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Uncommon Storage Solutions for Small Kitchens

6 smart and stylish ways to maximize space and tame the clutter — without resorting to pegboard.

Storage is always at a premium, no matter how big your kitchen might be. Of course, in smaller spaces, finding storage solutions is especially daunting. Aside from masterminding the layout and design, there’s the cost.

We’ve come up with six oft-overlooked options for reclaiming unused areas in your kitchen, for budgets big and small.

Add an armoire

It may sound obvious, but built-in cabinetry is not the only option. Add an antique armoire or sleek apothecary-style cabinet instead. These days, oversized armoires can be scored for a deal secondhand, given the popularity of flat-screen TVs, which are frequently hidden in them when not in use.

There’s no need to match the style or color of your free-standing unit to existing cabinetry. Use a weathered wood piece in a gleaming white space to infuse history and texture, or shop around in a big box store for something new in an offbeat color.

Tack on a cart

Whether you have an island or not, finding a spot to tuck in, or tack on, a satellite work-surface-cum-storage-space in the form of rolling cart is smart. If your island is lacking in length but you’ve got the square footage, park a cart on the end to store oft-used dishware.

Maybe dedicate the top as the place for kids to prepare their own snacks. (It’s amazing how motivating a specially designated area can be.) More likely, you’ll want to nestle your overflow workhorse into a corner, where it can live indefinitely or be pulled out when the occasion calls.

Dig out a niche

If you’re renovating your kitchen or building from scratch, unearth hidden opportunities. Just as you might punch a shampoo niche into your new shower or a linen cupboard into a hallway, consider creating a cavity in the kitchen.

Lined with wood or tile and fronted with glass, a blank expanse of drywall can become a gorgeous built-in china cabinet. If you’re erecting a column for support, ask your contractor whether hollowing out an area in the middle is an option. If there’s no room for doors, just add shelves for a cubby effect.

Divide & conquer

At a loss for where to add storage in your open floor plan? Don’t get stuck thinking storage units need to be mounted or pushed against walls. Italian architect Piero Lissoni used a glass display case filled with antique pottery to divide the living room from the kitchen in his Tuscan hideaway. Not only does it solve a storage dilemma and supply separation, but also it lets light filter in from both sides.

Play with pods

Even the skinniest of galley kitchens can accommodate hanging utensils. Rather than degenerate into a craft room aesthetic with pegboard, go for sleek metal rods, S-hooks, and pods. Cover an entire wall, or tuck them under a shelf just above the counter, like La Tartine Gourmand blogger Béa Peltre did in her kitchen just outside Boston.

Hang up the pots

Along the same lines, liberate pots and pans from lower cabinets. The move will free up valuable cabinet space for smaller wares, and you’ll be able to access the frying pan a lot faster next time your toddler demands another bowl of mac & cheese (like, tomorrow). If you have high ceilings, install a pot rack overhead. Otherwise, a wall works just as well. Play with materials; hardware comes in on-trend options like copper and brass.