Kitchen storage ideas – 35 tricks to a tidier, better space

Pretty yet practical kitchen storage ideas to keep your kitchen looking neat and tidy

kitchen storage ideas
(Image credit: Future/Devol)

Clever kitchen storage ideas, matched with precision planning, can transform a chaotic space into one that's neat and tidy for working, cooking and entertaining.

When it comes to planning kitchen ideas, efficient storage is essential to ensure that your space works harmoniously. With the kitchen coming under increasing pressure to perform a variety of crucial roles, such as family dining, relaxing, working and entertaining, a good layout and adequate storage ideas are more important than ever. 

'High capacity, well-sited storage is essential to keep everything neat and tidy, providing a clutter-free space that’s a pleasure to use,' says Danny Lay at Caple.

Kitchen storage ideas

Clutter is the nemesis of practical spaces and there is no more practical space than the modern kitchen

Kitchen countertops need to be clear to aid food preparation and ensure cleanliness, and you also need to be able to quickly put your hands on your cooking essentials. Kitchen storage ideas will help you to organize your kitchen area – a must when it comes to keeping the space organized and decluttered.

1. Make the most of all the available space

Characterful spacious kitchen diner with Georgian bespoke carpentry in bright blue, storage and a kitchen island

(Image credit: Future)

When designing a kitchen, an often asked question is ‘what to do with the space above the cabinets?’ Traditionally, it is left empty, with cupboards ending a few inches shy of the ceiling. However, this space then is vulnerable to gathering dust and grease. Instead, utilize this dead space by opting for full-height kitchen cabinet ideas. This design by Drew Forsyth & Co has ingeniously created a generous wine store in the space above the cabinetry.

Regardless of the height, it is important you know how to clean kitchen cabinets and organize kitchen cabinets to keep the space hygienic and clutter-free.

If you're thinking about buying new cabinets then visiting one of the best places to buy kitchen cabinets or commissioning a bespoke design will ensure your find the right piece for your space.

2. Integrate storage into seating

Characterful spacious kitchen diner with Georgian bespoke carpentry in bright blue, storage and a kitchen island

(Image credit: Humphrey Munson)

Chairs offer no storage potential while an in-built bench provides plenty of space to house those occasionally used appliances or cookware. Baskets provide a rustic look, while drawers will provide a more seamless appearance. Alternatively, kitchen seating ideas such as a window seat with a hinged top will truly maximize the space. 

Banquette seating in a kitchen always brings a convivial vibe to the space and makes the kitchen feel sociable and also much more comfortable with space for guests to sit and relax. Storage is always key, whatever the size of the kitchen, so don’t waste this golden opportunity to add in pull-out drawers that can be utilized for things that aren’t required in everyday use. We often find they are useful for children’s things as they are easy to access low down and often tucked a little way from the main cooking area,’ says Louisa Eggleston, Creative Director at Humphrey Munson.

3. Maximize space with bespoke designs

cream kitchen with island and wooden floor

(Image credit: Neptune)

When it comes to traditional kitchen ideas, storage is one of the biggest challenges. Nothing in an old home is a conventional shape or size – while this brings immeasurable character to the space, it can make installing cabinetry or shelving more difficult. This is where bespoke designs come to the fore. 

Installing bespoke cabinetry ensures that your pieces fit your unusually shaped room perfectly – so long as you how to commission bespoke joinery. They can also be designed to suit your own specific storage needs and appliances.

4. Integrate appliances into your island

Kitchen with exposed oak beams, large kitchen island and breakfast bar with view through an arch to the dining room.

(Image credit: Future/Brent Darby)

The kitchen island is a favorite feature in the kitchen due to its ability to provide additional workspace and bring a lifestyle edge. However, the island also offers the opportunity to add more storage. Rather than opting for a solid island, make the space earn its footprint. 

Here a drinks fridge, wine racks, and cupboards, drastically increase the storage potential. Plus, if you are planning to add a seating area to your island, installing cupboards underneath the worktop will give you space to house lesser-used items. 

