Do you have a blind corner?

melanie1422April 4, 2009

I am trying to decide if I can use a blind corner or not in my layout. If you have a blind corner, do you have any sort of device inside? What size opening do you have? What can you put inside?

I've searched, and apparently they aren't popular, but I think it might be the best solution for my kitchen. Help!

Thanks in advance!

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I'm a cabinetmaker who has written a number of blogs on this very subject. My partner and I disagreed quite a bit on it, as he thinks the customers should get what they want, and in some quarters, the many devices that have been invented to "solve" the blind corner problem are quite popular. But note the quotes around "solve." I put them there because, in fact, none of these devices really solves the problem.

It involves some math and logic, which I won't reproduce here, but I can say absolutely that the solutions to getting to the storage space in that blind corner either involve taking up perfectly useful space on other side of the blind corner, or don't really have as much storage space as they appear to at first blush. The most effective one of these solutions produced about 10% more storage space then would have been had by simply boarding up the blind corner and making standard storage space on the two legs leading into the blind corner. And quite a few of them result in LESS storage space.

I did quite a bit of research on this item, because my own kitchen (still awaiting a remodeling) is much too small and will remain so, so every square inch of space is very much at a premium. Even so, when I do remodel our kitchen, I mean to simply board up that blind corner and put in simple drawer banks on the legs.

It's a controversy that continues to rage in some areas. Woodweb, which is a site for professional cabinetmakers has a ton of comments on this very subject, but the one that stayed with me is the guy who, when asked what kind of Lazy Susans and the like that he uses for blind corners said, "I don't use them. I talk my customers out of them on the grounds that they're a waste of their money and my time."

Here is a link that might be useful: Cabinet & Furniture Trends & Information

    Bookmark   April 4, 2009 at 1:22PM
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> The most effective one of these solutions produced about 10% more storage space then would have been had by simply boarding up the blind corner

That's just swell if you have a kitchen which, like many here, is larger than my whole house. As someone who lived a long time in a place with an unxepandable 6 x 10 kitchen with an 18" base and a 24" base (my total base cabinet storage) and the useless boarded up corner, I can tell you that while I'm sure it's not the case for your customers, there are a lot of us to whom that 10% is worth some inconvenience.

    Bookmark   April 4, 2009 at 1:34PM
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So, you think I would be better served to just put in two drawer banks and just give up on the corner all together? That is one option I had considered.

The area between the sink and the stove is 48" x 41". I was thinking about using a 21" drawer base, a 3" filler, a blind corner with a 15" opening (41" cabinet). Or, I could just go with a 21" drawer base, 3" filler, 24" x 24" dead space, 2" filler, 15" drawer base. Do you think I'd do better to just give up on the corner? I have such a small kitchen and I'd hate to give up any space.

    Bookmark   April 4, 2009 at 1:43PM
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Writersblock, your kitchen seems to be about the same size as mine...what do you think I ought to do?

Mine is 11'1" x 7'8". I can't do anything to expand it - its already cantilevered over the driveway a little. I already tore the wall down into the dining area part and I'm putting the fridge in there. I just don't have many options.

    Bookmark   April 4, 2009 at 1:53PM
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Can you post a floorplan, melanie? These small kitchens all have their own little quirks and it's really hard to make generalizations. There are situations where drawers (I love drawers) would maybe be better, but in my case there just wasn't anywhere else in the whole kitchen for storing things like tall stockpots.

    Bookmark   April 4, 2009 at 2:23PM
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Well, there's total space, and total conveniently usable space. I have two blind corners on one wall in my new layout (down from three on two walls in my old one), and have two other totally blind cabinets. Because I'm doing lower drawers there's really no way to capture any of the corner space except by doing some kind of corner solution. They'd run into each other, or else I'd lose space making them not run into each other. My choice was corner drawers, that pull out on the angle. These don't add space (i.e., a lot of the corner space is lost), but they're more convenient to get at.

In a top cupboard (accessible by ladder only), and in a lower next to my laundry sink, I borrowed a solution from Arlosmom (I think it was Arlosmom), called the "Costco cabinet"). They have pullouts that pull into the space next to the corner where the door is, and are only for things that need storing but not getting at often, since one has to clear things out of the way to pull them. These are much more stable than the wire contraptions that swing on levers, and hold more in both cupboards.

