I bought my first home at the beginning of the year—an amazing farmhouse that’s more than 100 years old—and while I absolutely love all the character in its wavy window panes and original hardwood floors, there’s one thing I’m less than thrilled about: the kitchen.
Don’t get me wrong—it’s totally functional and gets the job done, but the room definitely lacks modern conveniences and efficient storage. For instance, the shelves in the cupboards are fixed at a too-short height that can’t fit bottles of olive oil, and the old-fashioned drawers don’t have gliders, so they’re always getting stuck. So naturally, I’m planning a number of upgrades to the space (some ASAP and others further down the road) and relying heavily on the help of Pinterest.
The site is jam-packed with innovative storage ideas and cool kitchen features that I would love to incorporate into my own home. Here are some of my all-time favorites, along with handy, space-saving items from Food52’s Shop to get you started.
1. A Convenient Spot for Cleaning Supplies
Oh what a dream, to have all your cleaning supplies in one spot! While my cleaning products are usually found overflowing beneath the kitchen sink (an area we’ll talk about in a minute), I have to stash brooms and mops between coats and parkas in the hallway closet because they won’t fit anywhere else. This cool cabinet streamlines the cleaning process by keeping everything in one spot, and it makes the most of the unused space at the narrow end of your kitchen cupboards.
2. Home for Unwieldy Baking Trays
If you have an impressive collection of baking gear, this custom drawer is the perfect place to store pans, trays, and racks of all shapes and sizes. It takes up the whole depth of the counter, so you can even fit large cutting boards and baking sheets into its built-in slots. Just like that, you’ll never have to struggle with unwieldy stacks of baking trays to find the one you need.
3. Pull-Out Cutting Board Above the Trash
No need to find a storage spot for this cutting board—it slides right back into the counter. Plus, as a bonus, it’s situated right above a pull-out trash can, so you can simply scoot any waste into the compost bin. There’s even a spot behind the trash can where you can store spare bags. Now that’s a thoughtful design!
4. Cool, Convenient Compartments for Spices
If counter clutter irks you, chances are you want to tuck spices, oils, and other cooking supplies away in a cabinet. However, these items get used so frequently, so it’s a pain to have to dig them out each night when you’re making dinner. The solution? These awesome hidden compartments behind the counter, which blend in perfectly with the backsplash. Now you see ’em, now you don’t.
5. Under-the-Sink Drawer
Most homes have a cabinet under the sink, but personally, I like the idea of a drawer much better (why is this not a thing?). Instead of wrestling to get bottles of cleaning solution out from behind the sink’s pipes, you could just slide the whole drawer out to access whatever it is you need. If revamping your kitchen to include a drawer isn’t an option, you can also install a sliding organizer under your sink for a similar effect.
6. Cabinet for Awkward-Shaped Utensils
Remember how I was saying my ladles don’t fit into the drawers in my kitchen? This cool slide-out cabinet would solve my utensil-storage problems. It takes the place of that skinny cabinet beside the oven and features several containers to hold cooking spoons, spatulas, whisks, and other awkward cooking implements that don’t lend themselves to flat storage.
7. Hidden Compartments in Unused Areas
Instead of putting your dirty sponges on display for the whole world to see, you can tuck them away in this sneaky compartment, which replaces the faux drawer or trim in front of your sink. The pull-down panel is equipped with plastic tubs that are ideal for stashing cleaning supplies like sponges, scrub brushes, and more, and it will help keep your counters clutter-free.
8. Under-Cabinet Cutting Board Storage Shelves
Here’s a storage solution you can achieve without renovating your entire kitchen! This under-cabinet rack lets you keep cutting boards within reach but still out of the way, and it can be installed in a matter of seconds—just slip it onto the bottom of your cupboard. The organizer even has two bars where you can hang kitchen towels to dry your hands while cooking.
9. A Special Drawer Just for Pot Lids
I’ll be the first to admit that even though you’re not supposed to stack your pots and pans, I still do in the name of efficient storage. (If you do too, just be sure to use pot protectors so they don’t get scratched.) However, the one issue is that there’s no good way to store their lids. Enter, the lid drawer. This ingenious shallow drawer is the perfect spot to stash all sorts of pot and pan lids for easy access.
10. Extra Prep Space on Your Island
It looks like merely another drawer, but it’s really a pull-out island extension. How cool is that? This extendable counter is mounted on wheels, allowing you to simply drag out when you need more counter space. I can definitely see this feature coming in handy when you’re prepping for a holiday meal or baking hundreds of cookies for a bake sale.
11. “Toekick” Drawers for Pans and Platters
These “toekick” drawers are hidden in a typically wasted space: The baseboard under your kitchen counters, and their slim design is ideal for storing baking sheets, platters, and other thin items. Plus, the best part is that they’re push-activated, so you can open them with your feet! This one is definitely going on my dream kitchen wishlist.
12. A Better Way to Organize Food Storage Containers
Am I the only one who has a cupboard that houses perilous towers of Tupperware? It’s incredibly tricky to get a single container in or out without sending everything crashing down, which is why this slide-out storage system is calling my name. It’s a DIY project that uses plywood and ball-bearing slides, and the final result is a pull-out organizer that you put into a lower cabinet to store all your favorite containers and their lids.
13. Tucked-Away Bins for Bulk Produce
If you like to buy produce in bulk, you can save room in your fridge by transforming a drawer into a produce storage area. This design simply uses a bunch of wooden bins that fit nicely within the existing drawer—just make sure there’s enough clearance for it to close. Oh, and you may want to watch what you put next to each other, as produce like apples and tomatoes produce a lot of ethylene, which can cause other produce to ripen more quickly.
14. A Hidden Space to Hang Your Pans
Some people like displaying their pots and pans in the kitchen, but I’d personally rather hide mine away. If you’re in the same boat, this cool slider is the perfect way to store pans of all shapes and sizes without having to nest them (which can lead to scratches). All you need is a slide-out organizer with some hooks!
15. Don’t Forget the Sides of Your Fridge
You might not immediately think of the outside of your fridge as being capable of storage possibilities, but it is! The side of your fridge (especially if it’s near your cooking work station) is the perfect place to add a magnetic storage rack to hold all kinds of essentials. The rack picture above holds food wraps, potholders, and paper towels, while Assistant Editor, Caroline Mullen, uses hers to hold a salt cellar, olive oil, a pepper grinder, a butter crock, and a little hook for her apron. It might possibly one of the most invaluable purchase you can make towards your kitchen’s functionality? You tell us!
16. Tuck Storage in Any Crevice You Can Find
Do you have an oddly-small (or large) gap between your fridge and cabinets? A break between the dishwasher and the wall? Take advantage of that otherwise-wasted space by fitting a little rolling storage cart in between. This one is perfect for canned items, spices, dried goods, and also has a wooden shelf at the top to hold essentials like olive oil, salt, and pepper.
From Our Shop
More from Food52
Which of these genius storage solutions are going on your wishlist? Tell us in the comments.