Kitchen storage is important. It includes cabinets, drawers, refrigerator/freezer, pantry (walk-in pantry or reach-in pantry) and possibly specialty item storage..
Kitchen storage planning must be planned in conjunction with work zone planning because storage of appliances and implements are integral to your work processes in the kitchen.
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Kitchen cabinets are defined by having swinging or sliding doors. They’re on the floor (36″ in height) and some kitchens include upper cabinets as well (either suspended or attached to the wall).
There are 3 main cabinet buying options:
- Stock: Ready-Made. Just buy it and install it (lease expensive).
- Semi-Custom: Menu ordering system – can customize within parameters.
- Fully Custom: Design it and get it built from scratch (most expensive).
Popular types of wood used for kitchen cabinets (hardwood):
White and black cabinetry is also popular (and looks great).
Types of cabinets:
- Base cabinets: These sit on the floor and are 36″ tall.
- Wall cabinets (upper cabinets): Usually attached to wall, but in some kitchens are suspended from a ceiling.
- Tall cabinets: Floor-to-ceiling (or nearly so). Also referred to as a pantry.
- Islands: Island often are one large cabinet system.
Kitchen drawers are a must-have storage feature for smaller items such as utensils, small kitchen implements and other items.
When designing your kitchen, you can use drawers sparingly or extensively. You can use small drawers or create huge drawers. Our kitchen design incorporate many drawers, some of which are 36″ wide and 10″ tall. These are large storage drawers.
Key advantage to drawers: easier to access
Key disadvantage: Less storage capacity. Yes, you can have large custom drawers built, but at some point they become unwieldy (I know because we have exceptionally large drawers). Moreover, drawers can’t hold as much weight as well crafted cabinets because shelving in cabinets (especially the lower level) can hold more weight. The bottom of a draw has little or no reinforcement.
This is why a mix of drawers and cabinets is ideal for kitchen storage.
There are 2 types of pantries:
- Tall cabinet, free-standing (or built-in) pantries
- Pantry rooms
Read our article setting out 21 different types of kitchen pantries (with photo examples).
If you have the space and budget, a pantry room can be a huge storage convenience because it can be a room with nothing but shelving. However, most kitchens don’t have a pantry room; instead pantries are tall standing cabinets with doors.
If you’re really fortunate, your kitchen with have both types.
Other pantry room design considerations:
- Accessibility from the kitchen
- If it has a door, think through the door’s arc and how it will encroach on your kitchen or inside the pantry. Alternatively you can use a sliding door.
- Will the design match the kitchen or will you decide to save money and use less expensive materials?
- Will it serve purposes other than being storage.
- Research custom storage options – racks, organizers, etc. There are more options than just shelves for creating a more efficient storage room.
Many kitchen islands create more counter space and more storage space. They really are a terrific way to enhance a kitchen as long as sound kitchen island design is used.
Storage islands can be viewed as a large cabinet. Some include drawers and cabinets. It’s a large item to design.
3 types of islands:
- Permanent: Built into the floor
- Free-Standing: Not permanently attached to the floor.
- Mobile: Island/butcher block on wheels.
Permanent Island Design… You can:
- Match it to your main kitchen cabinets
- Distinguish it with a contrasting color. For example, if you have white cabinets, get a dark brown island (or vice versa).
- Create multiple levels – work space countertop, dining counter or lower dining table.
Beyond that, the sky really is the limit with how you design your kitchen island and the features you include.
Discover 26 types of kitchen pot racks here.
When we cook, we don’t really like having to take out all of our pots and pans to find the one we’re looking for, or taking up all of our cabinet space trying to stack our most-used pots. A great solution is to hang a pot rack (maybe above that new kitchen island?) so that your most-used pans and utensils are close at hand.
This standard wall-mounted pot rack allows you to hang your skillets from the hooks, while stacking your larger stock pots and pans on the shelf.
If you have a centered island, a ceiling-mounted pot rack might work better for you:
This stainless-steel rack features a center grid so you can re-arrange the hooks to suit your needs.
Kitchen Shelving Ideas
If you’re still running out of space, try adding extra shelving to an open wall in your kitchen. Whether it’s floating shelving or something a little more space-consuming, shelving is an awesome way to add storage to a kitchen.
