Kitchens have to accommodate a great variety of stuff. All but the biggest kitchens are under pressure to store utensils, pans, crockery, the food we eat and the appliances we use to cook it, and everything we need to clean it up afterward. As most of us don’t have banks of cupboards and acres of floor space in our kitchens, it can make fitting in that wine rack or finding a home for your new food processor tricky. It’s time to get creative.
Reuse a box. Old wooden boxes and crates are very useful when perched on a work surface, operating as both storage space and shelves.
Pick them up at garage sales and vintage stores. Fit hooks under the top edge and on the sides to make use of every surface.
Work a window. If your wall space is already groaning with shelves, racks and rails, look to the window. Fitting a couple of rails across it, with hooks for hanging pans, will create a nice amount of additional storage. This strategy also works if you’d like a little more privacy or want to obscure a less-than-inspiring view.
Create your own spice storage. Spice jars take up huge amounts of space in a cupboard, often because we have so many, but they are not large or heavy, so consider other ways to store them. By simply gluing or nailing the lids of screw-top jars to the underside of a kitchen cabinet, you can store spices neatly and prevent them from cluttering a drawer, shelf or work surface. And you’ll always know where to find them.
Exploit the sides. Make the most of the side of a cabinet by using it for extra storage. Add a rail or hooks for hanging dishtowels as shown on the end of this kitchen island, and you could use this space for storing bulky items such as chopping boards. Simply attach cord to create a simple loop, then suspend them from sturdy hooks.
Consider that space above the door. We typically fit shelves and cabinets on our kitchen walls but overlook the chunk of space above the door. The kitchen door on the left has storage recessed above the door for the household’s cookbook collection.
Fall back in love with pegboard. Pegboard is both fantastically versatile and inexpensive. Fit it with simple cup hooks to store pans, utensils or small baskets. You can even paint it to match your kitchen’s walls, so it neatly blends in.
Knock in a nail. If fitting a hanging rail feels too arduous, take an easier route and simply add a nail or two right where you could use a place to hang a spoon, collander or chopping board.
Try a Shaker solution. A Shaker-style peg rail can work beautifully in a kitchen, especially a galley space too narrow for cupboards on both sides. If the pegs are sturdy enough and attached to studs in the wall, you may even be able to suspend light storage from it, as here. Or use it simply to hang aprons, tea towels and even your dustpan and brush.
Try hooks, rails and jars. Rails hung with S hooks and caddies is not a new idea, but they can really take the pressure off built-in storage, providing a place to hang cups or utensils and store everyday spices.
Decant dry food into pretty jars and keep them on the counter, leaving room in the cupboard for less attractive containers.