The $12 IKEA Find That Doubles the Cabinet Storage in My NYC Apartment

published Aug 18, 2023
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Kitchen cabinet with dishes, glasses and zigzag blue and white contact paper. White IKEA variera shelf with small plates on top
Credit: Sofia Rivera

Without fail, moving into a new apartment means slowly unveiling a new set of quirks built into that building. It could be the floors that slant so slightly you don’t notice until you’re trying to position your rolling chair in front of your desk. It could be the weirdly shaped nook that feels impossible to furnish. In my case, it’s my unusually tall kitchen cabinets. 

As much as I adore my new digs, I’m having to come to terms with the fact that I simply am not tall enough to reach about 50 percent of my cabinet space. Of course, I’m still using those shelves with the help of a kitchen chair — leaving any storage space unused in an NYC one-bedroom is just silly — but to make the most of the shelves I can reach, I found an IKEA product that does just that. The VARIERA shelf insert, which sells for $11.99,  basically doubles my easily accessible cabinet space. 

I picked up the metal stand, which has a pretty floral cutout pattern on top, during my most recent IKEA run, and it has been so helpful. To assemble it, you just have to screw on the legs, which took me about a minute. Then I slipped this nifty rack onto my bottom shelf, and was able to store my wide plate-bowls beneath it, while putting some of my most-used, smaller plates atop. While I could have nested some plates inside the bowls, I hate having to remove several layers to get to the one I actually want to use, which this shelf insert prevents. 

Credit: Sofia Rivera

I’m still figuring out how best to organize my cabinets, but since I make my own espresso each morning, I’m also contemplating using this shelf to stash a few little espresso cups — or even buying a second insert for another cabinet. 

While my quest for a sleek and compact step ladder so that I can reach all of my ceiling-height cabinets continues, this $12 IKEA shelf insert is a handy and stylish solution that helps me maximize the space I have in reach. And something about the matte white paint and pretty print makes my cabinets feel less like a storage closet and more like a display for the dishes I love.