This is where to put a trash can in a small kitchen, according to designers

When mood boarding our dream kitchens, trash can location isn’t usually at the top of our lists, but there are three reasons not to overlook it – especially if you’re tight on space.

First, for a truly functional design, a small kitchen needs to be looked at as a whole, with lots of moving parts. Second, a trash can that’s far away is inconvenient, making everyday tasks from putting away groceries to cooking breakfast that little bit less seamless.

Third, dedicating some of your small kitchen storage space to your food waste will improve the flow and overall aesthetic, therefore making the heart of your home feel more curated and stylish.

Where To Put A Trash Can In A Small Kitchen

The kitchen is the engine of the home, and making sure the layout works will keep things running smoothly. Knowing where to put the microwave in a kitchen can also make the space more practical. Here’s where to put a trash can in a small kitchen, according to kitchen designers.


‘I would always advise having the trash next to the kitchen sink and dishwasher, but also close to the food prep area,’ says Lucy Searle, global editor-in-chief at Homes & Gardens. ‘Doing so means that when you are prepping food, you can easily and quickly dispose of everything from tins to peelings, and when you are clearing away meals, you can easily clean plates of leftover food that you’re not saving before rinsing and transferring them to the dishwasher.

‘It forms a neat side to the kitchen triangle that cuts down on the number of steps you will need to take around the room.’

Lucy Searle has written about interiors, property, and gardens for over 30 years, starting within the interiors departments of women’s magazines before switching to interiors-only titles in the mid-1990s. Lucy is a serial renovator and also owns rental properties in the UK and Europe, so she brings first-hand knowledge to the subjects she oversees. She has also remodeled nine kitchens, so she has plenty of experience finding the best layout and placement for everything from the oven to the microwave.


One of the best trash can kitchen storage ideas we have seen is having it attached to the inside of a cabinet door, ideally the cabinet under the sink, as then it’ll be away from any cookware. This keeps the trash hidden, minimizing odors and helping make your home smell nice.

‘Hanging a trash can on the inside of a cabinet door is a great space-saving solution that can keep your kitchen looking clean and tidy,’ agrees Alessia Lamonaca, the owner and lead designer at New Mode Home. In all cases, she says it is best to choose a trash can with a lid. A trash can with a lid that fits securely is more hygienic and less likely to attract flies and other pests.


If you hate taking out the trash, this might make it less of an ordeal. As well as being easy to use, a tilt-out cabinet, available at Wayfair, gives you additional storage space with extra drawers, perhaps for storing spare trash bags and trash can odor eliminators at Walmart.

Another benefit of this option is that it provides some countertop space, and while you may not want to store items you use for cooking right next to the trash, it’s useful extra space for cookbooks and catchalls to help keep your kitchen organized.

‘I recommend a stainless steel or wood tilt-out cabinet,’ says New York-based interior designer Artem Kropovinsky. ‘For a more sophisticated look, choose a tilt-out cabinet that matches your kitchen cabinets. This option provides a luxurious feel as well as the extra storage space,’ he adds.

This sturdy and functional cabinet currently has 16% off and keeps trash and recycling concealed.


When planning your layout ideas for the kitchen, it is important to consider waste, says Jackie Schagen from Jackie Schagen Design. It is possible to break up the space by creating zones. For example, you can create a cooking zone, a social space, and a cleaning area. This will make it easier to plan and allow more people in the kitchen.

She says that ideally, the clean-up area should have a pullout waste bin on one side and a sink in the center, with the dishwasher on the opposite side. Left to right is a matter of personal preference, but a sink sandwiched between the dishwasher and waste pullout is ideal.

Tucked into a nook

Zara Stacey is the content editor for Homes & Gardens. It depends on how your kitchen is shaped, but you can hide it in a corner or an unused area. This will keep it out of sight. It’s better to have the recycling and main trash can in one place than spread out. This will save you from having to walk back and forth.

Zara began working at Homes & Gardens as a content editor in February 2022. She studied English Literature at University and has worked at independent businesses as an Ecommerce website editor, content writer, and buying intern. Zara’s position at Homes & Gardens combines her passion for design with a desire to write inspiring content that will help readers transform their space.

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