How to maximise your kitchen storage space

Many of us don't have the luxury of a large designer kitchen to effortlessly turn out the most impressive of culinary delights. In fact, if you have inherited an original old home in its original state, it's likely you have inherited a small kitchen too.

a kitchen with build in storage
Contributors Nadia Sakey, Mina Phillips

Adequate storage is not about having more storage; it’s about having efficient storage. When planning your dream kitchen you need to think about what kitchen storage you will need and where to install it. Think about how you use your kitchen and the different zones you require - then provide that information as a brief to your kitchen specialist.
Like with all problems, storage needs should be assessed and not assumed. Note that there is no one solution either, we all have different lifestyles, needs and budgets, but understanding the basics in kitchen workflows and ergonomics will help you to evaluate any real issues within the space and then you can create a resolution that will work for you.

The workflow

Today, a functional kitchen is determined by the workflow - the proximity and sequence of the key work stations or zones make cooking a delight and easy for more than one chef. Once this has been determined in modern kitchen design, storage requirements are worked out by how you use the space, and this is different for each user. Essentially, items related to the specific task area should be placed within arm’s reach.
For instance, if you are right-handed, deep drawers to the right of your hob space are ideal for storing your pots and pans, and to the left, a spice drawer and pull-out for oils and sauces. Cooking utensils should also be close to hand, perhaps in a slim drawer or inner drawer above the pots. Lesser used items should be stored further away from the key task areas, your rice cooker or bread maker for instance.
Imagine using your kitchen effortlessly; what needs to be within reach at each station? In what direction do your tasks flow? So before you splash out on storage, first assess whether you are using the available space around the key task areas to store the related, frequently used items. Wipe the canvas clean if you have to and reorganise but start with a good edit and purge! We really don’t need half the things we collect in our kitchen. Be honest, six frying pans, 20 wooden spoons and a million plastic containers - really? Live simply, only keep what you really need and place the items you rarely use elsewhere. Decluttering is liberating!

How can you plan your kitchen storage?

Focus on the different zones of your kitchen and work from there. This Kitchen Inspiration Magazine will help you make your way through each section.
Kitchen zones
- Consumables Zone
- Store groceries, including fridge items and frozen edibles
- An ideal space for your pantry
- Focus on layers of easy to access storage
- Non-consumables Zone
- Dinnerware and cutlery
- Glass and serveware
- Containers and lids for food storage
- Cleaning Zone
- Keep cleaning products close to the sink and dishwasher
- Rubbish bins should also be kept in this area
- Preparation Zone
- Preparation implements for slicing, dicing, mashing and mixing
- Store mixing bowls, knives, boards and other preparation appliances 
- Oils, spices and herbs should be stored within fit-for-purpose drawers
- Cooking Zone
- Keep your most-used cooking products, utensils and pots and pans around the stovetop and oven(s)
- Focus on below-the-waist drawers - a great place to store your baking essentials

Planning your kitchen storage

  • When you pull your cupboards out are they going to be a safety hazard?
  • Above the counter: opt for shelves and hanging storage to keep the counter itself clear
  • Below the counter: install drawers for easy access 
  • Pantry storage: opt for inner pull-outs that can be accessed individually from all sides The next step is to look at the space you do have and how it is configured to store the items you need in it. What available wall space do you have? Do you have enough bench space? Do you have more cupboards than drawers? Cupboards are usually quite inefficient storage as you end up with a lot of wasted space in the height. Consider the space your cupboards claim and whether you can replace them with a bank of drawers that can store 1/3 more! If you can’t replace the cupboard, simply fit the cupboard out with inner pull-outs. If you are showing a little wall and have enough bench space for prepping food, consider a tall floor to ceiling cabinet with pull-out drawers, ideal for a pantry.  After re-organising your storage, you can look at how you can maximize efficiencies within the space. Technology and innovation in kitchen design that is centred around cooking trends means that we are spoilt for choice in the hardware and organisational accessories available today. I know it’s going a little OCD but life gets so much easier when there is a place for everything. After re-organising your storage, you can look at how you can maximize efficiencies within the space. I know it’s going a little OCD but life gets so much easier when there is a place for everything. ### Kitchen technology Drawer systems today offer interchangeable rails and dividers for maximum organisation. Awkward corner cupboards and under sink cavities are no longer a useless waste of space thanks to the boundless options that pull-out, providing access to every available space.  Stored items need to be visible and accessible and storage/organisational systems adjustable to accommodate requirements. There is a huge range of kitchen storage solutions on the market, including:
  • Space Corner cabinets: thin corner drawers ideal for storing cutlery and large corner drawers for heavy appliances
  • Space Tower pantries: tall units with pull out drawers, making pantry supplies easy to access
  • Narrow pull-out cabinets: perfect for storing oils and spices
  • Sink pull-outs and cabinets: custom-made pull-out cabinets designed to provide easy cleaning product storage  ### Visualising your kitchen One of the best things you can do is test-run your kitchen design before you commit to ordering the parts you require. This allows you to visualise it and see what works and what simply doesn’t. Blum showrooms offer you a run-through of your kitchen design using their adjustable kitchen model. This allows you to see how your kitchen will look within a specific amount of space. This article was created in partnership with Blum. For more information visit Renovate Magazine Logo This article was featured in Issue 30 of Renovate Magazine. Renovate Magazine is an easy to use resource providing fresh inspiration and motivation at every turn of the page. ### Get in touch with Refresh to discuss your home renovation project If you would like to discuss home renovation options for your next renovation project, please use the enquiry form on this page to provide us with your contact details. We will get in touch with you at a time that suits you to discuss your project. If you would like to provide us with more information about your project, we have a more comprehensive enquiry form on our "Get in touch" page too. *All information is believed to be true at time of publishing and is subject to change.
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