Small Kitchen Storage Ideas

Transform your small kitchen for maximum efficiency and space with clever small kitchen storage ideas that wrangle countertop clutter, organize cabinets and drawers, and conceal appliances.
Hanging Pot Rack for Kitchen

Hanging Pot Rack for Kitchen

Prior to the kitchen redesign, homeowners Sarah and John kept many of their pots and pans inside their kitchen cabinets. To free up cabinet space and put the space above the gathering area to good use, a pot rack pendant light was installed. The bottom of the pot rack sits 48 inches above the top of the table to allow proper space for pots to hang and ensure guests’ views of one another are not impeded.

By: Alison Miller
Related To:

Keeping a high-traffic kitchen in order isn't easy. Wrangle the chaos with some small kitchen storage ideas and simple storage solutions that are guaranteed to control the clutter, thereby making your cramped quarters feel larger.

Kitchen Storage Solutions

See All Photos

A Kitchen Organizational Nightmare

Kenna MacKinnon buys everything in bulk. With four kids younger than 12, it's the only way she knows she'll have what she needs when she needs it. So when the MacKinnons moved to a house in Oak Park, Ill., that came with a sad excuse for a kitchen — a cramped layout, limited storage — a makeover was a must. It didn't require a gut job, just some smart reconfiguring by designer Rebekah Zaveloff (KitchenLab, kitchenlab-chicago.com).

Photo By: Nathan Kirkman

"Welcome to Central Command"

The back wall once housed a chimney and staircase, which came out to make way for a built-in pantry, side-by-side fridge and freezer, additional counter space and more cabinets. The island is set up so Kenna can see the kids in the backyard or the den as she preps. The dishwasher, housed in the island, backs up to the cabinets where plates and bowls are kept for easy unloading.

Photo By: Nathan Kirkman

"Now There's Room for Kids!"

The original kitchen layout left little space for cooking, let alone playing (and, as Kenna knows, kids always want to be where the action is). So seats at the island and floor space for toys were at the top of her list.

Photo By: Nathan Kirkman

"I Saved Money by Mixing Styles"

During the reno, Rebekah encouraged the MacKinnons to keep what they could. That included the cherry cabinets, subway tile, range and hood. They added off-white cabinets on the facing wall, and they painted the island a stone-gray color (Arctic Shadows by Benjamin Moore). The speckly white granite countertops tie all of the cabinet looks together. For the new backsplash across the room, Rebekah chose white glazed mosaic tiles. It goes with the old look but isn't matchy-matchy.

Photo By: Nathan Kirkman

"My Very Own Coffee Bar!"

Open shelves over the single-shot coffeemaker hold canisters with all the fixins. Mugs hang from S hooks, and a microwave drawer lives below the countertop for quick reheats of morning joe.

Photo By: Nathan Kirkman

"My Smart Move: Easy-to-Reach Supplies"

Yes, she has plenty of storage, but grabbing everyday pots and pans from a hanging rack is easier than digging through dark cabinets. The rolling console below it holds more daily-use items. "I can also set it up as a bar for parties," says Kenna. "It's nice to have things that can be adapted as we need them."

Photo By: Nathan Kirkman

"My Superstar: An Organized Pantry"

The floor-to-ceiling, 40-inch-wide pantry outfitted with shelves and drawers is large enough to store all those bulk-purchased goods. Bonus: The pantry is right next to the island, where the kids sit for afternoon snacks, so it helps them help themselves. The refrigerator-style hinges all around the kitchen are a special touch. Kenna added a latch detail to the outside of the pantry because it reminded her of an icebox she had growing up.

Photo By: Nathan Kirkman

Want to make more room in your kitchen? Then introduce an organizational system that keeps your counter free of things you don't use every day. For starters, swap fixed cabinet shelves for rollout options, which are ideal for pots and pans, spices or even stacks of dishes. These storage additions enhance accessibility during cooking prep and prevent pots and pans from scratching against one another.

Next, put cabinet doors to work by adding budget-friendly removable hooks to hold a paper towel roll, or try a wire rack that will bring order to spices. Using dividers, customize an existing cabinet to store narrow kitchen tools such as cutting boards, pans and baking sheets upright.

Finally, conceal space-hogging waste and recycle bins behind closed doors inside a pullout cabinet. If you have airy open shelving instead, then tidily stock away your necessities in plain view for a quick product inventory.

Making use of unused portions of your small kitchen can pump up your storage space. Instead of an out-of-the-way shelf above cabinetry, renovate cabinets to reach the ceiling and pack in extra shelves for storage. Another idea is to transform a bare wall into a home communication center through the addition of a cork board and chalk board. For the gourmet, nail hooks onto the wall to line up a collection of aprons. For the oenophile, put the underside of the cabinetry to use by adding stemware holders to hang wine glasses for a pretty and functional display. Finally, installing a spice or pot rack above the kitchen stove makes the most of the space and keeps tools at hand.

If your small kitchen includes cozy, stand-alone cabinetry elements, like kitchen islands and a decorative baker's rack, then look to them for added storage zones. Equipped with cubbies to store cookbooks, wine or entertaining must-haves, these prime storage locations can keep kitchen tools within arm's reach. Further boost storage capacity in your small kitchen by bringing in organizational accessories with loads of style, like baskets, wine cubbies, hooks and glass canisters. Neatly tuck linens or mail inside a system of hanging or stacked baskets, and nail hooks to an empty wall for hanging aprons or a peg board for pots and pans.

Hidden Storage in a Small Kitchen

On TV

Follow Us Everywhere

Join the party! Don't miss HGTV in your favorite social media feeds.