In my other upper corner I have standard shelving with a bifold hinged door going in. Makes it easy to see what's up there and get at it.

In my current kitchen (going) I have 3/4 susans in the lower blind corners, and no cabinets in the uppers and laundry. The susans that are mounted on shelves, without center poles, are very useful. The 3/4 ones (where the corner is still 90 degrees) spin outside of the box, and therefore act like pullouts, making it easier to see what's in there. The shelf also helps when small things fall off. They're not all that hard to get at. These can either have bifold hinged doors. Another way of doing this, which is harder to get fallen things from, but otherwise has advantages is to mount the trays on the door, instead of shelves. Then the door rotates into the cabinet revealing the contents.

Some people love full circle susans with a door angled across the front.

The math: There's the 12" from either side that could be cabinet space if the doors/drawers didn't clank (I get the same amount of space with my corner drawers), and then there's the part that completes the circle. So 24"x24" is the squared off space, which is 576 sq. in. My susans have a radius of 14.625, which, if they were full circle, would have an area of 672 sq. in. The wedge out of the 3/4 susan is 10", removing an area of 78.5" for a total area of 596.5 square inches. The difference between the full circle and drawers (or built to the edge), is 96 sq. in., or about 17%. It's probably more like 20% in real life because I was using outside dimensions for the lost cabinet run space, and more or less real dimensions for the susan.

I don't know why I thought doing geometry this morning would be fun, but in the end, assuming you have frameless cabinets (which have more accessible storage as well, and full overlay--i.e., clank--doors and drawers), these are the options I know of for blind corners:

Corner drawers -- equal space to running to the ends, solves clank. Actually a little more, because there are the added triangles in the front, which are good for small things like spoons and teaballs.

3/4 susan -- All told maybe 4-5% more space. Easy access.

Full circle susan -- About 20% more space.

Blind cupboard mechanisms -- unknown capacity. Not for the arthritic, because you have to kind of crawl in to unjam them when things fall off.

"Costco cupboard" a la Arlosmom -- as much storage as any other cabinet with pullouts, just really hard to get to, and not suitable next to drawers. May also require a stile on large, otherwise frameless, cabinets.

    Bookmark   April 4, 2009 at 2:52PM
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joseph espouses a dislike of blind corner storage systems. It's a rather common attitude among cabinet makers, based on the extensive time I spent researching, on Woodweb in particular. I think there is an "insider's attitude" amongst some cabinet makers that accounts for that negativity.

I call it an attitude since so many owners, as opposed to builders, of such units seem very happy with them. For example, see this older GW thread:

What do you think of your blind corner swingout?

The vast majority of owners appear to love their units. Thus, I find comments like the one joseph quotes ("I talk my customers out of them on the grounds that they're a waste of their money and MY time"--my emphasis) condescending and arrogant (it's all about the cab maker's time, not the customer's desires). There are many solutions, as pillog outlines, and others not mentioned.

In particular, the Hafele systems get generally rave reviews. We use one for the blind corner formed by the inside right angle of our "L" shaped island. We have a Hafele LeMans unit. It gives significant, easily used storage using an area that would be completely inaccessible otherwise. It's well engineered, we have never had anything fall off of it, and FWIW, it's a crowd pleaser in action.

Hafele LeMans blind corner unit and video

Does it use every bit of the otherwise lost space? Of course not. But it is more space, and I believe you can never have too much. If you are doing a bare bones renovation, the cost may not make sense. But, if like so many others on GW, you're looking at Bluestar ranges and Subzero fridges, the cost is a tiny percentage of the total. We certainly don't regret the choice.

    Bookmark   April 4, 2009 at 4:21PM
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Clinresga, thanks for that link! Those are very cool. Much better than the levered mechanisms. It's kind of like two half circles squished together, huh?

Do you ever have items fall off and jam up the cupboard? How hard is it to get inside and clear them?

    Bookmark   April 4, 2009 at 4:36PM
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I have a blind corner and it is designed not to be wasted. On one side of the blind corner is the 36" sink base and on the other is the garbage pullout and a bank of drawers. I had my contractor replicate the blind corner I had in my previous kitchen. He cut a hole in the sink cabinet side (my cabinets are all plywood construction). He then framed the wall at the top (to hold the granite counter) and the bottom. On the bottom frame he screwed in a plywood floor. He painted the whole area in the wall color. I use this space for my large turkey roasting pan and other less used large lightweight items. I have a two wire shelf that I slide in there. I put a stick on LED light in there and it makes it easier to see. I have attached a link to my PICASA album of the renovation. The last two pictures show the blind corner space.

