17 Smart and Beautiful Ways to Organize Your Kitchen Shelves & Cabinets

updated Feb 3, 2020
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(Image credit: Bev Wilson)

Okay, we admit it: We’re obsessed with organizing. So naturally, we thought it would be fun to round up some of the sharpest ideas and hacks from our home tours for organizing kitchen cabinets and shelves, to inspire your own home organizational endeavors. From color-coded cookbooks to art-filled floating shelves, read ahead for 19 clever ways to organize your kitchen cabinets in style.

(Image credit: Emily Billings)

1. Mason Jar Mania

Who knew mason jars were so insanely chic? Obviously Liz and Adam, who use mason jars to store their spices and pantry essentials, allowing them to show off their chartreuse-colored kitchen built-ins.

(Image credit: Andrea Sparacio)

2. Color Coded

Searching for an artful way to display your cookbooks and colorful cookware? Consider organizing your cookbooks by color spine color, and using similarly hued appliances as bookends just like Amanda and Justin did in their home tour.

(Image credit: Federico Paul)

3. Open Up

Open shelving and door-less cabinets can work wonders for a tiny kitchen. Case in point: Carina Michelli’s small but inviting Buenos Aires kitchen, where she uses open bookcases and armoires to display her favorite kitchen wares without cramping up the space.

(Image credit: Melanie Rieders)

4. Industrial Style

Sleek and affordable, industrial-style shelving units might be the solution to all your small kitchen storage problems. Take a cue from food blogger Michelle Lopez and employ a tall and slender style to store all of your bulky cookware and cake stands.

(Image credit: Esteban Cortez)

5. Minimalize It

When it comes to your kitchen cabinets, a little organizing can go a long way. Instead of packing your kitchen shelves from top to bottom with supplies, pare down your collection to just the essentials—just like Kirstie did in her 420-square foot San Francisco apartment—so you can keep everything you need within arm’s reach.

(Image credit: Emily Billings)

6. Heightened Matters

Believe it or not, organizing the stuff in your kitchen cabinets by height can actually make it look pretty awesome. Next time you’re in the mood for a quick kitchen revamp, consider re-arranging everything in your pantry from tallest item to shortest, just like Max and Emily did with IKEA jars in their home tour, for an unexpectedly sophisticated display.

(Image credit: Liz Calka)

7. Mix Heavily

A solid mix of open shelves and pullout drawers can transform a tiny kitchen pantry into a well-organized storage room in no time. Follow in Gina Martin’s footsteps and stash large appliances in open cabinet areas and use cute decorative baskets for storing smaller items.

(Image credit: Minette Hand)

8. Float On

Turn a small sliver of your kitchen wall into a space-savvy display with nothing more than a couple of wall-mounted shelves and a small storage basket, just like we saw in Jessica Garvin’s home tour.

(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

9. Employ Multi-functional Furniture

Not working with a ton of kitchen cabinets? No problem. Forge your own storage system with an attractive open shelving unit—like the vintage bookcase we spotted in Kelsey and Mike’s home tour—to store your treasured kitchen wares.

(Image credit: Jessica Isaac)

10. Add Art

Searching for a stylish way to upgrade your rustic kitchen shelving? Place a colorful painting or a couple of art objects, along with your favorite dishware, on an open shelf to turn your wall storage into a mini-masterpiece, just like Carol and Lee Estes did in their home tour.

(Image credit: Julia Brenner)

11. Magnetic Attraction

If you like to keep your spices near the stove but lack the space to store them, boy do we have the solution for you. Magnetic spice racks can be mounted on any wall—or under any cabinet like Ursula did in her home tour—so you can create an actual spice rack just about anywhere your heart desires.

(Image credit: Lauren Kolyn)

12. Rise Above

If you weren’t already hip to shelf risers then now’s the time to smarten up. Small, cheap, and virtually foolproof, you can place one inside of your kitchen cabinets to score double the storage space, or on your countertop, just like Melissa and Sonny, to hold your frequently used items.

(Image credit: Stephanie Strickland)

13. DIY Pantry

Looking for a way to forge more storage room but stuck with an awkwardly shaped kitchen wall? Take a cue from Lauren’s home tour and employ a handful of spice racks to convert an unusual space (in her case a defunct pullout ironing board cabinet) into a proper kitchen pantry.

(Image credit: Lana Kenney)

14. Hang Time

Fresh out of ideas for storing—and showing off—your beloved coffee mug collection? A handful of hanging cup hooks can be employed just about anywhere in your kitchen and allows you to display your mugs in style, just like we saw in Sarah Bishop’s home tour.

(Image credit: Jacqueline Marque)

15. Antique Appeal

Love the look of a uniform pantry but not a big fan of mason jars? Antique canisters and filing units, like the ones Kathie has in her home tour, are incredibly cool to look at and can be easily sourced at flea markets and thrift stores.

(Image credit: Bev Wilson)

16. Pegboard Power

Want a stylish way to store your large pots and pans while also freeing up some cabinet space? Just follow the lead of Bev Wilson and install a standard pegboard on your kitchen wall and hang up bulky kitchenwares that take up too much room in your cabinets.

(Image credit: Monica Wang)

17. Label everything

The only thing better than a well-organized kitchen pantry is one where everything is labeled, too. Do yourself a favor and pick up a pack of labeling stickers, or an old school label maker like Chris and Amber used in their home tour, and upgrade your pantry in seconds.