Small kitchen storage ideas – your space-saving guide

The very best small kitchen storage ideas for when space is at a premium

small kitchen storage ideas
(Image credit: Future)

When mulling over your small kitchen storage ideas, do you choose cabinets to hide everything away, or open shelving so everything is on sight and within easy reach?  It really is down to personal choice and you will probably end up with a combination of cabinets, open shelving and drawers. 

Larders are great for storing huge amounts of stuff from food to cookware but you may not have space for one. If installing wall cabinets, use the full height of the space and fit cabinets that go up to the ceiling, then incorporate pull-down shelves inside the units so everything is easy to reach. Open shelving can be tailor-made to fit any space, no matter how small.

1. Super Storage

small kitchen storage ideas

Shaker pantry, from £4000, Harvey Jones 

(Image credit: Harvey Jones)

Doesn’t everyone dream of having a pantry? You can get so much in them and it’s all in one space. Utilise the space inside the doors too for smaller shelves for herbs and spices. If you don’t want to buy a purpose-built pantry, find a large cabinet, maybe vintage, and create your own.

“In terms of storage for small kitchens, I would usually try work out if a larder cabinet can fit, as this takes away from the need to have lots of wall cabinets which can overcrowd the room and make it feel cramped," says Matt Baker, Kitchen Designer at Harvey Jones. "Adding shelving can be a clever way to still add height and give the room an open and airy feel without looking crowded.”

2.Turn a corner into a pantry

small kitchen storage ideas

Canisters from £3, Dunelm

(Image credit: Dunelm)

Not convinced you've room for a standalone larder? Then give a corner into a pantry-feel with open shelving and  Kilner jars. Even in a small alcove you could create this with shelving, and by decanting ingredients into jars they look pretty enough to have on display.

3. Slim Pickings

small kitchen storage ideas

Ehnet wall frame with shelves, £30, Ikea

(Image credit: Ikea)

Slimline storage is the perfect solution when considering small kitchen ideas, especially shelving as super-narrow as this one. It takes up hardly any space but is SO useful. You can use hooks to hang things from it too. 

“Adding open shelves creates additional storage for everyday items and keeps your counters clear,” says Bettina Oshiro, Interior Design Leader at Ikea UK and Ireland.

4. Slide Out

small kitchen storage ideas

Modern Classic kitchen from £25,000, Life Kitchens

(Image credit: Life Kitchens)

Pull-out shelves are great in a small space and because they come right out, nothing gets lost at the back. Clear uprights on the shelf edges stop food from falling off and makes it easier to see smaller jars.  These cabinets work well at the end of a run of tall units.

"Pull-out and pull-down cupboard designs are highly efficient," says Daniela Condo, Designer at Life Kitchens. "The pull-out larder is great for tidying away herbs and condiments, whilst the pull down offers greater accessibility for those with high set cabinetry, so that you don’t have to over stretch or grab a stool to access what you need."

5. Box clever

small kitchen storage ideas

Haddon kitchen from £15,000, Kitchen Makers

(Image credit: Kitchen Makers)

Instead of drawers, think about crate-style storage, it’s ideal for keeping vegetables in prime condition. This version is part of the Haddon kitchen by Kitchen Makers but you could make your own by building a frame around re-purposed crates or putting crates underneath a freestanding unit.

6. Make Use of Corners

small kitchen storage ideas

Brancaster Marshes pantry from £3000, Naked Kitchens

(Image credit: Naked Kitchens)

This is a great use of a corner of a kitchen, it’s a deep space so useful for storing bigger items or small appliances like juicers. It includes a marble slab for making pastry with shelves above for, well, anything.  There is a custom-built wine rack too.

“Built-in larders, essentially mimicking an old-fashioned pantry, are becoming more and more popular as the centre of the house gravitates more towards the kitchen as a family room," says Jayne Everett, Design Director, Naked Kitchens. "The Brancaster Marshes pantry boasts ample storage with bespoke bottle storage, floating shelving and open lower cabinets.”

7. Tall order

small kitchen storage ideas

Pro-line kitchen in Dark Green Matt lacquer, from £18,000, Pronorm

(Image credit: Pronorm)

Use cupboards that go up to the ceiling to make the most of the space. This kitchen also has wall-mounted base units which makes the room look more spacious. And stylish U-shaped wall shelves are a great design feature.

8. Slim Jim

small kitchen storage ideas

Skinny cabinet in Blush, £229, Mustard

(Image credit: Mustard Made)

Lockers are brilliant as they are so narrow, at only 35cm wide, and can be used in any room of your home, so won’t look out of place if the kitchen is part of the living room. Plus, pink kitchens are very on trend. They are made from powder-coated steel so they are sturdy and are in a whole range of lovely colours. They come with four adjustable shelves and hooks and you can buy more shelves and also baskets if you wish.

9. Awkward Space

small kitchen ideas

Kitchens from £8000, British Standard 

(Image credit: British Standard)

A classic example of a tricky area. Even a tiny space like this can be integrated into the kitchen. Slot deep shelves between the wall and a tall cabinet and paint them to match, then use them for cookery books or displaying favourite accessories.

10. Simple Colour Scheme

small kitchen storage ideas

Stoneware from £8.99 for a side plate, lidded wooden box, £19.99, wooden storage box £17.99  H&M Home

(Image credit: H&M)

To keep a small kitchen looking neat, choose a colour and use it for everything – china, vases, serving dishes and accessories. One colour palette means it looks cohesive and nothing jars – to pardon the pun.

11. Tight Gap

small kitchen storage ideas

Good Home Pebre pull-out unit, 30cm, £57, B&Q

(Image credit: B&Q)

If you have space left over and need to fill a gap, install a narrow pull-out drawer. It’s great for storing oils and condiments near the hob, and slides back in, so you don’t know it’s there. Or you could use similar spaces to store trays.

“Spend a good amount of time thinking about what storage you need," says Chris Webb, Senior Kitchen Buyer at B&Q. "There are so many cabinet sizes now, its easy to utilise all available space. Drawers are essential – use shallow ones for utensils and cutlery and deep ones for pan storage.  Shelves can be a feature for your favourite accessories.” 

12. Layer up

small kitchen storage ideas

Kitchens start from £30,000, Roundhouse

(Image credit: Roundhouse)

The best use of drawers - a deep, sectioned one at the bottom for pans, a smaller one in the middle for tableware and an even shallower one at the top for cutlery and utensils.  Everything is to hand. 

Alison Davidson

Alison Davidson is well-respected British interiors journalist, who has been the Homes Editor of Woman and Home magazine, and the Interiors Editor for House Beautiful. She regularly contributes to Livingetc, and many other titles, and often writes about kitchens, extensions, and decor ideas. She is the go-to for information about green energy, sustainable home improvement and eco design ideas.