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

Your kitchen doesn't have to be a hot mess

Modern white kitchen with pastel and light wood accessories
(Image credit: @hotpinkpineapples)

Is your small kitchen more nightmare than chic cooking spot? If storage 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.

1. Store and display with stylish canisters

Black kitchen cart filled with mono kitchenalia

(Image credit: @dougs.digs)

Banish plastics and packaging and use attractive (and refillable) glass and ceramic storage jars to store 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 display of on-hand ingredients. 

2. Create a cute mug wall

Cute mug display wall idea using wooden pegboard

(Image credit: @joannajwestwood)

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 to divide and conquer 

Kitchen drawer storage solution using drawer dividers

(Image credit: @organizing.engineers)

Isabelle Wood, founder @organizing.engineers (opens in new tab), 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. Hang up your fruit

Macrame tiered fruit hanger

(Image credit: SnugLifeArt at Etsy)

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

Rustic kitchen with rustic-industrial kitchen trolley stashed with baking essentials at the ready

(Image credit: @thethriftedcottage)

Tiny kitchens are way more manageable when you have a kitchen 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 rail for hanging towels and utensils

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 (opens in new tab)'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 storage boxes in cupboards

Organized 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. Utilize the top of the microwave

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 its 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 — its an easy and budget-friendly kitchen idea.

9. Store and display dinnerware with 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)

Tiny apartment kitchen with limited counter space? 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 creates a display opportunity. You could also install a plate rack on a bland wall, which will keep your favorite pieces front and center.

10. Create a utensil wall feature

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).

11. 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 best kitchen shelfie mode on and style with go-to crockery, glassware, and seasonal florals for a nice touch. 

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

12. Declutter your counters

Pink backsplash and white walls in small kitchen with styled open wall shelf

(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, and chopping board. 

13. Utilize the empty space on top of cabinets

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. 

Content Editor

Holly is a Content Editor at Real Homes, and has previously worked at Future Homes brands including Country Homes & Interiors and Livingetc. She has a background in interior and event styling spanning a decade, which previously took her from coast to city and beyond to Australia. 

Holly loves working with creative minds and discovering fresh, indie brands, and is a firm believer that no home can have too many cushions, unruly blooms or decorative details of happy