The humble toe kick is an often-overlooked design detail, and maybe for good reason: It stands practically underfoot, serving in fact only to give our feet a place to rest while we’re working at the counters and cupboards above. However, whether in the kitchen, bathroom or elsewhere, there is much you can do with a toe kick, so it’s worth taking a moment to think about this small design detail. Here are a few helpful design tips for the last place you’d ever think about looking.
Toe kicks are, as a rule, typically 3 to 4 inches high, and recessed 3 inches underneath a cabinet. This gives you room for your feet — or your toes, anyway — while you’re standing at the counter without wasting cabinet space or creating a pocket that’s too deep to clean.
However, a toe kick doesn’t have to be wasted space. Drawers for extra storage are the perfect use for this overlooked space.
They work great for wide, flat items, like specialty pans you don’t use every day …
… or a stepladder for when you need to reach those tall upper cabinets.
A toe-kick drawer can also house your pet food if you prefer to keep it out of the way between meals — or if your pet is a bit of an overeater!
Get a clean, classic look by matching the cabinets to avoid a visual break (especially perfect with statement wood floors).
For a richer, traditional look, add faux feet to the cabinet fronts to give built-ins a furniture-inspired feel.
Stainless steel (especially with stainless steel appliances) will let your toe kicks make a subtly modern statement.
Or you can use a hint of color or repeat a beautiful tile — both work great in darker spaces to add some life.
Underlighting isn’t just for cabinets. Glowing toe kicks look great in a space with other modern LED light sources (like in a ceiling alcove).
To make toe kicks disappear, try painting them black or using a dark material …
… or give them a mirrored finish, and your cabinets will appear to float.
Want other uses for your toe kick? Try a modern central vacuum system. You can incorporate a hidden suction port in the toe kick so crumbs and dust can be swept away without your even bending over.
And a toe-kick heat vent will keep you toasty during a meal in your breakfast nook or banquette.
Your guests (and you) will appreciate the extra effort, even if they have no idea that your toe kick packs such a design punch!