Here is a link that might be useful: Kitchen renovation

    Bookmark   April 4, 2009 at 5:51PM
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pillog: I think the Hafele units (both the LeMans we use, as well as the Magic Corner) are entertaining, high end geeky solutions to the blind corner problem. I suspect the Magic Corner actually gives more storage--I was leaning towards it, the cabinet maker and DW the LeMans and thus I was outvoted--but the LeMans is fun and easy to use. It has this complex, rather sinuous back and forth motion when it pulls out (which you can see pretty well on the Hafele video) which is fun.

The shelves have a roughly 1'' elevated steel rail. We only keep relatively large items on it--large glass containers of flour, sugar, etc, and a few appliances, plus the huge container of dog food--and thus don't worry about small items falling off. I did have something fall off early on, and it was the usual stick your head in and fish around. Same as if you have something fall off a lazy susan.

Certainly not the most cost effective solution, compared to simple options like maria's, but it is the sexiest drawer pullout I've ever seen.

    Bookmark   April 4, 2009 at 6:58PM
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Okay, I think I have decided on the blind corner. Cabinet guy #2 and Joseph sound very alike, but Cabinet guys #3 & #4 seem to think it would be no problem.

Now to decide how much space I need to open the blind cabinet door. I haven't decided if I want a mechanism or not, but most mechanisms require a 15" opening - or more. Is 15" enough? Could I get away with less? 14" would be really great.

Writersblock, here is my layout. I don't have any tall stockpots - I use a wide pot or a dutch oven for most things you'd make in a tall stockpot. I want to have a good sized table in the middle. I know I need filler in at least two places, so the sink wall cabinets may have to be somewhat narrower to accommodate.

I am planning on inset cabinets, which give me less space than say, frameless with full overlay. Cab guy #2 actually offered to make frameless insets (!) but he did say that he thinks they look kind of "funny".

p111og, I have seen those corner drawers! They look awesome, but I don't think they'll work in my kitchen. I like the idea of a Costco cabinet - I wonder how big the opening has to be? Why would it not work next to drawers? I really don't fit I could fit a corner cabinet, with a 3/4 or a full circle susan. I've tried, but its just not working.

clinresga, I have looked at the Hafele units. I wonder if I would get as much space with a Lemans as a Magic Corner II? Thanks for the link to that thread - it really helped me be sure that I DO want a blind corner.

Maria, thanks so much for the photo of your blind corner! My mom has a corner like that (except not through the sink! How clever!), and she loves it. The LED light is genius!

    Bookmark   April 4, 2009 at 7:06PM
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I'm sending along a link to an older topic about blind corners. There's a message from arlosmom (at Tue, Dec 30, 08 at 10:36) with photos of her solution and I think it's pretty creative.


Here is a link that might be useful: another thread with some blind corner suggestions

    Bookmark   April 4, 2009 at 8:14PM
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Ooh, I think Arlosmom has the best solution. That Costco corner is perfect! I wonder how big the opening is?

    Bookmark   April 4, 2009 at 9:24PM
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The Costco corner is a wonderfully simple solution. I would make the point that it does essentially what the Hafele Magic Corner (as well as the Lee Valley) unit does, but without the convenience of the slide out mechanism. Thus, if you want to slide the Costco corner "hidden" pullouts, you have to empty the cabinet first. The Magic Corner "empties" the main cabinet for you automatically, by pulling the first set of shelves out of the way while pulling the second set into place. Nothing that can't be done with the Costco approach, but just more elegant and timesaving (and expensive).

    Bookmark   April 4, 2009 at 10:15PM
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Yes, the only problem I'm having with the Hafele Magic Corner is that it requires a certain size opening, and I'm not sure I'll have that. Because nothing actually comes out, the Costco corner would work no matter what size opening I end up with. And, also, as you mentioned - its probably less expensive.

I plan to use that corner for things I really don't use very often - Bundt pan, double boiler, Cuisinart, etc. So if I have to take everything out to get to it, it won't happen very often.

