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Dish drying racks get a bad rap — most are pretty unattractive plus they take up valuable space on our kitchen counters. But given they’re a necessary evil, we set out to find options that were both aesthetically pleasing and functional by asking the country’s top interior designers for their favorites.
Their picks — which include drying racks and mats — will not only elevate your design game, but will make it fun to do dishes. (Yep, you heard that right.)
Best dish racks and drying mats, according to experts
New York City-based interior designer Emma Beryl loves this Simplehuman dish rack. “I love this dish rack because it doesn’t take up a ton of counter space," she said. "It has special attachments for different types of glassware and utensils, a removable tray in case you need more surface area, plus an adjustable spout to route excess water from your dishes into your sink to keep everything dry. My favorite part is the wine glass holder — it clips onto the exterior of the rack, keeping glasses separate from everything else to minimize breakage.”
“I love having an over-the-sink drying rack because water drips land back in the sink, minimizing pooling on countertops, which is especially important when you’ve got marble," said Curated Nest Interior designer Erin Coren. Several interior designers we interviewed agree with Coren — and they can't stop raving about this option from Food52.
“This silicone-coated stainless steel dish rack fits over your sink and has slats that hold everything from lids to dish brushes to plates," said designer Maureen Stevens, based out of New Orleans. "It’s designed for multipurpose use — the utensil caddy doubles as a colander and the slat top makes the perfect cooling rack for baked goods like cookies. It’s also gorgeous with a Scandi minimalist vibe.”
“With this accordion-like dish rack, you can prevent clutter on your countertops and within your cabinets — just roll it up and put it in a drawer,” adds Nancy Charbonneau, principal designer and CEO of Charbonneau Interiors.
“I was seeking a sleek, modern dish rack for my kitchen remodel and this one [from Schoolhouse] met my standards in terms of both form and function," said Gina Gutierrez, founder and lead designer at Gina Rachelle Design in San Francisco. "Its beauty allows you to leave it on your countertop without it being an eyesore."
“I was looking for a chic and minimalist dish drying rack and this one fits the bill, with its white steel frame and the two ash wood handles," adds Toronto-based interior designer Tiffany Leigh Piotrowski. "It’s large enough to fit in everything but has a removable utensil holder if you need more space.”
Crate & Barrel is reliable for many high-end kitchen products, but interior designers also prefer them for drying racks! “This is my favorite dish rack because of its simple style and the fact that it’s so compact," said New York-based interior designer Michelle Zacks. "I [also] love the mix of materials — the wood handles lend a warm touch to the black metal frame."
“I love the sculpted shape and glossy finish of this sturdy and easy-to-use rack, which will definitely make a bold statement in any style kitchen," adds Brenda Danso, lead designer at DB Interior Design. "The two tiers and holding pegs make it easy for glasses to dry.”
“This is a great dish rack if you’re limited on counter space — pull it out when you do your dishes and then simply fold it up and place it under your sink cabinet when it’s not in use," said Ariel Richardson, founder and lead designer of ASR Design Studio in California. "The plate rack can be adjusted to make space for larger items like pots and pans, and there are clear plastic holders for utensils and a spout to make for easy draining. I also love that it’s easy to keep clean — just wipe it down with a paper towel before storing.”
“I love that this rack is expandable and that glasses dry completely within the rack so water doesn’t drip onto the countertop," adds Long Island-based interior designer Marlaina Teich.
“I don't love seeing drying racks on countertops — I prefer a microfiber drying mat that can be folded up and stored away when the dishes are dry," said owner and principal designer Kerri Pilchik. "This one [from The Container Store] is my favorite because it’s super absorbent. The cushiony three layers of microfiber and foam hold up to 4x their weight in water, which gets absorbed and evaporates instead of pooling beneath a rack. Plus, mats are easy to clean — just throw them in the washing machine at the end of the day.”
“I love this [Grove Collaborative dish mat] because it has a clean and simple design and the ability to fold for easy storage," said Haley Weidenbaum, interior designer and Everhem founder. "I recommend buying two — use one while the other is in the wash or if you need extra drying space for pots and pans.”
“This [drying set] was gifted to me when I had my first child and I quickly discovered what a great drying rack it was for young families," said Stephanie Lindsey, interior designer at the Austin-based Etch Design Group. "It’s extremely functional for bottles, binkies and children's cups, plus its grass and tree design make it super cute. Water drains into the tray and the two-piece design makes it easy to clean."
“I love this steel and plastic dish rack because of its unique architectural Japanese design," interior designer Mary Patton said of this sleek Yamazaki drainer. "Although it’s not collapsible, its small size allows for easy storage under the kitchen sink when not in use.”
“I was looking for a drying rack that wouldn’t take up a lot of counter space, and instead I found this mat," Danielle Chiprut, owner and principal designer of Danielle Rose Design Co., said of this affordable Bed Bath & Beyond option. "I love that you can throw it in the washing machine, that it can be folded up when not in use, and that it comes in pretty colors and patterns at a super affordable price so you can buy more than one. Simply lay out the mat and place your just-washed dishes on it. The water absorbs quickly so won’t leave your countertop damp.”
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