How to hide a trash can in a kitchen – 5 tricks to beautify a kitchen

These five clever ways to conceal a kitchen trash can will instantly transform your cook space, experts say

A black kitchen with white counters, with minimalist decor
(Image credit: Jane Powell/Roundhouse)

There is more to creating a beautiful kitchen than picking out the best cabinets and hardware. We have to deal with the less glamorous aspects too – such as what to do with our trash cans. 

Hiding a trash can not only helps make a kitchen look better, but it also helps limit pests and banish bad kitchen smells, often making it a top priority for kitchen planners. 

These are the five ways you can conceal a trash can in a kitchen without compromising on practicality.

How to hide a trash can in a kitchen

Integrating waste management into your kitchen doesn’t have to start when you plan and design a kitchen, they can easily be added at any stage – even in an old kitchen to help spruce it up.  

1. Design a kitchen with a trash can drawer

pull-out trash can under kitchen sink next to dishwasher

(Image credit: Getty images / Aliaksei Shaviakou)

If you need to find a place to put a trash can in a small kitchen, a trash can drawer is the perfect solution, suggests Alisa Bresver and Kailey Kosher, interior designers at The Studio AxK:

‘We love a full drawer dedicated to your trash. Usually situated beside the kitchen sink, the entire drawer will have a bin that is divided in three: recycling, trash and compost, making it perfectly practical.’ 

2. Utilize the space inside the kitchen island

Kitchen with statement marble wall and black island

(Image credit: Far Studio/Brian Wetzel)

Large kitchen island ideas can add invaluable counter and dining space, but they can also waste precious storage space if they are not thoroughly thought out.  

Pam Hutter, architect and project manager at Hutter Architects recommends integrating a trashcan system into your island to make the most of the space while freeing up other cabinet space for general kitchen storage. 

When hiding a trash can in a kitchen island, Pam reminds us to situate it so that it does not hinder seating space to help make the most of your extended work surface. 

3. Pick a decorative bin

Much like hiding a laundry basket, sometimes hiding a trash bin is as simple as letting it blend into your decor. Although this might be trickier with a waste receptacle, there are plenty of high-end-looking trash bins that sit seamlessly in the corner of your kitchen without drawing as much attention as, say, a large stainless steel cylinder. 

One benefit to this approach is that your trash bin remains easily accessible. However, it may be more difficult to clean – so take this into account before picking out a beautiful wicker basket for your food waste. Maybe keep it for clean recycling instead.  

Tilt-out trash cabinet | $165.99 at Wayfair

Tilt-out trash cabinet | $165.99 at Wayfair
This sturdy and functional cabinet currently has 16% off and keeps trash and recycling concealed.

4. Add in a cabinet mounted bin under the sink

a pull out cabinet bin

(Image credit: Liudmila Chernetska via Getty Images)

You don’t have to wait to do kitchen remodel to hide your trash can, assures interior designers Alisa Bresver and Kailey Kosher. In the absence of a custom kitchen, cabinet mounted trash cans are the next best thing. 

‘Make sure you hide your trash and recycling underneath your kitchen sink for ease,’ she adds. ‘Amazon has some amazing options to create a functional under-sink storage/garbage solution.’

Pull-out Trashcans | $175.99 at Amazon

Pull-out Trashcans | $175.99 at Amazon
This pull-out trashcan can be fitted to almost any bottom cabinet in your kitchen to keep your waste concealed and out of the way. The two compartments make it simple to separate general waste from recycling, too.

5. Install a trash shoot

kitchen countertop trends, sage green kitchen with wooden kitchen island, white countertop, mosaic tiled backsplash

(Image credit: Hyphen)

If you are in the position to redesign your kitchen, then you could consider installing a flush countertop trash shoot so that you can scrap waste right into the bin, suggests Gabriella Dyson, Solved section editor at Homes & Gardens. This can be a great option for busy home cooks who need to keep their work surfaces clear while they cook.  

The benefits of hiding a trash can

vintage kitchen with an antique bobbin stool

(Image credit: Danielle Chiprut / Raquel Langworthy)

1. Reduces pest risks

While it might not be your first thought when hiding a trash can in a kitchen, sealing it inside a cabinet or drawer can help to deter pests and keep your kitchen cleaner, reveals Brett Bennett, Director of Operations at PURCOR Pest

‘Being out in the open, any flying or crawling insect can easily find it and become a problem,’ he explains. Just be sure to keep the area around the trash bin clean and regularly swap out the bag. 

2. Reduces smell

A kitchen trash can is one of the leading causes of bad kitchen smells, so locking it away or ensuring it has a good lid can help to make your kitchen smell nice – especially when paired with nice-smelling cleaning products to help bust lingering odors. 

If you're worried about the bin cabinet starting to smell, try cleaning it with vinegar to remove odors or allowing it to air out when you go to change the bag.  

3. It keeps a kitchen neat

No matter how hard we try, a kitchen trash can will always start to look ragged and dirty after a year or so of constant usage, although that’s perhaps unsurprising given what we put in them on the regular. 

Using a hidden integrated bin or a decorative bin will prevent the urge to replace it when it starts to look a little worse for wear, helping you save money and prevent excess waste. It’s a win-win.


How do you keep trash cans clean? 

The easiest way to keep a trash can clean is to wipe it every time you change the garbage bag using a disinfectant to remove spills and freshen up the scent. Then, every month, deep clean the trash can with soap and hot water to fully refresh the can. It also helps to ensure you never overfill the trash can to avoid the food touching the lid.

How do you baby proof a kitchen trash can?  

The easiest way to baby or pet-proof a kitchen trash can is to use a baby lock to keep the lid held down. However, this can get impractical when you need to put something in there with dirty or full hands. Alternatively, you can relocate your kitchen waste bin to the inside of a cabinet—this can help prevent pets or toddlers from knocking the bin over when they pass through.  

With a kitchen trash can neatly tucked away, a kitchen not only looks cleaner but can often function more efficiently, giving you more space to move around no matter the size of your cook space.  

Chiana Dickson
Content Editor

Chiana has been at Homes & Gardens for two years, having started her journey in interior journalism as part of the graduate program. She spends most of her time producing content for the Solved section of the website, helping readers get the most out of their homes through clever decluttering, cleaning, and tidying tips – many of which she tests and reviews herself in her home in Lancaster to ensure they will consistently deliver for her readers and dabbles in the latest design trends. She also has a first-class degree in Literature from Lancaster University.