Smart Kitchen Storage Solutions
The newest kitchen storage solutions put every inch of cabinet space to work
Sure, it may look like you've got plenty of cabinet space in your kitchen. So why are your countertops still cluttered with spice jars, small appliances, and assorted catchalls? Why are your drawers overflowing with corn-cob holders, spaghetti tongs, and chewed pens, but not the one item you need when you need it? And why, pray tell, do you practically have to crawl inside your base cabinet to retrieve that 5-gallon lobster pot stowed way in back?
The thing about kitchen cabinets is this: Even if you have 20 of them, without some organizational helpers, they're little more than big, empty boxes—adult-style toy chests into which we cram whatever will fit, without any rhyme or reason.
But there are plenty of ways to start making more efficient use of your space, from simple drawer inserts to clever pullout shelving units to full-on custom cabinetry that makes it easy to store (and, more important, retrieve) every pot lid, mixing bowl, and dish towel in your collection.
To get you started, we scoured the showrooms of four top custom cabinetry companies at Manhattan's Architects & Designers Building. What we found are 16 innovative ways for you to carve out new real estate in your overpopulated kitchen, or make better use of the space you have. And while the solutions pictured here must be ordered as part of a total cabinetry package, the creative ideas are available to all.
Instead of having to heft plates onto hard- to-reach overhead you can stack them securely between adjustable pegs (round or triangular) in this 12-inch-deep base cabinet drawer. An added bonus: The kids have no excuse not to help unload the dishwasher. From Bilotta
If you've got a little empty wall space, why not put it to use with a stylish stand-alone cabinet? Because this one tapers at the bottom, it can be mounted lower than a standard cabinet, providing easy-to-reach shelving above a sink or countertop. It also works over a kitchen desk for holding pens, paper, cookbooks, and other miscellany. From Artcraft
Two-Tiered Pot Holder
Pot lids are a problem. They take up too much space and tend to clang around in a most annoying fashion. These deep-on-the-bottom, shallow- on-top base cabinet drawers easily accommodate large stockpots and their notoriously unwieldy lids. The top shelf is also a good spot for those large utensils that get tangled in narrow drawers. From Bilotta
Bulky plastic bags of rice, dried beans, or unpopped popcorn typically live slumped up against canned goods in wall-mounted cabinets or in the pantry, taking up space and, if not well sealed, spilling all over. This "condiment drawer" has a wood insert with covered stainless steel bins for storing grains and spices. You can also pop out the bins and use them as serving trays. From Bilotta
Aside from adding visual texture, these wire-mesh-fronted cabinet drawers allow air to circulate, so you can use them to stash onions, potatoes, flour, and other items that require a cool, dark place. Bilotta
One of the most under-utilized spaces in many kitchens is the gap between cabinets and appliances such as the dishwasher or range. Here, a pullout pilaster conceals a rack for hanging dish towels; similar pullouts can also be fitted with shelves for spices or hooks for oven mitts. Besides, everyone loves a secret hiding place. From Wood-Mode
Sliding Corner Rack
Inaccessible space, like that deep corner recess, is almost as annoying as no space at all. This hingeless door, backed by generous metal shelves, pulls out and swivels, clearing the way for a large rear basket to slide over and putting even the most deeply buried items within easy reach. From Wood-Mode
So slap-your-head simple you wonder why somebody didn't think of it before. Putting handles on a utensil tray means you can carry it over to set the table or take it to the dishwasher for unloading. Optional adjustable slots on the side let you create snug spaces for smaller items, like pastry brushes or the garlic press. From SieMatic
High and Dry
This concept, long popular in Europe, elevates the sink-side dish-drying rack to a whole new level. Water drips into a removable drainage tray, and the whole thing can be concealed behind a
door. It's great for those without a dish-washer or for anyone who wants to add a touch of European style. From Snaidero
If you don't use an appliance every day, why let it monopolize precious counter space (or, worse, get buried way in the back where you have to excavate to find it)? This pop-up shelf is strong enough to support large items like mixers or espresso makers. A release mechanism lets you gently push it back down like a jack-in-the-box when you're finished. From Wood-Mode
Two-Tiered Pot Holder
That abysmal area beneath the sink—a no-man's land of pipes, trash cans, rusty scouring pads, and random cleaning supplies—is where even the most organized among us can go astray. These drawers will change all that, with compartments for sponges and scouring pads in the sink-hugging, U-shaped unit on top; cleaning products and recycling bins on the bottom. From Snaidero
Drawer to the Floor
The most overlooked storage potential in your kitchen might be right at your feet. By taking advantage of the rarely used toekick under a base cabinet, this deceptively deep single drawer creates a new storage unit, where you can put large pots and pans, bags of dog food, or cases of bottled water. From SieMatic
An improvement on an already good idea, this lazy Susan has doors that fold into each other when you rotate the carousel, giving you unfettered access to all the soup cans, cereal boxes, or, in this case, bamboo steamers you need. When you're done, just give the carousel a whirl, and the doors pop back into place. From SieMatic
The thinking behind this slotted base-cabinet drawer is similar to that of the pegboard version: It frees up wall space by providing a new place for dishes. An added advantage is not having to stack plates, which helps prevent chipping and breakage. From Bilotta
Compact and discreet, this bar cabinet lets you consolidate cocktail glasses, mixing equipment, bourbon, and bitters in one convenient spot. A pullout cutting board provides space for slicing limes and lemons, and when the party's over, the entire unit, like your guests, disappears into the night. From Wood-Mode
Do away with that knife block and free up some counter space by storing your blades in a drawer with protective wood slots. Graduated sizes accommodate big carvers as well as little parers. From Bilotta