5. Keep appliances and gadgets behind closed doors

open green cabients in kitchen with appliances and breakfast essentials

(Image credit: Herringbone Kitchens)

If space is tight, consider incorporating drawers as well as shelves into your larder cupboards. When closed, this cupboard, designed by Herringbone Kitchens, has a minimalist appearance, however, when opened it not only houses two deep pan drawers but also provides a permanent home for appliances that would otherwise clutter the worktop, complete with power outlets. 

6. Let function and form meet in the middle

Modern kitchen ideas with stone worktop

(Image credit: Roundhouse)

Great kitchen storage doesn't have to mean sacrificing the good looks of your kitchen. If anything, it can be used to give it a boost. 

'The kitchen island is always going to be the largest piece of kitchen storage furniture any space will have, and is usually the key focal point of the room, too,' says Lucy Searle, Editor in Chief, Homes & Gardens. 'Ensuring its design is beautiful is vital, and this can be achieved simply by choosing a stand-out countertop; the kitchen above by Roundhouse has an island in a striking material that is illuminated from within, so that, at night, it glows from within. The fact that the island includes plenty of kitchen storage is almost incidental.'

7. Ensure drawer space is maximized

Organize kitchen drawers

(Image credit: Harvey Jones)

Kitchen drawers at base level are undeniably a better choice than cabinets that you have to reach to the back of while on your knees to access anything, particularly if you are planning to use them for smaller items, such as crockery or food. 

'If you want to have a sleek kitchen, it's better for multiple, individual drawers to be hidden behind a single large drawer front, as in the kitchen above,' says Jen Ebert, digital editor Homes & Gardens. 'Then you can organize kitchen drawers behind the front into categories as you normally would.'

8. Maximize kitchen storage space with a double island

white kitchen double islands with stone flooring, bar stools, navy wall

(Image credit: Martin Moore)

Double island kitchens are a sensible solution if you have a large, square room with plenty of floor space in the center of the room, allowing you to rethink your kitchen layout ideas, so that kitchen storage is at its heart.

'This type of layout is unusual,' says Lucy Searle. 'But it does enable you rethink an awkward space and to design a kitchen that plays to the efficiency of the classic kitchen triangle, with storage worked around it. I would advise that seating is worked into one of the islands to make the space feel sociable rather than soulless – facing a great view is always the best positioning for this if possible.'

9. Design a floor-to ceiling, half-depth cabinet

Floor to ceiling kitchen cabinet in neutral color with doors open to show shelves and drawers

(Image credit: Martin Moore)

We've sung the praises of half-depth, floor-to-ceiling cabinets for kitchen storage before, and will continue to do so again and again. Half-depth, tall cabinets are a fantastic solution when floor space is limited, or when you need to work cabinetry around architectural elements, such as old chimney breasts, plus they make accessing what you need incredibly easy. 

Organizing kitchen cabinets so that the least-used items are up on the higher and lower shelves, and the most-used are between waist and eye level is the most efficient approach.

10. Be clever with wine storage

wooden kitchen units with black countertops and wine store with door to garden in background

(Image credit: Wing Ho)

Ideally, we would all have wine rooms in which to keep our best vintages, alleviating our kitchens of the need for storage there. But in truth, wine storage is usually limited to an in-kitchen cabinet that can hold perhaps a month's worth of wine.

The best way to incorporate this type of kitchen storage? The solution above is one of them: it allows for easy access and visibility, and the bottles can be split between white and red or 'every day' and 'special'. Plus, the use of an awkward end-of-run space for a half-width cabinet makes it perfect for wine bottle storage. A similar idea can be repeated on kitchen islands, with red in a storage solution like this and wine in a cooling refrigerator next to it.

11. Rethink space under the kitchen sink

kitchen sink with wicker basket

(Image credit: Future)

Kitchen sink ideas usually focus on the design of the sink itself with the storage beneath a tricky series of compromises where at best you might keep some difficult to access cleaning bottles. 

However, organizing under the sink can be improved both in terms of practicality and looks. Here, a more rustic approach with pretty baskets allows for a variety of kitchen storage uses while creating an eye-catching focus. For a sleeker, more modern finish, you could swap baskets for smart drawer fronts instead. 

