Small kitchen storage ideas – 25 tips and tricks to organize a tiny space

Need some practical small kitchen storage ideas? These organization ideas for small kitchens will create a space that is both functional and good looking

a small beige kitchen with brass hardware, a Belfast sink, storage solutions and a small countertop
(Image credit: deVOL)

In need of a few small kitchen storage ideas for your tiny space? Sure, in an ideal world, we would all be cooking in spacious kitchens with sprawling islands and large pantries. 

Our guide will save you hours sifting through tons of kitchen storage ideas so you can hone in on small kitchen organization ideas that are relevant to your space. In reality, most kitchens are never quite big enough – you could always do with an extra cupboard or a bit more floor space. 

Or maybe you could do with just ripping out the old layout and figuring out how to design a small kitchen to start afresh. Luckily, even a very small kitchen can be made an agreeable space to cook in with a little bit of imagination.

Experts at Magnet (opens in new tab) agree, 'Storage is a significant part of creating a functional space. Even in the smallest of kitchens, the right storage can make it simple to cook meals, socialize, and spend time with your family. It can also make your kitchen feel more spacious, uncluttered, and enjoyable.'

From storage cabinets to shelves and jars, we have every size, shape, and style of small kitchen storage ideas covered so you can enjoy a kitchen that is snug and cozy, not cluttered, whether you're on a budget or you've got the cash to splurge.

1. Combine different types of storage

Ikea storage shelves as a peninsula in a kitchen

(Image credit: Ikea)

In a small space, more is always more where it comes to storage, with smaller storage items often more practical than one large piece. 

This eclectic mix of plate shelves (opens in new tab), cabinets (opens in new tab), and trolleys (opens in new tab) from Ikea creates a lived-in but not too busy effect, with everything in its right place. 

2. Hide a wall of shelves behind sliding panels

A black and white Ikea kitchen with shelving and dining table with chairs

(Image credit: Ikea)

Not everyone likes displaying their cookware. Besides, in a busy kitchen used by several people at once, an open shelf can mean an accident waiting to happen. 

If you prefer a streamlined look, with all your plates and jars protected, choose a wall storage option with sliding panels. This option works particularly well if your kitchen doubles up as a dining room. 

This kitchen's wall storage is hidden behind cover panels (opens in new tab) from Ikea.

3. Add extra small kitchen storage with an island

A small kitchen with grey cabinets, butcher's block, butler's sink, belfast sink, a slim Aga, range cooker in a rustic, country style

(Image credit: Neptune)

We would all love a huge kitchen with a kitchen island in the middle... But if your kitchen living space is too small to accommodate an island, or you are renting and there simply isn't one, consider a small kitchen island that's freestanding so you can position strategically to suit your layout.

4. Streamline your kitchen with simple wall units

A small white kitchen with a laundry/utility area with shelving

(Image credit: Ikea)

Have empty wall space that's perfect for a set of shelves? If you don't feel like spending time putting up individual shelves go for storage cubes that are super easy to put up and use fewer nails too – a big plus if you rent.

Want to put up a storage cube or two? We've got the how-to:

  1. Level the storage cube: Position the cube where you want it to go on the wall and use a spirit level, make sure it's straight.
  2. Locate wall studs with a stud finder to ensure a more secure attachment. It's best to have two or more screws on a stud.
  3. Drill holes: Ask someone to help hold the cube in place as you the drill the four holes through it and into the wall. The holes should measure approximately one inch within each of the cube's four corners.
  4. Use the right screws: Use drywall anchors (which come with most hanging kits) for any holes that won't be drilled into wall studs. Secure the cube to the wall with wood screws that have a length twice that of the cube's wood thickness.
  5. Disguise the screws: Use wood putty matching your cube’s interior color to hide the screw heads. Once the putty is dry, smooth it by sanding and paint over if needed.

5. Don’t rule out a pantry for small kitchen storage 

An open Chichester 690mm full height larder with laundry and cleaning products by Neptune

(Image credit: Neptune)

A full-height pantry is probably the single most efficient storage space in any kitchen, and can comfortably fit everything from kitchen utensils to a vacuum cleaner.

If your kitchen is small, but has even a corner to spare, a kitchen cabinet idea like a larder may well fit in there, freeing up vital space elsewhere. 