The Hafele would be great though... does anyone know the opening requirements of the MCI or the Lemans? The MCII needs a 19 1/2" opening, which I just don't have. The Lee Valley says it has a minimum door width of 15" - is that the opening, or the door? I'm assuming its the opening, which means it wouldn't quite fit...

Thanks so much for all the help! I really can't tell you how much I appreciate all the advice.

    Bookmark   April 4, 2009 at 11:07PM
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I currently have three blind corners in my kitchen. I *absolutely* hate all three of them. This is one of the big reasons for re-doing my kitchen. I have arthritis in my neck and I can't stand getting down on my hands and knees just to pull out a pot or pan. I am replacing the two bottom blind corners with super susans at 90 degrees on the bottom and changing the one blind L-corner with a diagonal door cabinet up top.

This is a top priority for me. I looked at the rev-a-shelf components for the blind corner cabinets and decided to go with the pie-shaped corner cabinets instead. At the end of the day, you need to be happy with your choices. I certainly would cut off the blind corner, though, especially if space is at a premium.

I think some of the blind corner inserts are too gadgetry for my taste.

    Bookmark   April 5, 2009 at 1:02AM
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Wow, a lot of posts. As I said in my original reply to Melanie1422, I did a lot of research into this issue when I wrote my series of blogs last year. It is, as I said earlier, too long a discussion to reproduce here, but those who are interested can pursue it at

I absolutely do not want to get into any kind of tit for tat discussion, but I did want to reply to the post that found the quote "I talk my customers out of them on the grounds that they're a waste of their money and my time" condescending and arrogant. Cabinetmakers do this sort of thing for a living. Ask for a quote on a remodeled kitchen, and he normally tells you how much per running foot, PLUS an added price for drawers and other extras. One of these extras is Lazy Susans or any other kind of blind corner "solution."

Understand, please, that the cabinetmaker is PAID for his time to make that Lazy Susan, but the one I quoted is, I think, essentially correct. Because they add so little to the usable storage space in a kitchen, they may well be considered a waste of a cabinetmaker's time. Certainly, they are a waste of the client's money. Of course, if a client absolutely insists on it, that's what the cabinetmaker makes, and since he is paid for his time, it is not a waste of his time, per se. But do they add to a kitchen? I say no, and say no most reluctantly because they really do look slick.

Also, Lazy Susans do not work in every blind corner. In my kitchen, there is a stove on one leg of the blind corner, so all I can do is use the "solutions" intended to access the blind corner from one of the legs. None of those really provides as much storage space as a simple drawer bank. And, believe me, with a kitchen as small as mine, I would kill for a storage solution that really added meaningfully to the total storage space, so it is, as I said, an issue that I researched most thoroughly, especially in view of the fact that my wife really wanted me to do something with that blind corner.

Excepting only the very rich, anyone who commissions a new kitchen has a budget, and all of the blind corner "solutions" cost extra, but none of them, as far as I was able to learn, really add much, if anything, to the usable storage space. I really feel that the wisest course of action is to install drawer banks on either leg and use that money for something else in the kitchen.

Finally, I will say that these comments apply only to base cabinets. I did see a number of solutions for the blind corners in upper cabinets, almost all of which add a lot to a kitchen, both in ambience and usable storage space. And they do so at a much more reasonable price.

Just my opinion, of course.

Here is a link that might be useful: Cabinet & Furniture Trends & Information

    Bookmark   April 5, 2009 at 2:05AM
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Melanie, I posted this in my finished kitchen thread in response to a q from spincrazy about our "magic corner". In our old kitchen, I had a lazy susan and loved it. However, in our new kitchen in one corner that wasnt going to work because of the sink and our cabinet makerÂs suggestions for the layout with two "matching" blind corners was one we really liked.

Here's what the cabinet maker originally wanted to put in:

It was clear that we would lose space in the far reaches of the corner because the shelves in the interior didn't extend all the way into the corner and there was wasted space. After much conversation (and me trying to convince the cabinet maker that in fact there was wasted space), the cabinet maker offered to custom build a wood shelf for the bottom of both corners. These pix show how much more we get out of those bottom shelves.

This is a view of the right corner. You can just see the wood shelf:

This is the interior of the left corner; you can see the wood shelf and how much bigger it is than the wire one:

We love this solution and even he had to admit we got a lot more space! :-)


    Bookmark   April 5, 2009 at 8:59AM
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