Upon waking up, groggily reaching for a coffee cup to fuel us for the day ahead is an integral and sacred part of the morning. For many of us, the purpose of a mug is not purely functional either, since they can actually be a beautiful interior feature in their own right.
Perhaps you reach for a pale pink mug hand-painted with love hearts when February (aka love month) rolls around, or maybe you always opt for the sentimental mug your mom bought you as a housewarming gift a decade ago. Whatever mug you choose, if you’re proud of your collection, you probably want to incorporate it into your kitchen decor rather than stash it away in a dark, cluttered cupboard.
To find out the best way to display this functional kitchenware item, we spoke to organization experts for their top tips on how to store mugs without taking up cabinet space. So, whether you’re looking to incorporate more ease into your morning routine by making your mugs more immediately accessible, or you proudly want to display your most meaningful mugs for all to see, here are four ideas you can introduce to your modern kitchen today.
1. Mug trees
Mug trees use a freestanding rack to hang your mugs and, according to professional organizer Di Ter Avest, they're one of the most simple and effective solutions for mug storage. ‘These freestanding racks allow you to hang multiple mugs from arms or hooks, keeping them easily accessible without taking up much space,’ she explains. ‘You can add your favorite mugs to a mug tree and display them on a coffee bar or an open shelf, adding a touch of personality to your kitchen.’
Amanda Wiss, founder of NYC-based home organizing company Urban Clarity, agrees that mug trees are a popular choice because they are a great space-saving kitchen idea. ‘They take advantage of a vertical space in a way that cabinets, shelves, and hooks cannot,’ she says. ‘You can buy different-sized mug trees to suit your needs, and they now come in many different finishes to match your kitchen decor.’
2. Open shelving
For the creme-de-la-creme mugs that you believe deserve a prestigious, central place in your kitchen, Amanda advises storing them on open shelves. ‘Open shelving is an excellent opportunity to store items with a more decorative appearance,’ she says. This option works particularly well if you have a matching set that you’ve been wanting to show off, as they would look cohesive and considered on display. As Amanda notes: ‘Open shelving creates space for intentional displays, which can include your mugs, especially if you have a matching set.’
Taking this one step further, Di recommends using your favorite mugs to create your very own at-home coffee station. 'Transform a kitchen corner into a dedicated coffee and hot drink station,' she says. 'Install shelves or a small cabinet to store your coffee maker, mugs, and other accessories like sugar and creamer. This saves cabinet space and creates a designated area for your morning coffee routine, making it both functional and aesthetically pleasing.’
You can even buy designated shelves, like these ones from Amazon, that are perfectly sized for displaying your collection of mugs, too.
3. Under-cabinet hooks
One of the most practical ways to make the most of your kitchen cabinet space is to hook mugs underneath. Di explains that using the vertical space beneath your cabinets in this way is an effective and practical way to keep mugs stored out of the way. ‘Choose an area away from the stove, especially if you cook and fry often, so they stay clean,' she says. 'If you choose this option, install hooks or racks underneath your upper cabinets to hang mugs upside down.’
To make the most of this storage method, Di advises adding personal flourishes to make it work for you. ‘Select hooks that match the style of your cabinets for a cohesive look, and consider using adhesive hooks if you don't want to drill holes and keep it rental-friendly,' she notes.
Amanda agrees that while storing mugs in this way is a great option, practicality is paramount. ‘If you have a lot of mismatched mugs, it may be fun to hang them on hooks that you can install on the underside of your upper cabinets,’ she says. ‘It’s important to consider what is on the counter below this space, though, because you want to be able to reach whatever appliances or kitchen items are stored there without knocking your mugs about.’
Pegboards may not immediately spring to mind when you’re brainstorming innovative ways to store mugs in your kitchen, but experts swear by them. Di explains that they are multi-purpose tools that permit you to proudly display your mugs. ‘Pegboards aren't just for organizing tools in the garage – they can also be a versatile storage solution for mugs in the kitchen,’ she says. ‘Mount a pegboard on an empty wall and attach hooks to hang your mugs. The beauty of pegboards lies in their customizable nature; you can arrange the hooks however you like to accommodate your mug collection.’
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Katie is a freelance writer and MA student at City, University of London studying Magazine Journalism. Katie discovered her passion for lifestyle journalism after finishing her BA at The University of Oxford, when she started pitching to major lifestyle publications and covering various topics from popular culture to wellness. She is a regular contributor at Well+Good, where she writes experiment-based beauty and fitness pieces.
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