The Chichester range (opens in new tab) of larders from Neptune offers a variety of widths, including a very slim option at just 450mm wide. 

6. Put crockery on display on a long shelf

open shelving in a small kitchen with crockery and glass dry food containers above a wood countertop with built in stainless steel sink

(Image credit: Ikea)

Storing crockery in a small kitchen can be a bit of a nightmare, especially if you are trying to stuff fragile plates and bowls into tiny cabinets.

A neat alternative is putting it all on display – and within easy reach – on long, narrow shelves. Just make sure to put them up low enough to reach the plates easily. 

7. Use the top of the microwave as storage

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

(Image credit: A Place For Everything)

Microwave on the counter top? Why not consider its storage potential, too? Put a small shelving unit or tray on top of the microwave and be impressed by just how much will fit there.

8. Store your china on a plate rack

A slim stainless steel plate rack on a wall above a white countertop in a vintage style kitchen

(Image credit: Not On The High Street)

Plate drying racks that sit on the drainer take up way too much space in a small kitchen. A wall mounted plate rack, however, not only frees up precious space, but is a display opportunity not to be missed. 

The Middle Stainless Steel Rack (opens in new tab) from Stovold & Pogue is sturdy and won't rust, and has a utilitarian look that will add a contemporary twist to your kitchen decor. Available at Not On The High Street. 

9. Accessorize with storage jars

glass containers with dry goods on open shelving in a kitchen above a wood countertop

(Image credit: Kasia Fiszer)

If you can see your storage – which is guaranteed to be the case in a small kitchen – then you want it to be as good-looking as possible. 

Have fun with storage jars that are colorful and come in a variety of materials and sizes. 

10. Stack boxes for a functional small kitchen storage idea

A small kitchen unit/utility area with sink countertop in a small room with open shelving

(Image credit: Ikea)

Some kitchens are so pared down that that there may not even be an under-the-sink cabinet. If this is the case in your kitchen, create a contemporary look with simple and crisp storage boxes in different sizes. Lidded options are best, but some items will also do well in an open box.

 We like the versatile Tjena (opens in new tab) range from Ikea.

11. Tidy up your sink with a designated caddy

A blue Washing Up Tidy container by All things Brighton Beautiful

(Image credit: All Things Brighton Beautiful )

Sponges, scourers, and brushes can create a surprising (and annoying) amount of mess in a small kitchen, leaving unsightly pools of soapy water around the sink area. Keep your surfaces tidy and dry with a handsome and easy-to-clean metal caddy. 

The Washing Up Tidy (opens in new tab) from Garden Trading has three handy compartments – and is good-looking, too. 

12. Hang up your fruits and veggies

vegetables stored in hanging basket in a kitchen above a wooden countertop

(Image credit: Ikea)

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

The good news is that many vegetables do just as well – and sometimes even better – when stored out of the fridge so you can hang them up in bags and baskets instead. 

13. Invest in a multi-purpose wall storage cabinet 

a black and white kitchen with white subway tiles, black countertops and storage cubes mounted on the wall with a range of shelving

(Image credit: Ikea)

Small kitchens, especially those in rented spaces, often come without any wall cabinet storage. 

On a budget or don’t feel like bothering with installing kitchen cabinets, but still want a wall storage unit?

Invest in a wall cabinet that is well designed and not too kitchen specific. This way, you’ll be able to repurpose it for another room when moving. 

14. Make your shelves work harder 

A kitchen with various shelving units and space saving containers mounted on walls above white subway tiles

(Image credit: Ikea)

As you have probably realized, shelving in a small kitchen is a must – they are practical, yes but they also bring texture and color into a space where there might not be much room for adding say prints or decor. 

You can make your shelves work harder by adding in shelf inserts (opens in new tab) which subtly double the room and add in rails underneath too for hanging utensils. If you have cupboards, here's how to organize kitchen cabinets and keep clutter at bay.

15. Discover the versatility of a kitchen trolley

An Ikea wood trolley as storage with kitchen utensils under a ladder

(Image credit: Ikea)

We have sung the praises of the humble kitchen trolley many a time, but they are just a great storage idea, especially for a small kitchen. 

