Sometimes, even cooking simple scrambled eggs can be a drag in a small kitchen. And don’t get us started on that meal you promised the in-laws. Over time, we all accumulate utensils, pots, pans, lids and more – without mentioning food, sauces, spices and coffee. It’s a lot to fit in when you’re lacking a little in space. So how can you maximise the potential of your small kitchen, and make all those cupboards work twice as hard? Read on to find our recipe for space-saving success.
You might think the only way to keep your kitchen feeling spacious is to tuck everything away in drawers, cupboards and behind closed doors. But think again – this leaves you restricted by how much kitchen furniture you can afford, space-wise, and budget-wise. And the more you have in there, the more cramped your kitchen might start to feel. Our top tip to add more space? Think upwards, as well as out. It’s all about making your walls work harder.
Kitchen pegboards and free-hanging storage units are an oh-so versatile option to create (and easily modify) your storage space. Most of the options out there are designed with a variety of accessories, ranging from anything as simple as a plain peg to hooks, bars, shelves and baskets. So just find one to suit your aesthetic – matte metal, polished brass, or something in a range of bright colours, and adapt it to fit to your needs. Use your imagination to create a display of pans, coffee mugs, spatulas and more. It’s not quite art, but it’ll look better than those cluttered cupboards.
For something more permanent, floating shelves are a great option for an on-trend, minimalistic look. If you’re looking at it from a practical perspective, something with a standard width (around 30cm) will easily fit almost anything in your kitchen. Those spices you’re yet to use? You’ll be more inclined to if they’re on show. The ‘good’ wine glasses? Waiting for compliments up on the shelves. It’s a great chance to shuffle around your bits and bobs – plus your Insta feed will thank you for all the #shelfies you’re about to take.
Next up? Don’t forget all that underused space up on the top of your kitchen cabinets. It’s not just somewhere to collect dust and store the tool box (although we’ll let you keep it here). It’s a great place to stow away things you don’t regularly use, but need access to, like your scales, birthday candles, and all those spare napkins. We’d recommend getting a few storage boxes or baskets – they’ll help protect everything from getting dusty. Just make sure you’ll be able to get it all down again.
Somewhere to keep your plants where they won't get in the way? If your windowsill is deep enough, it’s the perfect location. Just pop them on the inside, or get a window box for the outside, too. If your window is right in front of your sink, it’s a great place to put all your dishwashing liquids and sponges – it’ll keep the counters free for any culinary experiments.
The same cupboard layout won’t be the solution for everyone. Basic cabinet shelving is fine, but if you want to really optimise it, follow our tricks to organise the chaos inside:
If you don’t want to get stuck digging deep into the back of your cabinets, you can turn your shelf and drawer space into small storage drawers – just add a couple of baskets or small boxes that you can easily slide in and out. This way, you can group things together and avoid any unnecessary mess. Just remember to brief everyone else in your household on what goes where – or add labels to make it clear.
It’s worth getting a cutlery sorting tray to keep all your forks, knives and spoons neatly arranged. This tactic can even go beyond the basic things – you can just as easily sort out things like spatulas, ladles and straining spoons. No more lost teaspoons or time spent searching for scissors.
Another great hack? Store what you can vertically. Instead of just stacking pans inside the cupboards, slot any you can inside a sorting rack. If you have one that has narrower slots, it’ll be perfect for organising everything from saucepan lids to chopping boards and plates.
You probably have plenty of dry food that you want to keep in order. Cereal, rice, baking ingredients. That’s where containers and jars come in handy as the perfect cupboard and shelf organisers. If you have a drawer you want to dedicate to this, make sure to label the lids with what’s inside – this will help you easily navigate your selection when you pull something out.
With just a few clever tricks, you can finally create a little order in all that kitchen chaos. It’s not only about the practicality of things (more space to cook up a storm) but about creating somewhere that works for you. Clear the counter space, and you’re on your way to clearing your mind. Now get on with that banana bread.