As already explained in Kitchen Shapes, different shapes of kitchens automatically provide different amounts of storage space.
Although most of us think of plain cabinets when we think of storage, there are a lot more options these days.
In this section you will find solutions to various storage problems and useful tips to make the most of even the smallest of spaces. Cabinets will be discussed in the ‘Cabinets’ section.
Below The Countertop
It is obvious that the bigger the countertop, the more you can store below it. After you have planned the position of your sink, fridge and cooktop/oven, the rest of the space below the countertop is yours to play with, because plain cabinets are not the only option.
Storage below the countertop is especially convenient for heavy items such as electrical equipment and heavy pots, pans and oven dishes. Think about how many of those items you have and how much storage space you have to give to those items. Remember to leave enough room for expansion as in the future you will buy more utensils and the items you already have will take up more space than you think!
Products like bottles of wine and vegetables that don’t need to go in the fridge will sometimes also need space beneath the countertop. Think of different ways to store them than putting them in a cabinet. For example, as you can’t see bottles or vegetables at the back of a cabinet, get one that you can pull out. If you have a lot of wine, you can get special shelves or even refrigerators made for display.
Vegetables must be kept in a cool, dry, dark, place to prevent them from early decay. Don’t store them too close to an oven or a hob. Wicker baskets will give a rustic accent to your kitchen and will keep your vegetables dry and dark.
Most of your cutlery will be stored below the countertop as well. Try to store your cutlery close to the dishwasher or sink for quick storage after cleaning. Drawers are still the best storage option for cutlery, but you may find it handy to keep your ladles and wooden spoons in a jar on your countertop.
Knives can be kept at a magnetic knife holder that you can attach to your wall, or in a separate knife-block. Make sure though that your countertop is free from too much clutter as this will give your kitchen a messy look.
Above the Countertop
As the space below the countertop will mostly be used for cabinets, you can use the space above storage more creatively. The items stored are not as heavy and are sometimes more decorative and suitable for display, for example, plates, glasses and decorative spice racks.
There are quite a few options for display of your kitchenware, the easiest would be a simple plate rack. This will also help to prevent plates from chipping as you will not be storing them on top of each other. Cups, mugs and jugs can hang from hooks or pegs, or on open shelves for a country style effect.
Your most used utensils can be placed on a utensil rail that you position above the main working area. Vegetables such as onions and garlic also can be hung on this rail for a decorative effect.
Ingredients such as pasta or sugar can be stored in glass jars and put on shelves. Try to work out a balance between the different storage options.
Remember that items on open display are susceptible to steam, grease and dust, so this type of storage will only be suitable for goods that are needed on a daily basis. A solution to this can be to store them behind glass cupboard doors.
Different styles of storage can break up a long cupboard area, but it has to work for you. If you prefer cupboards rather than open shelves and hanging mugs, then maybe you can experiment with different door materials, such as glass, frosted glass, wood, laminate or even stainless steel.
Other Storage Solutions
- If you have a small kitchen with a rather small countertop, then it might be an idea to buy a butcher’s block on wheels that you can easily store under your countertop. The shelves under the block mean you will not lose too much valuable storage space.
- Another way of breaking the monotony of the cabinet/worktop/cabinet pattern is by using a big freestanding cupboard in the middle to store all your crockery. A tall cupboard will have much more storage space, as it is not divided by a piece of worktop. Such a cupboard or larder can also be used for food in cans, jars and packets.
- For display and concealed storage combined in one piece of furniture, a dresser is an elegant solution.
- If you’ve got a high ceiling, you might want to consider using the extra space by hanging a rack from it to store pans. Make sure that rack and ceiling are strong enough to hold the pans.
- In a U- and L-shaped kitchens there are corners in your cupboards. To make maximum use of these corners use corner carousels.
- In a small and narrow kitchen you can create more space by making the wall-cabinets taller and thinner, rather than having them protruding outwards.
- Store items that you don’t use very often on the highest shelves of your cabinets. This way easy accessible space will be available for most used items.
- Use little plastic boxes or special drawer organisers to organize your drawers.
- One way to disguise a boiler is to build a spice rack in front of it.
- Think about where you want your main bin to be situated. Try to integrate it in the area below the worktop to keep outlook of the kitchen clean and clutter-free.
- Don’t forget to give your cookery books a place in your kitchen.