12 small kitchen storage ideas to copy that'll make room for all your stuff

To the window, to the wall 🎵

A modern kitchen with lilac kitchen storage basket and hanging utility rail
(Image credit: @huisjevullings)

Are your small kitchen storage ideas giving more "ick" than interior design-led? If space is non-existent and your drawers and cabinets are full of unruly utensils and that one impulse-buy blender, it's time for a refresh. Let's not even get started on the stacks of food storage and pot lids.

Spaces like this are cut out for a cooking space detox, and these small kitchen storage ideas help make that possible. A storage-savvy transformation is within reach and it won't take weeks to do or hundreds of dollars to create.

When your apartment is lacking extra-large countertops and an island, it takes thinking outside the box. It's still totally doable, you just need to sprinkle in these easy kitchen storage ideas. Here's how.

12 small kitchen storage ideas to screenshot

Make the most out of a tiny kitchen by implementing one or a few of these ideas.

1. Store items in stylish canisters

Kitchen pantry storage by Natalie Walton

Pantry storage in white kitchen by Natalie Walton

(Image credit: Natalie Walton)

Banish plastics and packaging and use attractive (and refillable) glass and ceramic pantry storage containers to display dried foods like pulses and grains and baking essentials — the planet will thank you for it!  Display a happy family of canisters and jars on a transportable kitchen cart, or on open shelving to create a stylish collection of on-hand ingredients. 

2. Create a cute mug wall

A mug tree in a modern kitchen

(Image credit: Mara Greenwald)

One for all the mug aficionados out there (me included). Put your cutest cups on display and free up cabinet space for ugly kitchen supplies and tools. Mug trees and peg walls both work well. Both take up little counter space and put mugs within reach — perfect for avid coffee and tea drinkers. These storage ideas are perfect for setting up a mini coffee bar, too. 

3. Use drawer dividers

Isabelle Wood, founder @organizing.engineers, has pro advice for your messy drawers. “In a kitchen, you can find many different sizes and shapes of cooking gadgets and utensils," Wood notes. "For that reason, adjustable drawer dividers are your best friend when organizing your kitchen drawers. They allow you to adjust the size based on your items without wasting any space.”

4. Let fruit hang

A macrame hanging fruit hammock in kitchen with coral-colored wallpaper covering

(Image credit: @monicasporch)

One of the challenges that can come with a small kitchen is limited fridge space. Some fridges are way too small to fit all your groceries, and this is especially true of fruits and vegetables.

The good news is that many fruit and veggies do just as well, and sometimes even better when stored out of the fridge. Try hanging them high in bags and baskets instead. You'll be easily reminded to smash the avo for your toast or add a banana to your smoothie.

5. Invest in a kitchen cart

Tiny kitchens are way more manageable when you have a cart on your side. They're a fantastic storage idea, especially when your few cabinets and drawers are already full.

You can easily move them around the space so they never feel like they are in the way, and provide space for those awkward appliances and utensils you don't know what to do with.

Louise Blair, digital creator @dougs.digs, says, "adding versatile pieces that can multifunction and provide much-needed extra storage space is the way forward, hence why a trolley is a total winner in my books!" 

Look for carts, cabinets, risers, and containers that serve more than one purpose.

6. Install a towel and utensil rail

Personality filled, cozy small kitchen with coffee station area and hanging rail

(Image credit: @innuskyhome)

No counter space for utensils? No problem. Install a small wall rail to hang your most-used spoons and spatulas and your favorite kitchen towels. It's a great addition to a small cooking space as demonstrated above by @innuskyhome's gorgeous coffee nook idea. Drilling isn't necessary either. There are plenty of wall-mounted options that use adhesives rather than screws.

7. Categorize your storage boxes

Orgnaized pantry interior with categorized white boxes of foodstuffs, and hanging spice rack and towel rail on door back.

(Image credit: @little_house_on_tyrone)

Say hello to organized cupboards with the help of categorized storage caddies and boxes. Simply group similar items together, label them, and arrange them in a uniform fashion. And phew, that's one satisfying tick off the to-do list. Stash larger boxes full of heavier items like casserole dishes and saucepans on the lower levels and lighter-weight items on higher shelves.

It's worth equipping your space with a few small kitchen organizers, too, to cut down on clutter and maximize storage space in seconds.

8. Use the top of the microwave as storage space

A microwave top shelving unit on a microwave by A Place For Everything

(Image credit: A Place For Everything)

Microwave on the countertop? Why not consider this small kitchen appliance's storage potential, too? Add instant storage space for breakfast essentials and the best small coffee maker by popping a small shelving unit or tray on top and be impressed by just how much will fit there — it's an easy and budget-friendly kitchen idea.

9. Create a utensil wall

A wall in a small kitchen with various storage solutions for hanging pots, pans, kitchen utensils and more

(Image credit: Ikea)

Free up drawer space and start using the walls for extra storage. Stashing knives on a magnetic rack near your food preparation area is more convenient than having them all mixed up in a drawer.

We think this looks stylish as well as practical, plus it's the perfect solution for filling a wall that you can't install cabinetry on. Add in some hanging potted herbs for a fresh hit and rustic vibe. And if you're renting, try this idea on the back of the door with over-door hangers (and keep that wall nail free).

10. Take storage towards the ceiling

Calm small kitchen with sage green walls, white metro backsplash, and floating shelves with glass storage jars and kitchen bits in mint hues

(Image credit: @laura.elizabeth_)

With limited prep space to chop, mix, and make cooking magic happen, you need to look to your walls for support.

Open kitchen shelving provides the ideal opportunity to make a functional and eye-pleasing display. Get your shelfie mode on and style with go-to crockery, glassware, and seasonal florals for a nice touch. 

"Open shelves are great for storage and make the space feel less overcrowded," @laura.elizabeth advises. A small cook zone actually can pack a punch. 

11. Declutter your countertops

A modern kitchen with pink tiles, wooden shelving and decluttered counter

A modern kitchen with pink tiles, wooden shelving and decluttered counter

(Image credit: @megmonde)

It's time to be pickier about what goes on your countertops. If you don't use something daily, say bye. You don't have to become a full-blown minimalist, it's just a matter of freeing up space and keeping your kitchen feeling clean. Instead of cramming countertops with storage baskets and appliances, you used last month, spice things up with a cool kettle, toaster, or a stylish serving board

12. Utilize the empty space on top of cabinets

A stylish neutral modern small kitchen with brass hardware, warm neutral cabinets, white wall tiles, and kitchenalia stored on top of cupboards

A stylish neutral modern small kitchen with brass hardware, warm neutral cabinets, white wall tiles, and kitchenalia stored on top of cupboards

(Image credit: @bricks.and.ivory)

We often forget or dismiss the tops of cupboards. For most of us, they're just dust collectors. Well, think again. Not only do these neglected spots provide prime storage space for occasionally used items, but they give you a chance to create a cute display, too. Storing things up here naturally draws the eye up, too, giving the illusion of a larger kitchen. It's a win-win. 

Personally, I've always used this idea in my cozy rentals, and it's an absolute game-changer if your kitchen is lacking in storage. And to keep dust at bay, grab yourself a handheld vacuum with our top-rated picks. 

Christina Chrysostomou
Former acting head ecommerce editor

Hi, I'm the former acting head ecommerce editor at Real Homes. Prior to working for the Future plc family, I've worked on a number of consumer events including the Ideal Home Show, Grand Designs Live, and Good Homes Magazine. With a first class degree from Keele University, and a plethora of experience in digital marketing, editorial, and social media, I have an eye for what should be in your shopping basket and have gone through the internal customer advisor accreditation process.