Types of storage
First, let’s take a look at the types of storage available, and how you can use them to your greatest advantage!
Cupboards are your most obvious storage solution, offering plenty of space for arranging all your plates, mugs and pans into their own sections. Don’t forget about your corner cupboards, which, though hard to reach, are invaluable for those bulky and rarely used items that usually just get in the way.
If you want a little more structure to your cupboards, a clever kitchen storage idea is to fill them with stackable baskets or containers, keeping everything neat and tidy.
The key with kitchen cupboard storage is to let no space go to waste - be flexible with your cupboard shapes and sizes, and if there’s a little nook or gap between units, squeeze in a narrow wine rack or tray storage.
Drawers are best placed either in a block unit to break up cupboards, or in easy-to-reach places just below the countertop of your hob or food prep areas to store essential items.
You should have a range of drawer sizes to accommodate all your needs - from shallow ones for your cutlery, all the way to deep drawers for pots and pans. Keep deeper drawers organised with dividers or containers, or decant ingredients into kitchen storage jars and store them upright with a label on the lid of each for easy identification.
While cupboards and drawers have the biggest storage space potential, too many of them can make a kitchen feel smaller by boxing the space in with block units. Open shelving can make a kitchen feel airier, but they do need ongoing attention to maintain.
If open shelves get too full they quickly start to look untidy, so avoid overloading them and invest in some jars or containers if needed to keep everything neat.
Open shelves should be decorative as well as functional, so use them for rows of pretty mason jars, cookbooks or vases, and keep your heavy-duty kitchen items hidden away.
For those hard-to-reach cupboards and corners, pull-out storage is the answer! Rather than stretching into the back of a deep cupboard, consider drawers or racks on rollers that can be pulled out at your convenience.
Corner cupboards can also benefit from large pull-out shelves that swing or fold outwards so you can clearly see all your items, and tuck back into the cupboard when you don’t need them.
If you have any extra spaces or narrow units in your kitchen, a pull-out unit can add extra useful functionality. A pull-out rack next to your hob can be used to store frequently used cooking utensils, olive oil or spices, or you could install a pull-out wine rack.
Small kitchen storage ideas
In a small or narrow kitchen, clever storage solutions are a must-have. Too many cupboards can make your limited space feel smaller and darker, but you also need to keep your worktops as clear as possible to avoid a sense of clutter. So, how do you fit everything in?
Use the tops of your cabinets
Floor to ceiling cabinets can feel oppressive in narrow kitchens, so you’re better off leaving a gap between your upper cabinets and the ceiling. These have a dual benefit, as you can use the tops of the cabinets to store items you don’t often use. As they’re high up it’s a place you don’t have to worry too much about keeping tidy, but you can also transform this area into an attractive display shelf!
Install a tower unit
A tower unit tucked away on the edge of your small kitchen provides you with a large storage space without adding tall cabinets on all sides of your space. It can be used as a larder for all your groceries, or to store your crockery and cookware.
Hang it up
Hanging racks are a versatile kitchen storage idea that can work in a range of places. A rail can be installed against the side of a cabinet unit or behind a hob to hang utensils and pans, or a magnetic knife rack removed the need for a knife block on your countertop.
Add a trolley
A kitchen island is too tight a fit in most small kitchens, but you can compromise with a slimline trolley that offers a useful amount of storage in a movable storage rack.
Storage for your kitchen layout
Sometimes, the most functional type of storage for you can depend on the shape of your kitchen. Here are some clever kitchen storage ideas for every kitchen layout.
With either just one or two straight counter units, a galley kitchen has the most limited storage space. Bear in mind that upper cabinets on both sides will make your galley feel even more narrow and block light, so try and maximise storage with a block of tower units on one side and just base units on the other.
If you have a single run of units with a bare wall opposite, don’t let your wall space go to waste. Install open shelving to store neat baskets or jars of items, or hang items from the wall on wire racks and hooks.
L-shaped kitchens have more storage potential than a galley due to the additional opportunity for a corner cupboard - be sure to maximise this extra space with carousel shelves or pull-out racks to make things easier to reach.
The lack of a third wall makes it easier to have upper and lower cabinets without making the kitchen feel narrow and cramped, so utilise this space with kitchen cupboard storage on both walls. Open plan L-shaped kitchens often have room to feature a kitchen island, which you can utilise for extra storage in the base.
U-shaped kitchens will most likely have the potential for two corner cupboards. If you’re going to use both of these, pull-out or carousel storage is essential to keep items conveniently reachable; otherwise, you may opt to stick to traditional cupboards if you feel you already have adequate storage space.
Depending on the side of your U-shaped kitchen, upper cabinets on all sides may block natural light and darken the space. Consider isolating top cabinets on just one or two walls, or installing glass fronts in your upper cupboards to reflect light.
With its extra peninsular, a G-shaped kitchen already has more storage potential than any kitchen layout! Some people choose to design their fourth counter as a floating island or straightforward block base but don’t miss out on the extra storage opportunity.
Whether you use the peninsula as a work area or breakfast bar, cupboards or a set of slim drawers in the base of the unit offer storage space for commonly used utensils or tableware. In an open plan G-shape, you can even utilise the whole outside of your peninsular for storage.
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