The kickspace (also referred to as the toe kick) is the recessed space beneath your base cabinets. It came about as an ergonomic solution to prevent back strain caused by leaning over the cabinets while working. The toe kick’s original function was innovative for its time, but modern home design has evolved the space into being so much more.
In the Kitchen
Kickspace drawers have the depth but not the height of a basic drawer. Their dimensions make them prime storage for flat objects (think serving platters or cookie sheets). You might think that building the sliding drawers for your kickspace are limited to professional carpenters, but the project is totally DIY-able. The Family Handyman has a helpful guide to building toe kick drawers.
High traffic kitchens are no strangers to crumbs. Installing a kickspace vacuum in an easily accessible spot will help prevent the buildup of food, pet hair and other debris that finds its way onto the floor. If you have a central vacuum in your home, installation should be easy. If not, don’t fret—there are models for sale that don’t require central vac.
Pet Food Dish Holder
Another use for the area beneath your kitchen cabinets is a storage spot for your pet’s food and water bowls. Follow The Family Handyman’s drawer guide and install a plywood overlay with holes cut out. The best part? The often unsightly bowls will be tucked away giving you more floor space.
In the Bathroom
If you have kids who can’t quite reach the sink yet, one use for your toe kick is to create a step drawer for them. Ana White’s in-depth guide to building a vanity step drawer provides the visuals and tips for measurement to make this a weekend project.
No one likes stepping on cold tile in the winter months. Skip the tip-toeing and install a heater in your vanity’s kickspace. These heaters are out of sight, so no worries if they clash with your bathroom décor. A couple popular manufacturers are Broan and Beacon/Morris.
Add a bright accent to your bathroom with toe kick lighting. Attach LED tape lighting on the kickspace for a nightlight that adds style and safety to your bath. LED tape lighting is generally less expensive than rope lighting and you won’t need as much of it. Since your bathroom vanity doesn’t take up as much space lengthwise as your kitchen cabinets, this project will be easier on your pocketbook.
Extra storage is always welcome in a household no matter where it comes from. Modifying and decorating your cabinets’ toe kicks will add function or even a pop of color to an otherwise dull room. And sometimes making the most of your kickspace can be turned into a weekend DIY project.