You can move them around the space so they never feel like they are in the way and are filled with handy extra storage space, and you can use the top as extra counter space too. Oh, and they look lovely!

16. Or create instant extra kitchen space with a couple of trollies 

two ikea wooden kitchen trolleys side by side used as counter space below open shelving

(Image credit: Ikea)

And if you have space for more than one kitchen trolley, putting multiple together can create was is essentially an instant, very budget friendly kitchen workspace. 

Another great option if you are renting and need more storage but can't go adding anything permanent.

17. Use the back of your door for extra storage

wall mounted storage for pots and pans from IKEA

(Image credit: Ikea)

Always make use of the back our your door in a small kitchen, whether it be just to hang your tea towels, or this genius idea of using it to hang your utensils and store your pan lids. 

This handy Ikea hack was created by just putting a couple of rails (opens in new tab) on the back of the door – easy peasy and super handy. 

18. Create a whole wall to hang utensils

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

(Image credit: Ikea)

And if the back of the door isn't a practical space for you to store kitchen stuff on, then create a similar set up on a wall. 

Experts at Ikea (opens in new tab) say, '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 actually think this looks is stylish as well as being practical, plus it's the perfect solution for filling a wall that you can't fit cabinetry on. Oh and add in some herbs too in a hanging pot (opens in new tab) for color and a decorative, rustic look.

19. DIY some extra storage with crates 

vintage crates as shelving storing food containers and crockery

(Image credit: Ikea)

This is a great small kitchen storage hack, especially if you are renting – use old crates to create a handy space for storing your most used crockery, cook books and foods. 

If you turn them on the side and stack them (be sure not to go too tall) you can use the top as extra surface space too, add a couple of baskets to create even more storage.

20. Add in some freestanding small kitchen storage

A freestanding unit in a kitchen with a dining table and chairs

(Image credit: Ikea)

If you small kitchen is in an open plan space, think about how you can use the adjoining rooms to add in some more storage. 

Look how this dresser is being used to house crockery that might not fit in your kitchen space but looks just as lovely slightly away from the kitchen in the dining area. 

21. Add a rail to keep essentials at hand 

A small grey kitchen with storage rails, a Belfast sink and white countertops

(Image credit: deVOL)

In case you haven't already seen, we are big fans of using rails to hang pots, pans and utensils from. 

They look lovely and are great for storing  more bulky cookware that might not fit in slime line cabinets. A nice place to mount one is on top of your backsplash – this gorgeous gold one is from deVOL (opens in new tab).

22. Hang a slimline spice rack

a small L shaped kitchen idea with grey/light blue cabinets, open shelving, black countertop and pots hanging by Neptune

(Image credit: Neptune)

A lot of smaller kitchens aren't going to have room for a pantry, but you can still find a home for your favorite spices and condiments with a slim spice rack that you can wall mount  but won't stick out into the room. For something similar check out Wayfair (opens in new tab).

23. Fit all type of storage in your small kitchen 

a small kitchen with mint green cabinets and open shelving above the Belfast sink and white subway backsplash

(Image credit: deVOL)

What a small, but perfectly formed kitchen. If you are totally redesigning your kitchen, storage should be top of your list.

Make sure you cover all the bases – mix closed and open storage, add glass fronted cabinets and plan from early on where your shelving is going to go. 

24. Squeeze in some wine storage

A small kitchen with wine storage, open cabinetry and shelving

(Image credit: Naked Kitchens)

Most of us can't fit in a wine room, but even in a small kitchen you could add some space for your favorite bottles.

Here you can see three rows of storage but if you are really tight on space you could just incorporate enough cubby holes for a small selection of bottles. 

25. Don't underestimate a kitchen stool

A small rustic kitchen with full height wall storage and open shelving

(Image credit: Ikea)

Yep, something  as small as a kitchen stool can provide that little bit of extra storage. 

They are also just generally useful to have in the house to reach up to higher cupboards, to perch on while you cook or, as you can see here, to provide more surface space to display your favorite cookbooks. 

Anna is Content Editor at Real Homes. She moved to the world of interiors from academic research in the field of English Literature and photography. She is the author of London Writing of the 1930s and has a passion for contemporary home decor and gardening. At Real Homes, she covers a range of topics, from practical advice to interior and garden design.