Make use of those unused corners with corner shelving/storage such as the following example:
The rich, polished wood and wrought-iron skeleton are perfect for a space between a kitchen and a dining room, tucked neatly into a corner.
A baker’s rack will fit into your design wherever you have space for it, and the extra storage and counter space you get by owning one is hard to beat. They’re also really easy to install and move around.
You can use your baker’s rack as a display, or you can go the same route as this one:
Open shelves are a great option because they cost much less than traditional cabinets and look great. Here’s an example of a loft kitchen that dramatically increased kitchen storage capacity with open shelves.
If you have wall space available, you can easily and inexpensively add floating shelves such as the following.
If you have the space, you can add a large freestanding storage buffet such as the following (the natural wood toned cabinet on the left):
Read our full guide on utensil storage (20 options).
Do you have a messy utensil drawer? If you do, you probably have been looking for ways to keep your drawers organized and your utensils exactly where you expect them to be.
If you don’t have much drawer storage, consider taking your silverware out of the drawer:
If you’re looking for a neat way to store your silverware, a small tray with mason jars will keep your utensils organized and within easy reach.
Or, invest in a simple drawer insert. The dividers will help you keep your spoons with your spoons and your forks with your forks.
A sturdy wooden divider ensures that it’ll last for many years to come.
There are a lot of different ways to organize your collection of spices, which could be formidable, depending on how much cooking you do. I know we end up with a lot of exotic spices that we don’t use very often, and it can be frustrating to buy a new container of, say, garlic powder, only to get home and realize you already have two more that were hiding in the back of your cabinet.
This wall-mounted version has elegant swirls and three tiers. Perfect if you don’t use too many different spices.
If you have a larger variety, you might prefer this rack instead:
The baskets rotate so you can easily remove the spices when you need them. Otherwise, the rack stays compact.
We used to stack our dishes so that the dinner plates were below the bread-and-butter plates, but that meant that we were constantly lifting the smaller plates up to take out or put in the dinner plates, which are pretty much in constant circulation. We simply added a small shelf so we could stack smaller plates above the bowls, leaving the dinner plates easier to access.
This rack fits neatly into the corner of a cabinet, so you can easily reach your plates and bowls.
If you have mismatched plates, you might prefer a different option without stacking:
This rack allows you to fit two very different sets of plates in the same space.
Tupperware is great for storing leftovers or for packing a lunch to take to work, but it can be tough to keep track of all of your lids. We’ve found a few great options to help you make sure you always know where your tupperware lids (and bowls) are.
This clever solution has grips to hold your bowls in place, and a spot right next to it to hold the lids.
Food Organization (in-Cabinet or countertop)
Sometimes simply using one shelf for one type of food just isn’t enough to keep your pantry organized. Try installing extra dividers or even boxes and baskets to better utilize the space in your cabinets.
We have a whole lazy-susan full of cans, but many of them are duplicates, and it can be difficult to see exactly what we have.
This can holder stacks and displays your cans, so you can see at a glance what you have and what you don’t have.
These stackable sections allow you to take advantage of a deep or tall shelf’s vertical space.
Get rid of your bags of flour and sugar, which are vulnerable to bugs and other pests and switch to stackable containers:
They come in all sizes and shapes and are easily stackable. Invest in a few for your staples: flour, sugar, and cereals.
There are lots of unique ways to store your wine, including cabinets and shelves, and you should pick whatever fits your budget, the size of your room, and your drinking habits.
This wine tower can hold up to 18 bottles of wine, and has several shelves above to house wine glasses and decorative accents.
If you don’t have that much floor space, try this option with a smaller footprint:
It also holds 18 bottles, but takes up much less room, and can even be placed on top of a wall cabinet if you don’t need to get to your wine very often.
Check out our gallery featuring 22 types of wine racks here.
Here are 2 examples of concealed kitchen storage options:
a. Appliance Garage
An appliance garage helps declutter your kitchen by stashing away small appliances. Here’s an example.
b. Concealed cooking utensil storage
Another way to store pots and cooking utensils is with a wall rack. What I love about wall racks is how easy it is to access various pots and utensils when in the weeds cooking up a feast. Here’s an example: