We’d all love a massive kitchen with a full walk-in pantry, but sadly we can’t all be Khloe Kardashian who has the ultimate pantry that we all envy (see below). It is simply AMAZING! Unfortunately for most of us, we’re only blessed with an average kitchen size with minimal storage space to work with. But there are some nifty tips and tricks that you can do… So here are the best kitchen storage ideas that interior designers and professional organisers use to transform and maximise small kitchen spaces.
Let’s begin with the basics. Are you designing a kitchen from scratch? Or are you wanting to declutter your existing small kitchen and create a more beautiful and functional space?
If you’re building brand new or remodelling, I’m sure you’re already researching your options, but there are some important considerations worth reinforcing. Remember that the more streamlined your little kitchen, the bigger it will seem. In terms of structural design, this means including plenty of built-in storage and clever, hidden storage elements wherever possible.
But perhaps you’re not able to renovate at the moment and that’s why I’ve not only looked at in-built kitchen storage solutions but also kitchen storage containers, DIY options using your existing cupboards and other kitchen pantry storage systems.
Small kitchen storage ideas
If you’re building or renovating, you’ll be making decisions around creating the most efficient system for your family’s cooking needs. This is made ten times harder if you’re restricted by a kitchen that is on the smaller side. Here’s some food for thought when it comes to storing food.
1. Convert a wall space you’re not using
When you’re in a tiny home, every inch of space needs to be utilised. This means if you’re not using a bit of wall space, why not install some cabinetry or an IKEA bookcase and use it as an open pantry. By using uniform containers, it looks extremely organised and sure to impress your guests.
Don’t forget to keep a cute kitchen stool nearby so you can reach everything.
2. Install open shelving
When you have a small kitchen, sometimes you don’t want cabinets from the floor to ceiling as if can make your kitchen seem even smaller. So an alternative to cabinets is open shelving. This also works well to display pretty or frequently used items or foodstuffs.
3. Pull out kitchen pantry storage
If you don’t have a butler’s pantry or even the ‘standard’ corner pantry cupboard, the best alternative is to have pull out kitchen pantry storage. It can be within long vertical cupboards or even under-bench cupboards.
This way you’ll never be moving all of your pantry items around to find the self-raising flour, which is hiding at the back.
4. Install deep drawers
But what about drawers? Well, if you can put your plates and cups on a lovely dresser to be out on show, then you can the below-bench drawers for heavy items or for storing taller ingredients in their upright position.
5. Use up odd corners and wasted space
Maybe you use your corner cupboards for platters you rarely use or pots and pans, which could be hung in the kitchen instead, leaving you with an ideal space for some customer corner pantry storage.
Looking for some more inspiration? Check out all of our kitchen ideas for your dream home.
6. Use up under stairs space
Remember when we spoke about dead space before, well the spot under the stairs is often one which can be better used as a great storage spot. Here are a couple of examples of great kitchen storage ideas which are either for foodstuffs or crockery.
Get the help you need to convert spaces and add shelving by locking in a carpenter to take care of all the heavy lifting (and also make sure it doesn’t collapse).
7. Slim benchtops
A narrower benchtop plays a trick on the eyes and elongates a counter. The latest materials (like pressed-porcelain panels or high-tech ultracompact surfaces) can be as slim as 12mm.
Butlers pantry ideas
If you’ve got the space and budget when renovating (even luckier if you’ve moved into a home already with one), well then a butlers pantry as to be on the top of the list for the cook in the family.
This could be a little nook, a large walk-in pantry complete with another dishwasher and sink or just some extra storage. Either way, there are a number of different kitchen storage ideas that you can do here and I’ve put some of my favourites below.
8. Install open drawers
Not only does it look pretty but it makes it super easy to find what you’re looking for.
Think about colour
Colour isn’t the first thing that comes to mind when looking at kitchen storage ideas, but it’s something that can really influence your the overall mood in your kitchen. Paint or just play with colourful soft furnishings and decorative items, or by colour-coding the dry-goods themselves.
Have a tiny kitchen with floor to ceiling cabinetry? Painting it minimalist white will make it seem much less poky and appear to be larger.
