At its most basic level, a trash can “has to work,” says Julie Carlson, founder and editor in chief of Remodelista. But that doesn’t mean it can’t please the eye. When Carlson moved from Mill Valley, California, to a Brooklyn apartment about two years ago, she lost her in-cabinet waste bin and had to find one that fit in her small kitchen.
“If it’s not a built-in situation and you can pull out a drawer, then the trash can is really going to be front and center,” she says. Most of our experts would agree that when a wastebasket is out in the open, you should consider features such as a lid that opens with a foot pedal, stainless-steel material to prevent odors, and compartments to separate recyclables. Ultimately, find one that you won’t mind looking at and using, because after ovens and refrigerators, the trash can is a star kitchen workhorse. As Carlson says, “At the end of the day, you’re going to get pleasure out of a beautiful trash can.”
“When you really have no room, you’ve got to get your trash can inside of a cabinet,” says Maxwell Ryan, founder of Apartment Therapy. He would know: He has a small two-bedroom apartment in New York’s SoHo neighborhood.
“The simplest solution involves classic Rubbermaid plastic trash cans, which fit nicely behind your lower doors and have a nice, wide mouth to throw stuff in.” Want to make it really cool and efficient? Install a Rev-a-Shelf container ($36 for the 20-quart size, amazon.com), which puts a simple plastic trash can on a gliding track for easy access. Multiple sizes and configurations are available, as are lids.
For her own kitchen, Carlson bought the sleek Frisbee Trash Bin by Frederic Perigot ($324, store.luminaire.com). It is precision-engineered, made of epoxy metal and closes silently. “I knew that one of the first things I wanted to do was get that trash can,” she says of her move to New York.
Designers consistently recommend Simplehuman’s trash cans, and for good reason. Says Virginia- and Paris-based interior designer Kathryn Ivey: “They are attractive, come in a variety of sizes and you can purchase…