12. Use a ladder to maximize your ceiling heights

Blue floor to ceiling kitchen cabinets with ladder

(Image credit: Mowlem & Co)

'There are many creative bespoke solutions to storage in the kitchen,' explains Jane Stewart, design director at Mowlem & Co London. 'One way is to maximize full ceiling heights with a traditional sliding ladder, which also makes a great decorative feature.' 

To break up a large wall of kitchen cupboard storage ideas, it's also a good idea to use a combination of closed and open solutions. 'Items such as collectible ceramics or less frequently used vases can be placed on open shelving to be enjoyed when not in use, while delicate glassware or 'special occasion' table linens are best placed in closed cupboards with multiple inner configurations so that they carefully cared for but easily accessed,' adds Jane.

13. Hang frequently used utensils above a working island

Off-white and black kitchen with hanging rack above the island

(Image credit: Smallbone)

It can be a fine balance keeping cooking utensils close to hand without your kitchen looking too busy. One option is to adopt a professional approach – in this Smallbone kitchen hanging storage has been installed above the working kitchen island, much like you’d find in a working restaurant kitchen. Not only does this mean you can have equipment nearby without cluttering up your countertops, but it also makes a statement in the centre of your kitchen.

An alternative to this is a utensil holder. Whether for keeping on your countertop for ease of reach or for hiding in open shelving, this keeps your utensils together — and looking neat and tidy.

14. Turn your backsplash into clever storage

Green kitchen with marble worktop and splashback which incorporates storage

(Image credit: Future/ Paul Massey)

Building a kitchen backsplash out into the room may be of more value to your kitchen than the space it initially takes up. Here in the kitchen of Roddy Murray, founder of interior design practice RJ Murray Design, and his partner Andrew Keith, president of both Hong Kong-based fashion retailer Joyce and luxury department store, is an impressive marble backsplash that not only provides clever cubby-style storage set within, but creates a shelf above to display the couple’s favorite pieces of dinnerware sets and kitchenware too. It's also a great place to store a coffee canister so that it's easy to reach early in the morning.

15. Tailor your storage design to unusually-shaped rooms

kitchen with dark walls and curved open shelving

(Image credit: deVOL)

Unusually shaped rooms don’t have to stand in the way of efficient kitchen storage. In fact, having a bespoke design that works with the shape of the room, rather than against it, can open up the opportunities to add in necessary kitchen storage. 

This deVOL kitchen, for example, accentuates the property’s original curved walls and low windows while still incorporating plenty of practical storage space. 'The curved wall has bespoke shelves and a slender brass rail, giving this area a very special feel,' adds Helen Parker, creative director at deVOL

16. Add freestanding pieces for a more layered, eclectic look

A kitchen with freestanding furniture and open shelving

(Image credit: Alex James/ Chris Dyson Architects)

A mix and match approach with freestanding kitchen furniture can often be better than fitted kitchen cabinetry when it comes to storage, particularly in older properties. 

Remaining sympathetic to this Grade I listed building, Chris Dyson Architects helped to restore the original layout and features of this home. An antique-style tall freestanding cupboard discreetly houses a fridge freezer, while this impressive sideboard has been adapted to include a sink and hob, as well as house handy undercounter storage boxes.

17. Install a hardworking pantry that uses every inch of space

walk-in pantry with full length condiment rack on the door

(Image credit: Humphrey Munson)

'When it comes to pantry organization ideas, more is always more and the best ones always use every last drop of available space,' says Louisa Eggleston, creative director at Humphrey Munson. 'Even the back of the door can be utilized for storage by including a full-length spice and condiment rack to provide easy and quick access to everyday essentials.' 

Ladders or steps can help you make the most of the space too, while open shelving allows you to see what you have in your larder cupboard with ease.

18. Zone different areas for kitchen storage

A light and airy kitchen with blush pink cabinets and open shelving storing crockery

(Image credit: Future/ Paul Massey)

Consider your space as divided into zones for specific functions, planning appropriate storage for each area and creating an easy sense of flow around the room. 

'In larger spaces, for example, you might plan a dresser on a wall between the kitchen and dining areas, linking the two zones and providing crockery and cutlery storage close to the dining table and to a dishwasher, perhaps built into an island close by,' says designer Emma Sims-Hilditch.

