Small Kitchen Storage Ideas Functional Storage Solutions

Having a small kitchen can present some storage challenges. With limited space, it’s important to make use of every inch and find solutions to keep things tidy and organized. Proper storage is key to making the most of a compact kitchen.

There are many clever and functional storage ideas to help maximize space in a small kitchen. From using vertical space, installing pull-out shelves, multi-tier organizers to concealed storage, there are plenty of options to consider. With some creativity and strategic planning, even the tiniest kitchen can be transformed into a highly functional space.

Use Wall Space for Open Shelving

Installing floating shelves or open shelving on walls is a great way to display and store kitchen items while taking advantage of vertical space.

  • Open shelving instantly makes a small kitchen appear more open and airy. It also eliminates the need for upper cabinets which can make a compact kitchen feel boxy and cramped.
  • Shelves can be used to store frequently used items like spices, oils, platters and utensils. Keeping these items visible and within reach saves time spent opening and rummaging through cabinets.
  • Choose a shelf depth that fits the wall space. Deeper shelves around 10-12 inches can hold small appliances and cookbooks, while shallow shelves 3-5 inches deep are great for displaying delicate chinaware.
  • Sturdy solid wood or metal brackets offer durability and support. Stagger shelves at various heights for visual interest and to accommodate different sized items.
  • Style shelves to suit your aesthetic. Rustic wood shelves or sleek metal rails with pot racks create a stylish focal point. Paint shelves a bright color to inject personality.

Opt for Glass-Fronted Wall Cabinets

Glass-fronted wall cabinets optimize storage while maintaining an airy feel in a compact kitchen.

  • Cabinets with glass doors keep contents visible, so you can easily see what’s inside without having to open doors repeatedly.
  • Glass fronts reflect light, adding to the perception of openness and space. Frosted, etched or patterned glass adds privacy without compromising light.
  • Install lights above or inside glass cabinets to illuminate interiors at night. LED cabinet lighting shines down to clearly see contents.
  • Arrange glass cabinets sparingly. Too many can make a small kitchen look cluttered. Use in key areas like near the sink or around the rangehood.
  • Edit contents carefully. Display decorative dishware or every day essentials like cups and glasses. Keep interiors tidy so they don’t appear messy behind glass.

Install Pull-Out Shelves and Drawers

Incorporating pull-out shelves and drawers is an excellent use of confined spaces in compact kitchens.

  • Pull-outs and drawers maximize vertical cupboard space. They enable you to see contents pushed back on hard-to-reach shelves.
  • Look for pull-outs like ‘magic corner’ mechanisms. These triangular units fully extend to provide easy access to the interior corner.
  • Consider stackable pull-outs that glide out while staying level. Position frequently used pans and pots near the top for convenience.
  • Install cutlery and utensil drawers near prep areas. Some have built-in dividers to keep contents organized.
  • Shallow, single-depth drawers are great for small items like spices. Full extension drawer slides provide full access.
  • For base cabinets, use roll-out trays that can be pulled all the way out and used as extra prep space, before sliding back in.

Opt for Sliding and Pocket Doors

Incorporating sliding doors or pocket doors for cabinets is another space-saving trick for small kitchens.

  • Sliding doors only require room equaling the width of the cabinet, saving precious space compared to regular hinged doors.
  • Look for smooth, self-closing mechanisms that glide effortlessly to open and close cabinets.
  • Pocket doors slide directly into the cabinet carcass, fully concealing the door when open. Fitting across corner cabinets or pantries helps optimize footprint.
  • Track hardware enables pocket doors to bypass rather than compete for space, ideal in tight spots. Avoid self-closing mechanisms which require room to swing.
  • Supplement upper cabinets with open shelving. Avoid rows of wall cabinets that extend to the ceiling, for a less cramped aesthetic.
  • Glass paneled sliding doors keep contents partially visible while closed. Frosted or textured glass options prevent fully revealing interiors.

Add Multi-Tiered Shelves

Another excellent use of vertical real estate in compact kitchens is installing multi-tiered shelves.

  • Tiered shelving doubles or even triples available storage space since items can be stacked vertically.
  • Wall-mounted étagères with 2 or 3 shelves take advantage of under-utilized wall space above countertops.
  • Choose narrower shelving units around 5-8 inches deep. Avoid bulky units that will protrude and dominate space.
  • Multi-tiered wire storage carts on wheels are handy and can be rolled out of the way. Some have mesh panels to prevent small items falling through.
  • Consider corner étagères that install directly into a corner. Their ascending angled shelves optimize tricky corner spaces.
  • Near prep zones, position a baker’s rack for frequently used dry goods. Opt for slimmer footprints over bulky commercial styles.

Use Lid, Tray and Pot Racks

Installing racks offers accessible storage for cookware lids, trays, and pots right where you need them.

