How to Add Storage in a Small Kitchen

Our kitchen isn't the prettiest space. The cabinets are plain, it's tiny, and the ceilings slope. But we do love the way everything fits neatly together. A friend once called it a "ship's galley kitchen" and we like to think of it that way—small but smart.

We've been slowly adding to it, rearranging small details to make them more functional. Mostly, we've sought ways to make the most of our limited space. Here are a few of the things that have worked for us.

  • Dishwasher Set into the Wall: Our smart landlord designed the kitchen layout, fitting the dishwasher snugly into the wall so that it wouldn't eat up valuable cabinet space. There's just enough room to load and unload it next to the kitchen sink.
  • Pegboard for Pots, Pans, and Kitchen Tools: This was one of our favorite DIY kitchen additions. It's freed up a lot of cabinet space, and by painting the pegboard a bright blue, we enlivened our standard white rental walls.
  • Freestanding Pantry: In a narrow space between the bedroom door and the eat-in dining area, we added a metal cabinet for food storage, clearing out the built-in cabinets for dishes.
  • Pedestal Table: We searched for several months before finding just the right table on craigslist. Its dinette size and tulip base fit snugly into our small breakfast nook.
  • Wall-Mounted Magnetic Knife Strip: We used to keep our knives in a block on the counter, but the magnetic strip cleared out just enough space to make our counters more usable.
  • Cabinet Inserts: We've used these for years. You can find inexpensive, simple wire-frame versions at any organization or kitchen store, and they double the shelf space inside your cabinets.
  • Built-In Shelves: Small shelves above the sink and refrigerator create a sliver of space, but they offer just enough room for our toaster oven, dish towels, and an undershelf paper towel holder.
  • High Storage: We keep a couple of our larger mixing bowls and a Dutch oven on top of our cabinets. They're stacked on top of one another using a wire shelving insert.
  • Slim Drawer Organizers: Our skinny drawers are just big enough to hold a narrow bamboo drawer organizer, which we use to sort our silverware.
  • Compact Dish Rack: For dishes that don't go into the dishwasher, we use a narrow stainless steel dish rack, made by Polder.
  • Compact Cutting Board: OXO's non-slip bamboo cutting board, purchased from Crate & Barrel, fits perfectly between two burners on our stove. When we're not using the stovetop for cooking, we can chop vegetables on the board.


Do you have a tiny kitchen? What are some of your favorite small space solutions?


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Photos: Sarah Coffey