10. Soft tones
Using lighter colours and textures from floor to ceiling will make your kitchen appear a lot larger. When looking at above kitchen bench storage get your cabinet colour to match the wall paint colour so that it blends in together.
A monochrome colour scheme seems to suit kitchens especially well, probably because it always looks good as a backdrop against the ever-changing, kaleidoscopic colours of your fruit and veg.
12. Paint your drawer insides
Add little colourful details in unexpected places just for fun. Why not? After all, if you’re going to pick a theme, carry it the whole way through!
13. Use the containers for colour scheming
Transform your pantry from mix-matched chaos into an organised colour co-ordinated dream.
14. Go wild with colour
Or if you want to take it up a notch, cater for every colour of the rainbow.
Today’s mood: #joyous.
15. Or add little pops of colour
Sort your dry goods so every cupboard has a different colour. It may not be all that practical if your flours are in different cupboards, but how pretty it will look when you open the doors every day!
16. Designate a home for everything
Always begin with clean, empty cupboards and cabinets, whether they are brand new or kitchen cupboards that have been around for quite a while. Cleaning out your cupboards will allow you to sort out items past its ‘best before’ date and anything that is ready for another home.
Next, figure out a plan of where everything should ideally go based on what you need to easily reach, what you use often, what looks appealing, and so on. Once you have a designated spot for it, it is far more likely to find its way back there again.
Plan out how you can make the most of the insides of cupboards and cabinets with some of the wide range of useful shelf risers and maximisers.
Did you know that there are professional organisers who can take care of all it all for you? Easy right!
17. Work out your container system
Storage is THE big deal in a kitchen. Whether you organise your dry-goods by food type or use or even by colour, store them in clear airtight containers so you can see what you need to add to your shopping list.
18. Work out your labelling system
Labels are a no-brainer for making life easier and contributing to a look of organised, uncluttered unity. Decide on a style that you love and a labelling system that works for you.
19. Recycle jars and containers
Sure you can go and buy matching storage plastic containers, or you could do the environment a favour and repurpose glass jars that you’ve bought soup or coffee in for storage.
20. Work out a system for your spice collection
Here’s a clever, flexible idea utilising a wall painted in chalkboard paint. This means that you can always move jars around or use for different spices.
21. Utilise wasted space for a spice rack
There are always nooks and crannies in kitchens that are little pockets of underutilised space, so why not use that for spices. This might not be a practical solution with having to go up and down a ladder, but it sure is pretty!
22. Use baskets
Extra storage sounds great, but what if you’re renting? Well, this is where baskets become super useful to neaten a space and create pleasing continuity.
23. Have a kid-friendly system
Some people like to label the pantry in a, particularly kid-friendly way to help kids with chores and make them speedy helpers.
Tiny chalkboard labels are genius because when details about the contents change (such as a new expiry date), they can easily be updated.
24. Display your pretty things
If you have a certain brand of items or patterns you can put these items out on display. Make the most of them by grouping them so they have a common element, such as the same colour, shape or material.
25. Take advantage of fruit
Nature provides the most perfectly imperfect uniform items to display. Appeal to your senses with implicit “zest” and “freshness” by displaying vases or baskets full of your favourite cooking fruits. Or better yet, set up your very own juice bar!
26. Group your favourites
Displaying items harmoniously creates a serene, tidy small kitchen ambience.
27. Find a spot for lids
How annoying is it when you can’t find the right lid for the pot or you can only stack a certain way, otherwise the drawer won’t close? Why not efficiently store them in a narrow space using an organiser.
28. Put some Lazy Susans to work
No question, they are a great space-saver and have multiple uses. You can even put them in the fridge – just don’t spin too fast or you’ll find the bottles fly everywhere.
29. Find an alternative spot for your cookbooks
The side of a cabinet makes the perfect place to install racks for your favourite recipe books.
30. Get clever with can storage
Alright, it’s time to take it up a notch. I bet you haven’t seen this type of inside-cupboard can organisers to purchase before, but here is a vertical can storage cabinet system.