  • Lid racks mount inside upper cabinets or on walls to store lids upright and visible. Locate near the stove for convenient access while cooking.
  • Vertical tray storage racks utilize wasted space behind cabinet doors to neatly store baking trays and sheets.
  • Pot racks free up precious cabinet space. Wall mounted racks allow you to hang pots directly above islands or ranges within easy reach.
  • For quick grabbing, mount racks at least 15 inches above countertops or ranges. Allow 20 inches or more clearance if planning to hang large stock pots.
  • Choose rail-mounted racks with adjustable hooks that can be moved to accommodate different sized pots. Opt for versions with sturdy metal construction.
  • Install hooks on walls or floating shelves to hang utensils, freeing up drawer space for larger items. Stagger hooks for easy access.

Utilize Magnetic Strip Knife Storage

Another space-saving storage device that maximizes vertical real estate is a magnetic strip for safely storing knives.

  • Magnetic strips adhere to walls to take knives off the counter and store them neatly in one accessible place.
  • Locate near prep zones for quick and easy access while cooking. Mount at least 12 inches from heat sources like rangetops.
  • Stagger extra strips at different heights to accommodate larger knives and kitchen tools like spatulas.
  • Choose strips with ultra-strong magnets to firmly grip blades and prevent slipping. Opt for rust-resistant stainless steel rather than plastic casing.
  • Make sure strips are securely anchored into wall studs, especially if housing heavy knives. Follow all safety guidelines when installing.
  • Only place knives blade down and avoid overcrowding to protect hands from sharp edges and prevent knives knocking loose.

Conceal Appliances with Stylish Panels

Concealing bulky appliances behind panels is an effective small kitchen storage solution that maintains a streamlined look.

  • Wall-mounted refrigerator panels customize the look of exposed appliances and prevent them from dominating space.
  • Panels attach directly to appliances or use a mounting kit. Seek help installing panels on integrated appliances.
  • Choose panel materials like wood veneer, laminate or metal to match existing cabinetry finishes for a cohesive built-in look.
  • Opt for appliance garages to enclose stand mixers, blenders and other countertop appliances. Doors shut to conceal mess and clutter.
  • Install slide-out cabinet garbage can holders to neatly conceal unsightly trash receptacles.

Install Innovative Sink Storage

Rethinking sink storage helps make the most of every inch around this high-traffic kitchen work zone.

  • Sink base cabinet organizers make use of plumbing cavity dead zones to hold cleaning supplies and sponges.
  • Custom-sized trays fit around pipes to hold scrub brushes. Look for rust-proof stainless models with drainage holes.
  • Sink cover cutting boards made from moisture-resistant wood or plastic provide extra prep space when needed. Some feature handy colanders.
  • Utilize vertical space with wall-mounted rails. Hang sponges from hooks to dry and avoid germs growing in damp enclosed spaces.
  • For a sink skirt storage solution, enclose the sink pedestal with hinged doors. Conceal garbage cans and cleaning products inside.

Rethink Kitchen Island Design

Smart island design and storage concepts help maximize function in a compact kitchen.

  • Opt for a movable cart-style island over a fixed central island to maintain an open plan in tight spaces. Locking wheels enable mobility.
  • Include European hinges so cabinet doors can fully open on island ends to access inner interior shelves.
  • Slim, open-backed furniture placed behind an island creates a perfect dining nook. Opt for stool seating to tuck in completely.
  • Make islands multi-functional with drop-leaf extensions, butcher block tops and under-counter storage for small appliances.
  • Incorporate pull-out spray faucets and power outlets to enable food prep and dining directly at the island.

Use Vertical Space for Spices

Making use of vertical storage for spices maximizes space in small kitchens.

  • Mount magnetic strips or mesh racks inside cabinet doors to hold an array of spice jars vertically.
  • Rotating spice carousels save drawer and shelf space. Spin to locate spices while keeping the most-used ones upfront.
  • Attach small magnetic rails underneath wall cabinets or shelves to secure spice tins upright.
  • Use wall-mounted racks with ledges behind ranges, cooktops or near prep zones to keep spices nearby while cooking.
  • For a compact solution, mount narrow wall-mounted spice racks between studs. Opt for versions with lip rails to prevent toppling.

Add Discreet Compact Storage

Look for ways to tuck discreet storage into unexpected small spaces around the kitchen.

  • Stash kitchen towels and pot holders in shallow trays mounted inside lower cabinets, close to cooking zones.
  • Attach slim storage baskets and rails to cabinet door backs to hold items like aluminum foil and cleaning cloths.
  • Use corner cabinet blind corner lazy susan mechanisms to access difficult interior corners. Spin to access contents.
  • Inside low toe kicks, install pull-out storage trays on smooth ball-bearing glides to neatly hold trash bags and cleaning gear.
  • Repurpose the awkward space between the fridge and cabinets for extra concealed storage with fridge surround cabinets.


With some smart planning and clever solutions, even the tiniest kitchens can function like a well-oiled machine. Making use of every inch of vertical and horizontal space is key. Look for ways to incorporate specialized storage like trays, racks, and shelves precisely where you need them. Slide-outs, drawers, and concealed storage transform previously cramped cabinets into highly organized storage. Dedicate time to editing contents, keeping only essential everyday items on open display. Maintaining a minimalist approach helps small kitchens feel spacious, calm and tidy. With the right storage hacks, you can maximize form and function in the most modest kitchen footprints.






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