance garage" for the necessary but not-so-good-looking items. "I think it's silly to try to hide everything we use constantly," explains Erin Napier, "Leave it on the counter and don't worry about how it looks, and hide the things you use a little less in an appliance garage. For us, that's the ice maker and microwave."

What exactly is an appliance garage?  A functional way to create extra hidden appliance storage in your kitchen, an appliance garage is a large cabinet space, enclosed cubby, or even a pantry shelf where you can store items you don't use every day, such as the crock pot, blender, or a standing mixer. When you need to use one of these items, it's easy to swing open the cabinet door or pull it off the shelf and place it onto the countertop, but otherwise, the clunky appliance stays conveniently "parked" out of sight and out of mind.