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It feels like there’s never enough room in the kitchen, especially when you live in a small apartment. Cabinets seem like they are thisclose to bursting open due to a plethora of dishes and appliances stacked on top of each other, plus a hodgepodge of ingredients for recipes you’ll get around to making one day. Of course, the counters are crowded, too, with the coffee maker, your cookbooks, a drying rack, and more. 

Sourya Venumbaka of Sové Home ran into this issue when she moved into a Philadelphia apartment with her husband, Franklin Burg. “I had to make all 600 square feet of this apartment work hard to cater to our new needs,” Venumbaka told Apartment Therapy when we published her House Tour.

What was their main issue? “Storage! There never seems to be enough. We actually got a storage unit so the [apartment] wouldn’t feel so cluttered,” Venumbaka said.

Of course, Venumbaka needed a place to store things inside her home, as well. And to do so, she thought up a super creative solution: Instead of taking up space with kitchen stools, she added two cabinets under her breakfast bar to function as a pantry. (See her full kitchen Before and After here!)

Sacrificing this sitting area wasn’t a huge loss to Venumbaka, as she and her husband usually didn’t sit down in the kitchen to eat. “It made sense to use that space for a pantry since storage was at a premium in our small kitchen. We didn’t need counter stools since we always ended up eating on the couch anyway,” she said.

Before purchasing a cabinet to go under your own counter, be sure to carefully measure the area. After calculating the dimensions of her space, Venumbaka purchased IVAR cabinets from IKEA, and to make the cabinets a perfect fit, she added legs so the cabinets would be flush with the bottom of the counter. 

A skilled DIYer who knows her way around power tools, Venumbaka personalized her cabinets by removing part of the doors and adding cane webbing and cabinets pullers. For simple ways to add character to cabinets like these, you could go with stylish knobs or paint or stain the cabinets. 

Venumbaka said these cabinets are great for storing items you don’t use every day.  They’re also ideal for storing snacks, she said — since it’s easy to access them from the living room while you’re binge-watching TV.