Ina Garten’s Kitchen Design Tricks Are Smart Shortcuts That Help Save Time

Ina Garten is a fan of time-saving shortcuts, such as using store-bought ingredients when cooking. Her kitchen design also has elements that keep things organized and easily accessible so Garten doesn’t waste any time when she’s testing a recipe or entertaining guests.

Ina Garten and Willie Geist and Ina Garten cook in the Barefoot Contessa star's kitchen during a Sunday Today segment
Ina Garten and Willie Geist | Mike Smith/NBCU Photo Bank/NBCUniversal via Getty Images

Ina Garten shared her best kitchen design shortcuts

While discussing her kitchen with Home Beautiful in a 2009 interview, Garten was asked for her recommendations for ways to save time with kitchen design.

When the interviewers asked, “How can the design of a kitchen help save you time and help create some shortcuts in your life?,” Garten shared some of her top tricks.

“There are so many ways from start to finish,” she answered. “First, that your refrigerator’s big enough, so that when you put stuff away, you don’t have to find it behind something else. So if you put something in — first, it lasts well if the refrigerator is a good refrigerator, it will last well. And that you don’t have to work really hard to find it in the middle of six other things.”

Garten also has two dishwashers in her kitchen, which is a huge help since she’s always dirtying pots, pans, and dishes. “Two dishwashers certainly saves a lot of time because you can do all the dishes at one time,” she explained.

Ina Garten offered her kitchen organization tips

Garten also mentioned one of her pro-tips — get a deep sink that can hold a lot of items so that while you’re entertaining guests in the kitchen, everything dirty can be placed out of sight.

“A good deep sink is great because you can put dishes in it and go have dinner and you’re not looking at the dishes,” she explained.

Garten also likes to organize items so they’re not piled up. “I think particularly, if things aren’t stacked on everything else, it’s so much easier to cook,” she noted.

“Another thing I do is I have things out a lot. I don’t put my KitchenAid mixer away — I leave it on the counter,” Garten explained. “Everything’s white … they all go together, stainless steel and white.”

“And I have big jars with all your equipment in it — whisks and spatulas and things — which can look messy, but I have all the metal things in one jar and I have all the white and wood things in another jar, so it looks neat, it looks orderly,” she added.

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The ‘Barefoot Contessa’ star applies a few rules to her kitchen design

Garten was also asked what wisdom she had to give to her fans when it comes to kitchen design. The Barefoot Contessa star shared some rules that revolve around simplicity that can be applied to design, but also to cooking and entertaining in general.

Not surprisingly, Garten is a fan of simplicity.

“I think there are sort of a few rules that I play by and I think that’s: keep it really simple and keep it true to what’s fun,” she explained. “Anything that gets in the way of that is really counterintuitive.”

As an example, she shared how entertaining doesn’t have to be complicated. “I just think when people come, they’re expecting something fabulous. And when they end up having a simple meal in the kitchen, if it’s turkey meatloaf and parmesan smashed potatoes, they feel comfortable, they feel relaxed, and that’s when people really connect with each other,” Garten explained.

“And that for me is the goal,” she added. “I think the takeaway is keep the kitchen simple, keep the food simple, and you’ll have a really good time.”

“Make it really simple,” she continued. “It takes a lot of confidence to do that but I think people will find the simpler you keep the kitchen, the simpler you keep the food, the more fun people will have.”

“And that’s really what it’s all about,” Garten added.