19. Make the most of cupboard space

An example of kitchen storage ideas showing a cream floor to ceiling pull-out cabinet

(Image credit: Future / Darren Chung)

There has been a significant move away from base unit cupboards in favor of drawers. The real bonus of drawers is the ease of accessibility. 

If you have found yourself on your hands and knees scrabbling at the back of a cabinet to find some long-forgotten item, you’ll recognize the advantage of kitchen storage ideas that double as drawers, pulling open to offer a full view of their contents.

20. Look at the bigger picture

An example of kitchen storage ideas showing a kitchen with gray cabinets and two wooden bar stools against the wall

(Image credit: Future / James Merrell)

If you have the room, consider a walk-in larder or pantry. Clever pantry ideas provide storage, freeing up the kitchen for preparation and cooking. Ideally, a walk-in includes drawers at the lower level, shelves above for optimum storage, and you may want to add extras, such as a microwave and sink.

Current kitchen trends go a step further with whole kitchens disappearing from view behind vast sliding doors. 

Much like a walk-in wardrobe, these generous banks of storage are fitted with shelves and internal drawers to make everything organised in one place.

21. Opt for an island

Black kitchen cabinets behind a matching black kitchen island with an open cabinet door showing glasses

(Image credit: Future / Paul Raeside)

Islands play an essential part in functional kitchens, providing a handy area to prepare food, socialise, eat and even store extra equipment. 

If space allows, incorporate bespoke kitchen island ideas, such as a unit with handleless cabinets, that will neatly store your glassware and crockery out of sight.

22. Let shelves come into their own

An example of kitchen storage ideas showing a blue and cream kitchen with a dining table and open shelving above a sink in the background

(Image credit: Future / Jody Stewart)

Kitchen storage can come in many forms other than traditional wall cupboards.

Kitchen shelving is a great option if you are the proud owner of an impressive crockery collection, or are a keen cook who appreciates having ingredients close at hand. 

Having everything on display, however, is not for the faint-hearted as it requires a certain amount of dedication to keep shelves looking smart.

23. Pretty up a dull cabinet

A glass-fronted display cabinet with rattan cabinet doors next to a blue and white seat with a rattan back

(Image credit: Future/Jon Day)

Small kitchen storage ideas do not have to be purely practical, it can also be stylish. 

Your favorite wallpaper ideas can be used to line the back of the cupboard to create an attractive display. Here, a large-scale pattern adds intrigue to the interior of a cupboard, making a striking backdrop for neutral ceramics.

24. Use drawers rather than cupboards

An open kitchen drawers storing white crockery

(Image credit: Future / David Parmiter)

A 1290mm-wide drawer will likely allow you to store all your pans in one readily accessible space, which is much easier than delving into the back of a cupboard to retrieve a heavy casserole dish. 

When planning how to organize a kitchen, use drawer dividers to store cutlery and utensils, plates and bowls, pans and lids. Some systems include roll holders for foil and cling film, sloping shelves to lay spice jars with their labels easy to read at a glance, knife blocks, espresso racks to organise pod refills, and more. 

'There’s something undeniably satisfying about opening a drawer and finding everything in its right place,' says Bernard Otulakowski, MD, SieMatic

25. Think tall

Kitchen storage ideas showing an open plan kitchen with a marble effect island and glass front cabinets on one side

(Image credit: Future / Darren Chung)

While drawers make great use of space below hip level, you may also want to make the most of the ceiling height of your kitchen with a section of tall cabinets to house an integrated fridge, freezer and eye-level oven and coffee machine, as well as dry food larder storage. 

'The trend is about lots of storage hidden behind sliding doors, so that the kitchen can be shut away when not being used,' says Alex Orosia, Marketing Manager, Porcelanosa

Slide and hide systems can create, when closed, a feeling of uncluttered space, with the advantage that everything is within easy reach when open. Pocket doors which open, pivot and slide into side recesses, leaving contents directly accessible without doors in the way, are also particularly useful here. 

