A Pot Rack in Its Proper Place
It's the seeming salvation of every cabinet-space-challenged homeowner: A restaurant-style pot rack to reduce clutter in the kitchen. People are drawn in by a vision of gleaming pans within easy reach, hung from the ceiling by a pot rack in almost any style you can imagine: contemporary stainless steel, colonial-inspired wrought iron, even natural woods and custom-designed combinations of materials. But will it work for you?
"The concept definitely looks good on paper," says Monica Ricci, an organizing expert and owner of Catalyst Solutions in Atlanta. "Pot racks free up space in the cabinets for other items, too — specialty appliances, big pieces you only use for entertaining..."
But not everyone is comfortable with the "visual stress" of having all the cookware in plain view. A pot rack is not a good idea "if you have pots and pans that are... how can we put it...not visually appealing?" says Ricci.
And there are other factors to keep in mind beyond publicly exposing your dingy cookware. Dalia Tamari, owner of Dalia Kitchen Design in Boston, advises anyone going into a pot rack purchase to avoid these pitfalls:
Blocking light. "A pot rack's a minus if you hang pots and pans where they block the light source from above or a window," says Tamari. "Of course, if you incorporate lighting into the pot rack, you get back what you lost."
Obscuring a more beautiful focal point. "So many [people] are opening up their kitchen designs to the dining room or family room, and making something like a copper range hood the focal point of the open arrangement," says Tamari. "A pot rack doesn't look like much in your hand, but loaded it's a big element, and you don't want it to block a focal point or artwork."
Hanging cookware you don't use often. It will start out looking great, but after a while it accumulates dust, which is not a display you want at the center of your kitchen design." At the same time, says Tamari, "To get the effect you see in a chef's kitchen with the copper racks, your cookware on display should be clean and sparkling, not burned on the bottom or stained and crackeds."
Dangling pots and pans over a cooking area. "The only thing above a cooking space should be a vent," she says. "You see those glorious pictures of copper pots hanging above the stove, but that's where it would get all the grease from the cooking. The best place for a pot rack is above an island you use for prep work."
Hangin' too high. "You don't want to get out the stepladder to reach your pots and pans!" says Tamari, a frequent guest on HGTV's Kitchen Designs. "Instead, you should be able to reach the pans without stretching too much, without running any risk of getting hit in the head with a pot."
If you can find a proper spot for a pot rack, there are thousands of styles suitable for any decor. Here are three, just for starters:
Steel Worx contemporary pot rack with downlights: Shiny and new with a satin nickel finish, it features 10 pot hooks, a four-foot chain, eight-foot wire and a spot for two 50-watt downlights.
Kathy Ireland-A Cafe Tuscany Village Pot Rack Chandelier: Quite a bit fussier, it employs a European country style with two down lights and six chandelier-style lights with matching shades and a dark bronze finish.
Buffalo Creek Design sled pot rack: Simple and clean, this pot rack is designed along the lines of an old-timey Flexible Flyer, appropriate for country-style, eclectic or modern kitchen designs. It has eight pot hooks, and these folks hand-craft all their pot racks from oak, cherry or reclaimed barn wood.
Kitchen Designer, Dalia Kitchen Design
Professional Organizer, Catalyst Organizing Solutions