Creative Storage Ideas for Cabinets

When choosing kitchen cabinetry, consider features that make it easier to reach your items

RX-Press-Kits-P1_Merillat-Classic-Avenue-Maple-Chiffon-Tray-Divider_s4x3 Merillat Tray dividers offer easy access for baking pans, cookie sheets and other items.

You remove every pot, pan, dish and groceries from your cabinets to prepare for all new storage. Cabinets are installed, and it’s time to put back your stuff. Except the problem is there isn’t room for everything. This scenario is all too common, according to Dennis Poteat of Blum Inc. The lesson: Look beyond the surface when choosing cabinets. Think about how tall cereal boxes are and where you keep them. Consider how you reach for a dish towel when you’re working at the sink. A drawer nearby should accommodate this. Plan for space to neatly store all of your plastic-ware (and all of the lids).

Pierce says there can be up to a 30 percent difference between old-style cabinets and today’s models that include a full overlay rather than a face frame, and extend to the ceiling. We’ll discuss cabinetry trends (link to cabinets considerations article) more, but first let’s tackle storage.


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The keyword with storage is: access. Here are some ways to make more room for your stuff in your existing kitchen space:

Pull-outs. Access, along with ergonomics, is the reason for the move from doors to drawers in base cabinets, says John O’Meara of Hafele America Co. “The issue with doors is when you open a cabinet with a door on it, you have shelving, and you can reach the first thing but everything behind it is impossible to get at,” he relates. “For the sake of storage and access, movement from a door to a pull-out gives you the ability to bring the content of the cabinet out into the room.”

Specialty hardware. The pull-out spice drawers and nifty utensil drawers that were once offered only by custom cabinet makers are now available in mid-priced fixtures

Base cabinets. Designers today aren’t married to the idea of wall cabinets. Base cabinet drawers can organize dishes, pots, pans, utensils, basically anything. Pull-outs allow you to access everything stored in the drawer without straining your back.

Floating shelves. Viually pleasing open shelves break up the monotony of standard cabinets and serve as a place to display beautiful vases, store cookbooks and keep ingredients in pretty jars.

Extended wall cabinets. Say no to soffits if you want to expand storage. Extend wall cabinets to the ceiling and improve accessibility of those higher shelves with lift-up doors. Or, dedicating an entire wall to storage and building cabinets floor to ceiling creates a focal point and makes room on other walls for aesthetic features, such as a mosaic backsplash, windows, artwork or functional appliances.

Fully-extended drawers. Full extension runners on drawers allow pull-outs to extend completely rather than just three-quarters of the way, Poteat says. This once high-end feature is now common to most drawers, but it’s a good idea to ask the supplier or designer about it.


See 10 Kitchen Storage Trends

More Tips for Expanding Storage

  • Incorporate pull-out features
  • Use an armoire or hutch in the kitchen
  • Be willing to move doors and windows
  • Request wall cabinets that extend to the ceiling

Want more tips for expanding storage? Check out our expanding cabinet storage article.

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