26. Invest in fitted storage

An example of kitchen storage ideas showing open shelving storing crockery, books and lamps in between kitchen cabinets

(Image credit: Future)

Fitted kitchen storage can be specialist and comprehensive, detailed to suit your needs, and adjusted to fit your space. 

You can also supplement standard units with bespoke elements, such as an under-stairs pantry, custom-made to fit the dimensions of your room. 

If this is not offered by your kitchen supplier, you may wish to commission a local joiner. Here, simple shelves fill up unused space between two fitted cabinets.

27. Factor in freestanding elements

An open-plan country style cream kitchen with a dining table, an island and a french dresser

(Image credit: Future / Alicia Taylor)

You may prefer to use freestanding kitchen furniture to create a more individual look. 

Dressers and glazed cabinets can be used to display decorative china and glassware, adding character to your kitchen, while a sideboard can be used to store china for the dining table, linking cooking and eating areas.

28. Make your storage work hard

A modern white kitchen with handleless cupboards and wooden parquet flooring

(Image credit: Future / Richard Powers)

Make your kitchen work efficiently by cutting down on wasted walking time. 

If you're wondering how to organize a kitchen, arrange your storage carefully: it helps if your fridge and freezer are close to your larder, so that you can unload bags of groceries quickly and easily.

The same applies to unloading the dishwasher, so make sure that china and cutlery are stored close by, and preferably also in easy reach of the dining area. Store mugs near the coffee machine or boiling water tap, wine glasses near the wine fridge or your wine storage, and pots and pans under the hob. Try to keep storage areas which need to be accessed frequently away from the main cooking area, so that the drinks server doesn’t fall over the chef. 

29. Choose a double pantry

An example of kitchen storage ideas showing a large gray kitchen with cabinets, an island, and open shelving in the background

Hartford in Lovage and Marjoram, from Tom Howley

(Image credit: Tom Howley)

Smaller than a walk-in pantry, a double pantry is a great place to hide all the everyday chaos. 

Bi-folding cabinet doors offer neater, more usable access to the contents of the cupboards without blocking other cabinets. The space inside is expansive, often with work surface space for smaller appliances, such as your kettle and toaster. It’s also a great place to store your cereals, crockery, tea, coffee and cookbooks.  

'Effective kitchen storage is of course the primary function of the pantry, this comes down to not only the internal working of the cabinet but also where to incorporate it into a kitchen design,' explains Tom Howley, Design Director of Tom Howley

30. Make good use of ceiling height

A shaker style kitchen with a large gray island below two pendant ceiling lights

(Image credit: Tom Howley)

Why waste the storage opportunity of lovely high ceilings – especially if space is limited elsewhere. 

There are a range of kitchen cabinet ideas to choose from and they can be built floor-to-ceiling with handcrafted doors, open shelving or glazed doors; whichever is best for your space. 

High cupboards offer useful storage for gadgets or crockery you don’t use or need very often.  

According to Tom Howley: 'With a bespoke kitchen designer, you will be able to design floor-to-ceiling units that give maximum storage. In general, I advise clients only to fit floor-to-ceiling cabinetry if they have lofty, high ceilings. 

'If space is limited, kitchen storage ideas, such as waist-height pull-out drawers are the best option. A waist-height unit means you’ll have access to copious countertop space that floor-to-ceiling cabinetry cannot provide in the absence of an island counter, and lots of low lying storage units. This will open up the space at head height to give the impression of a more spacious kitchen.'

31. Display treasured crockery and pottery

Kitchen storage ideas showing a white kitchen with open shelving on the wall and dark green drawers below

(Image credit: Future / James Merrell)

Open shelving encourages a tidy space because items are on show. It’s a great opportunity to display treasured pottery instead of hiding them away behind closed doors. 

Arrange glass jars containing dried goods or exotic spices in size order on an open shelf for a practically stylish pinch of color. Open shelving helps light flow through and can make a small kitchen look bigger. It’s a great kitchen storage alternative if space is at a premium, as shelves make smaller spaces feel less cramped.  

'We are seeing a real increase in popularity of open shelving amongst our clientele, who want to carry the aesthetic of the rest of their homes into the kitchen by displaying their most beautiful belongings on open shelving,' says Sophie Hartley, Kitchen Designer at Tom Howley.

