Have you ever seen a kitchen where the electrical outlet cover plates are cut crooked into the backsplash tile? In addition to being unsightly, it's a perfectionist's nightmare...like a crooked picture frame that can't be straightened. Not to mention it can be difficult to match plastic electric outlet and switch plates to a specific tiles and colors. For those reasons, we recommend hiding electrical outlets whenever possible to streamline your kitchen design.
"Leaving them out" simply isn't an option because building codes require them at mandated distances. Plus, building codes also require that certain outlets—those near sinks, for example—be GFCI (ground-fault circuit interrupter) outlets.
These specific outlets are designed to cut off the flow of electricity when they detect a stronger-than-normal current is passing through them - a sign that electricity may be trying to ground through a human, water or nearby object rather than the wires. These switches are the ones that have the "test" and "reset" buttons on their faces, which make them even more visible and less desirable on finished kitchen surfaces.
Hidden Outlets Make For Flawless Kitchens
Here are a few tips and ideas that to seamlessly integrate electrical outlets into your kitchen design.
Install Some Pop-Up Outlets
If you love the idea of your outlets being out-of-sight when you don't need them, and readily available when you do, pop-up outlets are a great option for you. Have your electrician install pop-up devices like the one shown below, they can pop-up or even pop-out from the side of an island or base-cabinetry. This option has gained recent popularity in kitchens, but it's best implemented during a kitchen remodel.
Add Outlet Strips Along the Upper-Cabinets
Perhaps one of the easiest and most popular options is to install strips of GFCI outlets along the upper edge of your cabinetry where it can't be seen at all unless you bend down and look up at it.
There are power-strips that are designed to do just that - in a variety of finishes - and they can be mounted parallel to your under cabinet lighting so they aren't visible. Another advantage, your cords can run right up behind countertop appliances so they are out of the sight line and less prone to getting tangled up or being splashed and splattered.
Low and Horizontal Outlet Strips
If you have countertop space without an upper-cabinet above it, consider placing outlets a little lower than normal, and horizontally, along the very start of your backsplash tile. This placement, combined with well-matched cover plates, will also help your outlets to disappear.
Use a Charging Station
Often, it's the things plugged in to the outlets that make the outlets stand out. For example, the outlet used by your coffee maker is often hidden by the coffee maker, whereas the outlet used by your smart phones and tablets resembles a small kitchen creature with multiple tentacles.
Get rid of this eyesore by converting a drawer or cabinet into a charging station with outlets that are hidden at the drawer or cabinet back. This keeps the outlets - and all the "stuff" - from contributing to kitchen clutter. If you have the space for it, you may want to expand this idea a bit and design a desk or bona-fide message center into your kitchen space.
Hide Your Outlets in a Breakfast Nook
A breakfast nook or coffee bar is another way to hide an outlet or two. By adding this to the end of a counter - perhaps in your peninsula - you can eliminate two challenges - eliminating countertop clutter and hiding outlets. Typically, these ares are recessed into cabinetry and they help to keep your morning coffee routine more neat and tidy.
Outlets Under those Island Counter Overhangs
Your island is another space where building codes and convenience demand an electrical outlet or two. If you only use occasional accessory appliances there, consider placing a concealed power strip underneath the counter overhang.
Looking for creative solutions to common (and uncommon) kitchen design dilemmas? Schedule a design consultation with Kitchen Magic and we'll brainstorm solutions with you.