Cabinetmakers, designers, and homeowners all spend a lot of time considering the myriad of elements involved in a kitchen or bath project. They peruse palettes of stains and paints ranging from white to dark ebony and consider countertops made of everything from Corian to quartz. They measure and place appliances and elements to ensure maximum ergonomics. And they pay particular attention to details that lend to the overall style of a space, such as door handles, cabinet pulls, detailed stone backsplashes and decorative lighting. But there is one element that the average homeowner doesn’t often think about: The trash can.
Trash receptacle placement can be tricky. You want it out of the way, but it still has to do its job. Most homeowners don’t think about the waste can as being an integral aspect of a kitchen or bath, but lucky for them designers and cabinetmakers understand that there are many ways to conceal this unsightly necessity. Sure you need to have it. But do you have to see it at all times? Personally speaking, friends visiting my home often can’t figure out where my can is hiding. What I can’t figure out is how they can stand the sight of their waste receptacles just floating around in the home. Blah!
While it’s true that there are a lot of sleek, stainless steel models available today, and they might look a lot better than the rubber cans of yesteryear, hiding the can is a small step that can have a big impact on keeping a space stylistically streamlined. Plus, no matter how “fancy” a stainless steel trash can is, it’s still a home for garbage! There are several ways to conceal a smaller can within a cabinet, and the ideal solution often depends on the size of the space and the budget.
In the kitchen, the easiest option is to place a tall trash can inside of your walk-in pantry. But if your pantry is a bit out of the way of your workspace, or doesn’t exist at all, then naturally the under-sink cabinet is the next best choice. It’s a great place to install a personal trash and recycling center. Usually one of the widest cabinets in the kitchen, it’s a convenient area to place pull- or roll-out racks that hold the trash can, along with containers for various recyclables.
The cabinet directly under the sink isn’t the only option. There are dozens of solutions available for organizing waste bins inside of cabinets, including undermount, side mount and bottom mount designs. And if a pull- or roll-out doesn’t work well, there are other choices, like tilt-outs — all of which work with your own cabinetry for a seamless look.
The roll-out the easiest style to incorporate when retrofitting. Many manufacturers make units that are designed to screw right into the interior base of a kitchen cabinet and mount to a front-facing cabinet door that glide in and out whenever you have something to throw away. Some of these units even have room to stash two cans at a time. Some styles may even have multiple sections that let you sort recycling or composting items in a covered section.
In the bathroom, where space is usually a premium, the tilt-out trash may be the best solution. There often isn’t enough space to use a full slide-out mechanism without knocking into the wall, or worse, the toilet. So having the can attached to the cabinet door and the hinge at the bottom lets you just tip the cabinet door in and out, saving a lot of space while still keeping garbage under wraps.
One company that offers all of the above is Häfele. In addition to the under, side, and bottom mount pull-out cans, the company also introduced a handy pull-out with a foot pedal. Now, when you have flour on one hand and an egg wash on the other, throwing something away won’t slow you down.
Rev-A-Shelf is another company that carries a variety of trash-concealing accessories. In fact, they’re the world’s largest manufacturer of functional storage organizing products. Their popular RV-Series Waste Container series is a durable, heavy-duty wire frame system that’s really easy to install and is backed by the company’s Lifetime Guarantee.
Of course, there’s more to trash than what we throw in the garbage can. Food waste can also be easily concealed for composting with today’s storage solutions. One popular feature many cabinetmakers are including recently is a cutting board featuring a hole or chute that leads directly to a food waste container. The slickest one I’ve seen was created by The Farm Chicks. They turned what was once a plain cabinet drawer into a cutting board workstation that lets scraps fall through the board, straight into the compost bin. Check it out on their blog.
If a homeowner has small children or pets, concealing the trash can is often a necessity. Otherwise, it’s still a smart thing to do that helps to streamline the kitchen and provide a look that’s cleaner in more ways than one.
What are your favorite ways to conceal trash and recycling? We’d like to know.