Who needs storage? Think of it this way: Forget to add a place to keep the cleaning supplies and you’ll have to keep the ugly spray bottles and sponges out in the open in your beautiful new kitchen. Forget to install enough space for the dry goods, and you might need to add a bulky, unsightly freestanding unit for extra shelf space. And there’s really nothing worse than having a gorgeous, recently renovated kitchen—and a trash can sitting right there in the middle of it because there’s no place for it to live.
Sure, you’ve got cabinets and drawers and maybe even a lazy Susan. But for an efficient, neat-looking kitchen, you’ll also need a handful of other clever, well-thought-out storage solutions, from tucked-away trash to super-tidy spice drawers. That way, everything from beans to the broom will be easily accessible, right where you need it when you need it—and out of sight when you don’t. Here are a few storage specialities you might want to consider.
**Pro Tip: Before planning out your kitchen, “take an inventory of all the things that are important to you,” says Malachi Connolly, principal architect of Malachi Connolly Design. “Figure out which pans get the most use and need to be readily available, where you put your silverware, and a place for certain ingredients that is close to the stove and easily accessible.”
It’s time to bring back the pantry. Formerly sort of old-fashioned, pantries add plenty of extra storage for dry goods, non-perishables, and even small appliances, all concealed behind closed doors. Consider adding a slim reach-in pantry to even a small kitchen, or a larger walk-in one, if you have the space. We suggest installing some narrow shelves, about six inches deep, so that smaller items like cans and jars don’t get buried. (If you can see what you’ve got, you’re more likely to use things up before they go bad.) On the bottom, go for wider shelves that can hold bigger items like boxes or appliances—or, better yet, pullout drawers or baskets, which allow for easier access. Also, leave an extra inch or two above items to help get them out easily.
**Pro Tip: Think through what you’ll need to store on a regular basis before designing your pantry. If you’ll want to stash your juicer or the turkey platter in there, you’ll need to plan a space for that. Same goes for outlets: If you’ll want to use, not just store, any of your appliances in the pantry, you’ll need to plan a few well-placed outlets.
Cleaning and Utility Storage
Yes, the kitchen is for cooking, but it’s also a handy, central place to keep dustpans and brushes, brooms, sponges, scrub brushes, and cleaning supplies. You’ll need to create space for these, whether a simple, small cabinet specifically designed for the purpose, or a larger reach-in closet. This is also a good place to stash necessary-but-don’t-want-them-out-on-the-counter items (looking at you, paper towels).
Have some pretty glassware or a favorite family heirloom you’d rather display than store away? Open shelves can be the perfect solution. Trendy open shelving has grown particularly popular in the past few years and comes in a variety of styles and sizes. Create a focal point with your shelves by using a surprising material (like wood in an otherwise cool-toned, industrial-style kitchen). Or, match materials—like using the same sort of wood as your countertops, or pairing stainless steel shelves with stainless appliances.
Just be sure your shelves are sturdily installed, ideally in studs, so they don’t come crashing down. Floating shelves look best, but you might need to add brackets for stability’s sake.
Rails & Hooks
Rails of all kinds are endlessly handy everywhere they’re placed, but especially in the kitchen, hung below open shelving or on their own. Use them to hang kitchen tools, aprons, step stools, brushes, brooms, baskets, and just about anything else you want to keep in order but within easy reach.
You’ve probably seen popular Shaker-style peg rails on Pinterest: lengths of wood with evenly-spaced pegs for holding and displaying all kinds of things. But there are also simple stainless steel rails over which you can hook things from ladles to spice racks.
Here’s one of our favorite space- and sanity-savers in the kitchen: drawers and pull-outs built specifically for certain goods. A pull-out spice drawer allows you to easily see and access every tiny spice bottle—no rummaging in the cabinet and no spice bottle avalanches. And a knife drawer keeps knives safely in order and always sharp (and removes the need for a knife block on the counter).
A skinny pull-out-style spice cabinet, on the other hand, can make use of the slimmest, teeniest unused space.
Last but definitely not least: Please, please build in a place for your trash can and recycling. Having a designated space for waste is an effortless way to keep the kitchen looking neat. You might consider installing a pull-out trash can that fits inside the space of a cabinet or underneath the sink: It slides out easily when you need to toss something in, but keeps all your waste neatly behind closed doors. Most bins are removable, too, for easy cleaning.