Everything I Wish I Knew Before I Designed My Kitchen Command Center

Updated: Mar. 12, 2024

I wanted to get my family organized. The first step? Figuring out exactly what we needed from our kitchen command center!

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Every kitchen has two or three areas that are essential and functional, but not so pretty to look at. I’m talking about the junk drawer full of menus and rubber bands, the dumping ground for mail and the spot where your kids empty their backpacks and leave dreaded stacks of school papers.

To help with the last two issues, I decided I needed a kitchen command center. Here’s what happened!

What Is a Kitchen Command Center?

It’s a designated place to put all the things you need to keep the household running smoothly. It can take many forms. You can have a wall command center, a spot on the counter or even the side of your fridge—but the components are usually the same. Your kitchen command center should include a calendar and a place for paper management; other extras might be a charging station, hooks for backpacks or keys and a board to write down your family’s grocery shopping list and meal plan for the week.

I decided our command center needed to serve two main purposes: display our family calendar and corral school papers and homework.

Where Should a Command Center Be Placed?

My kitchen has an open floor plan, so there’s a lot of wall space, but I want to reserve most of the walls for artwork or photos. I also didn’t want a calendar full of scribbled doctor appointments and papers displayed prominently for everyone to see. So for my command center, I landed in the hallway right next to the kitchen. It’s near my kids’ bedrooms, so they walk by every day on the way to breakfast, but it’s out of the way enough that it’s not a focal point of the kitchen.

How to Set Up a Kitchen Command Center

kitchen command centerErica Young for Taste of Home

I decided my first step was to find a calendar. I wanted something with enough room to write down schedules and appointments for me, my husband and our three kids. I also wanted to find the right aesthetic. I hoped to coordinate with my kitchen, which is mainly white, black and wood tones with gold accents.

I considered this acrylic calendar (which is beautiful but ultimately I wasn’t crazy about the transparency) and I almost went for this oversized Paper Source calendar (but knew I’d need to buy a new one every year).

Finally, I landed on a wood-framed dry-erase calendar (there’s a similar whiteboard calendar on Etsy). It was large with a modern design, and I loved the look of the solid wood frame. Perfect!

After I ordered the calendar, I shopped for wall-mounted file pockets. I have two kids in school, so I wanted a file for each of them. I lucked out finding my woven basket-style pockets at HomeGoods, but I was tempted by this three-tiered organizer at Kohl’s.

Once the two main functions were nailed down (calendar and paper management) I could move on to the fun decorative details. A brass wall clock from Target coordinates well with the rest of the schedule-driven items and will hopefully help my young kids learn to tell time. Some cute knit artwork reminds my kids to be kind before they head off to school, and a small wall planter adds a bit of greenery. You can never have too many plants!

The Finished Project

I love the clean design and I love the everyday use we’ve already gotten out of it. My kids know where to put their homework and permission slips; and instead of asking me how many days until their field trip, they can just glance at the calendar. It’s an easy project that anyone can do in a weekend, with a huge payoff.

Kitchen Command Center Ideas

Need more inspiration? I don’t blame you—once I started looking at command centers on Instagram, I couldn’t stop! Here are a few more beautiful and organized command centers that will get your wheels turning.