12 of the Most Brilliant Storage Ideas for Small Kitchens

updated May 1, 2019
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(Image credit: Jessica Rapp)

In a teeny-tiny kitchen, you’ve got to be smart when it comes to storage in order to find room for all of the tools you need to make dinner. Fortunately, there are people out there coming up with hacks and solutions to help us out.

Here are a few brilliant storage ideas for small kitchen that you might not have seen before.

1. Fill up your walls.

Think beyond shelves when it comes to wall storage. You can add a pegboard, or steal this idea from A Beautiful Mess and use a few feet of rebar for an industrial-cool way to add vertical storage along the kitchen wall. This way, your spoons, whisks, and other serving tools will always be in reach. Bonus: You’ll feel like a total pro telling your friends that you used rebar for the project.

See the steps: DIY Wire Utensil Rack at A Beautiful Mess

2. File away your wraps and foils.

If you’re so converted to digital that you’re no longer reading paper magazines, use that old magazine file as storage for your aluminum foil and plastic wrap — just screw it inside a cabinet door like Katy did on her site, Apartment Apothecary.

Get more great ideas: Clever IKEA Hacks at Apartment Apothecary

3. Carve out a pantry between the studs.

Hey, homeowners — this is ingenious if you’re willing to take on a small project. Turns out, there’s usually just enough space in between the studs of your wall for a tall, narrow cabinet. Use it to hold bottles, cans, boxes, and other pantry items. We especially love this example from David Heide Design Studio.

See the rest of the kitchen: Warwick Street Bungalow at David Heide Design Studio

4. Add a pull-out table to a bookshelf.

Maybe you already use a bookshelf to hold dishes, small appliances, cookbooks, and the like? Steal this idea from IKEA Hackers and use a length of plywood and two legs to create surprising extra prep space. The added doors turn the shelves into cabinets, so you can store less display-worthy stuff like food storage containers, mismatched bowls, and more.

See more: EXPEDIT Kitchen Storage and Counter at IKEA Hackers

5. Put the bottom of your cabinets to work.

Attach Mason jar lids to the bottom of your upper cabinets, like this photo from HGTV, and then you can screw jars — filled with nuts, dried pasta, popcorn, and other shelf-stable items — right in. It’ll free up counter and shelf space, while looking extra cute.

See more smart ideas: 50 Things to Get Rid of Right Now at HGTV

6. Don’t waste that space between your fridge and wall.

If you’ve got space between the fridge and the wall, use it! Follow these steps from Classy Clutter to build a rolling cabinet that’s just wide enough to store spices and canned goods. Not handy? You can also buy something similar from The Container Store.

For the steps: DIY Canned Food Organizer Tutorial at Classy Clutter

7. Store trash bags on a roll.

In the under-the-sink area, every inch counts — so use that cabinet wall space to hold trash bags and make more space for your cleaning supplies. Simply Organized has a great tutorial to show you how to set it up.

Get the how-to: Trash Bags on a Roll at Simply Organized

8. Use sponge caddies for little packets.

Get those pesky, floppy soup and drink packets out of a jumble by mounting sponge holders to the wall. Don’t usually buy these packets? You can still use this idea from Make Bake Celebrate to corral ketchup or soy sauce packets, extra chopsticks from takeout night, and other random odds and ends.

Get more ideas: Pantry Makeover! at Make Bake Celebrate

9. Add shelves over your doorway.

Add narrow shelves around your doorways to eke out just enough space for oddly shaped items like vases and cheese boards. These built-ins from Lauren Rubin Architecture are a legit project, but you can also just hang a single, simple shelf over the doorway and call it a day.

See more pics: Art Deco Combination at Lauren Rubin Architecture

10. Add shelves inside your cabinets.

You’re probably already adjusting your shelves to get maximum storage, but you can almost double your stacking space with a little shelf riser like in this picture from A Bowl Full of Lemons. A classic solution that’s easy to forget!

See more: Home Organization 101 at A Bowl Full of Lemons

11. Hang things in front of your window.

Lucky enough to have a window in your tiny kitchen? That’s awesome! Now hang a few things in front of it. Blocking the natural light might seem like a bad idea, but a simple bar with a few pots and pans actually becomes a cool focal point in the room.

12. Store cutting boards on the side of your cabinets.

Cutting boards are such a weird, awkward shape that it can be hard to store them in a cabinet. Instead, store them on a cabinet. Putting a nail or a hook on the side of a cabinet makes good use of a space that would otherwise be wasted.

What are some of your smart storage ideas for small kitchens?