32. Save space with curved kitchen storage

A curved gray kitchen island with an open cabinet showing stored crockery

(Image credit: Tom Howley)

Curved cabinetry offers practical storage that simply takes up less floor space than square-cornered pieces.

'The kitchen island is often a hive of activity with cooking, eating, work, learning, and play centered around this area,' says Tom Howley. 

'When designing a kitchen island, it is essential to consider both internal solutions and exterior proportions. Many aspects of your kitchen design can determine your kitchen island size and shape. You can opt for integrated bench seating, consider extra knee room for practical kitchen seating ideas – or design a bespoke circular table if you have the room.'

33. Use every inch to good purpose

A light pink kitchen with white worktops and an open cabinet showing a microwave

(Image credit: Tom Howley)

'People don’t only gather in the kitchen at parties; this hard-working room often gets the most footfall throughout the day, as people naturally gravitate towards it for food and company,' says Tom Howley. 

'As such, it can make sense to separate some activities from the rest of the room. Here, a narrow sliver of wall has been put to good use with a breakfast station. Everyone can help themselves, then close the door until such time as one of them tidies up.'

34. Light up open storage units

An example of kitchen storage ideas showing a dark gray kitchen with open shelving and an island with white worktops

(Image credit: Tom Howley)

Beautifully constructed kitchen storage ideas can become features in their own right when illuminated with smart kitchen lighting ideas

One way to really draw attention to them is to light them – whether with downlights in open shelves, as shown in the kitchen picture above by Tom Howley, lighting inside cabinetry or with accent lighting from the ceiling or walls. 

35. Make kitchen storage blend away

A large black and white kitchen with a wooden dining bench, open shelving storing crockery and a colorful rug

(Image credit: Future / Lisa Cohen)

Sometimes you don't want to show off kitchen storage ideas – you want to highlight what you're displaying on them. 

In this black and white kitchen, this technique is shown off to perfection. The shelves are painted the same color as the wall behind, allowing the curves of the china to stand out in sharp relief.

How much storage do you need in a kitchen?

Before embarking on a kitchen project, it’s always a good idea to have a good clear-out and to take stock of your kitchen possessions so you know how much you need to store and how. These expert decluttering habits to help you get started.

The ‘where’ is just as important as the ‘what’ and a good designer will devise a kitchen layout that puts the necessary storage in all the right places. 

A pantry or larder should be close to your fridge and freeze, for instance, making it quick and easy to unload groceries. Likewise, china and cutlery should be stored close to the dishwasher. 

How do I get more storage in my kitchen?

Precision planning is the best way of keeping your kitchen from descending into chaos. In a multi-use, open-plan kitchen, try to allocate dedicated storage in each area, not just the kitchen cupboards. 

Keeping everything neatly behind closed doors is much easier if the interiors are designed with specific contents in mind. Smaller items will benefit from a shallow drawer with numerous compartments to keep items separated and easy to locate. 

'Installing an island with cabinets on both sides helps maximize storage in the dining area for formal crockery and glassware,' adds Tony McCarthy, commercial director at Crown Imperial.

For example, window seats with deep pull-out drawers are perfect for stashing away toys. Ensure that there’s at least one drawer or shelving unit near the TV for tidying away books, remote controls and games consoles. 

You can use open-shelving, dressers, islands and larder ideas instead of cupboards. While traditional cabinetry is highly practical, it doesn't suit every space and scheme. In these cases, freestanding kitchens will prove invaluable in increasing your kitchen storage ideas.

Jennifer Ebert
Deputy Editor (Digital)

Jennifer is the Digital Editor at Homes & Gardens. Having worked in the interiors industry for a number of years, spanning many publications, she now hones her digital prowess on the 'best interiors website' in the world. Multi-skilled, Jennifer has worked in PR and marketing, and the occasional dabble in the social media, commercial and e-commerce space. Over the years, she has written about every area of the home, from compiling design houses from some of the best interior designers in the world to sourcing celebrity homes, reviewing appliances and even the odd news story or two.