31. Store baking sheets vertically
You’ll be able to see where everything is and keep it tidier when trays are vertical rather than stacked on top of each other. This is another great DIY kitchen storage idea that can be done by anyone.
Just hanging around…
There are hooks, pegboards and plenty of other ways to set up some vertical storage solutions for almost anything in your kitchen.
32. Get hooked on hooks
Hooks are useful for so many things in a small kitchen but this is a really sweet what to store aprons and tea towels.
33. Hang copper pots
Copper pots are a kitchen classic and give a kitchen an instant foodie flavour.
34. Hey, pretty ladles…
Do you have pretty utensils that you’ve been collecting? Hang them on hooks rather than take up counter space or be banished to the third drawer.
35. Hang mugs
It’s [erfect in any country home to take advantage of the space to hang mugs on hooks.
36. Use a gridboard creatively
Gridboards or pegboards have multiple uses in a small kitchen and keep potentially disorderly items neatly stored.
37. Put it on display
Use a variety of racks to hang all your cooking utensils, pots and even some of your foodstuffs.
38. Liven up a bland space with something quirky
Add charming details such as oversized knobs to hang things off.
39. Or giant wall pegs
I mean, this won’t suit everyone’s interior design but it’s still a very quirky kitsch idea.
40. Add some vintage plate racks
If you love your crockery, openly admire it. Plate racks give a kitchen easy cottage-kitchen vibes. Keep beautiful plates on show or just a nice way to dry them off.
Utensil storage ideas
There are a lot of utensils and if you’re like me, mine are all chucked in one draw with no organisation whatsoever. So in part to also motivate me, I thought I’d share some awesome utensil storage ideas that I’ve found.
41. Use jugs
For wooden spoons and other utensils, keeping things on hand next to the stove in some jugs makes for quick cooking.
42. Diagonal drawer dividers
This is a really awesome idea when you come to think about it because all utensils come in different shapes and lengths and this application of diagonal drawers allows you to keep it organised by lengths.
Kitchen storage ideas for herbs
43. Hang herbs
Have your herbs on display and they will always look and make your kitchen smell gorgeous.
44. If you have space, plant up a wall
It’s just like combining a herb garden and art into one feature wall.
45. Herb island
Or you might prefer this more extravagant implementation…
Kitchen island storage ideas
Speaking of islands, as a way of creating surface space, they are great if you have the room for one.
Make your island earn its keep by being multi-functional, such as incorporating shelving.
46. Open shelving
Things don’t always have to be tucked away. By incorporating some open shelving into your kitchen island design, you can display some of your beautiful items and cook books.
47. Island trolley
There are also much smaller islands out there, or you could have a trolley or rolling cart. This way it can easily move around and a perfect option for renters.
48. Or maximise vertical space with a baker’s trolley
Steal from professional bakers and have a vertical trolley on wheels. Instantly create metres of space.
49. Have a Murphy’s island
Bet you didn’t know what a Murphy’s Island was… but now you do, and I think you’ll be wanting one too if you’re in a small kitchen.
Appliance cupboard storage
When it comes to appliances most of us have many. From Kitchen Aids and Nutribullets to Microwaves and Toasters – they all need to live somewhere and not always taking up precious bench space. So here are some excellent appliance kitchen storage ideas.
50. Disguise appliances
Hiding small appliances in a “butler’s cupboard” with retractable doors helps streamline and declutter.
And don’t forget to install power points so that you don’t have to constantly move appliances around.
51. Inside the cupboards
The microwave is a really easy one to store away behind the closed doors of a cupboard.
And now some final ideas…
52. Style up a feature area
This will foreshadow your ideal kitchen style.
53. Bins inside the cupboards
It’s one feature of the kitchen that you’d rather not see, and that is the bin. Most modern kitchen will now incorporate bins into the cabinetry design.
54. Add a vintage element
Kitchens and vintage are a match made in heaven. Scour op-shops for a one-of-a-kind vintage conversation piece, such as this vintage wood pocket door – beautiful and, being translucent, functional.
55. And don’t forget the top of the fridge
Even if it’s just to create a prettier view whenever you stand in front of the fridge. Curate a few collectibles and make the most of that wasted space.