19 clever kitchen storage ideas to leave space for food and people

Expert tips for stylish, space-saving storage to help you cut down on clutter.

With all the work, design and planning that goes into creating the beautiful hub of your home, clever kitchen storage ideas must be included in the mix. The goal is a generous, streamlined kitchen space where it’s easy to find what you need every time, without having to navigate clutter.

We’ve asked an expert for the best kitchen organisation tricks and clever kitchen storage tips for surfaces, kitchen drawers and cupboards to help you find a place for everything – from your slow cooker to your snacks, plates to party supplies, saucepans to sauce bottles. Here’s how to have your kitchen storage working for you, not the other way around.

Dark and white kitchen cabintery with marble herringbone tile splashback
Mix it up. The best kitchen storage ideas include a combination of drawers, cupboards and integrated cabinetry. (Credit: Photography: Claire McFerran / Stylist: Alex Carter)

How can I maximise my kitchen storage?

1. Planning ahead is the key to adequate storage anywhere in the home. “Seek the advice of an interior designer or kitchen designer when formulating your kitchen plan,” says Interior Designer Victoria Waters. “The configuration of your kitchen should consider the best layout and maximise storage opportunities.”

2. Collect ideas when you come across them and use tools like Pinterest to save visual references so you can brief your cabinet maker or kitchen specialist. Keep an ideas folder handy to note details of kitchens you see with clever storage. Visit showrooms and retailers for new innovations and canvas your friends and family for their kitchen storage success stories. Then, take the time to plan carefully to make the most of what you have.

3. Be creative. Clever storage doesn’t have to break the budget. Be patient. Once you’ve done your research, keep an eye out on Marketplace, Gumtree and free community sites for items you’re looking for. One person’s trash…

Modern kitchen with timber flooring and green marble kitchen island
Splurge on statement choices like this green marble benchtop but make it work hard with hidden storage. (Credit: Photography: Armelle Habib / Stylist: Julia Green)

Kitchen island Storage  

4. Often a very under-utilised storage area in a kitchen, why not incorporate storage into a kitchen island? “Consider utilising the front of your kitchen island bench for concealed cupboards to house all your entertaining items,” suggests Victoria. “Utilise the depth of your island for maximum storage and install concealed push-catch locks on your cabinets so the storage is concealed.”  

5. Add even more handy kitchen storage with shelves on the ends of your kitchen island to store cookbooks, serving dishes, or other kitchen essentials.

Shelving for kitchen island storage
Build open shelving into your kitchen island for storage and styling. (Credit: Ema Peter)

Kitchen benchtop storage

6. Wanting to increase the amount of kitchen benchtop storage? The first step is to remove everything to clear the clutter and start fresh. Then assess what you really need. When in doubt, leave it out of reach. You can always bring it back but, chances are, the space you gain outweighs the real estate it took up.

7.You can also install a shallow box shelf for oils on the end panels on either side of your cooktop,” Victoria suggests. “And utilise smaller spaces near your oven/cooktop for pull-out drawers to house spices and oils used frequently in cooking.”

Kitchen cupboard storage

8. Don’t settle for off-the-rack kitchen storage ideas when often in a kitchen design, there is some space on the end of a bank cabinets where you can customise extra storage. “250-300mm is all you need for a useful shelf in a kitchen,” says Victoria.

9. Make the most of awkward or unused spaces by utilising tubs and baskets. “You can easily remove the basket to view the items,” says Victoria, also suggesting hooks on the inside of the cupboard doors, pull-out shelves and corner carousels to make things efficient and easy to access. 

10. Installing tension rods vertically inside your cabinets is a great way to separate your dishes or baking sheets. This uses less cupboard real estate, avoids digging around and helps prevent items from falling over.

11. Remember the area under your kitchen sink to store cleaning supplies, garbage bags, and other items. Install a pull-out drawer or basket for maximum space-saving and accessibility.

Hamptons style kitchen storage ideas
Hidden shelves either side of the cooktop house oils and condiments in this Hamptons-style kitchen. (Credit: Photography: Abbie Melle / Stylist: Lisa Burden)

Kitchen drawer storage

12. Opt for wider drawers where possible under the bench and consider the depth of your drawers to ensure you can house your appliances in the cupboards below.  

13. Organise your drawers properly, making a place for everything using dividers to make the most of every centimetre. Then put everything in its place. “Stack the height of drawers so you don’t waste space and consider an inner shallow drawer inside a larger drawer to house utensils,” says Victoria, suggesting another clever trick is to add some kickboard drawers to house serving platters.

Pantry with open shelving and large drawer storage
The ultimate pantry organisation combines open shelving for decantered drygoods with generous drawers for more containers. (Credit: Photography: John Downs | Styling: Kylie Jackes)

Pantry storage ideas

14. Trends in kitchen storage design extend into the pantry too and we think there’s nothing more satisfying than organising your pantry by decanting your items into similar glass jars and containers. “I think it’s important that we all try to eliminate plastic items so I love seeing my clients embrace using glass jars in their kitchen,” says Victoria. “A pantry organised with all clear glass jars always looks so visually appealing.”

15. Pull-out drawers installed in the lower section of your pantry provide easy access and use space efficiently but can be compartmentalised to maximise storage space inside the drawers too. “Install shelving above with labelled baskets or clear enviro-friendly plastic tubs to house food items to easily pull the tub out when needed,” suggests Victoria. “A lazy Susan is also very useful for storing and accessing condiments on upper shelves.”

Interior designer Victoria Waters in her own kitchen
Victoria’s own kitchen combines a blend of mesh and glass cabinet doors to hide and display items in equal measure. (Credit: Photography: Nic Gossage / Stylist: Lisa Burden)

Small kitchen storage

16. Storage is key to efficiency so balance your storage needs with aesthetic considerations to fit in with the rest of your home. “When designing your kitchen it’s important to mark on the plans where you will store all your items to ensure you have the space,” says Victoria. 

17. “In a smaller kitchen it’s important not to introduce too many design elements,” says Victoria, recommending sticking to a streamlined colour scheme and limiting glass or see-through cabinets as these can restrict your ability to store items. “Items on display should appear aesthetically pleasing which is not always possible when storage space is limited,” says Victoria.

18. Pull-out pantry shelves can be built-in or retro-fitted to optimise storage space and bring items within easy reach and decorative storage solutions like pegboards are a great way to store frequently-used kitchen tools and utensils. Hang pots, pans, and other items from hooks on the board to free up valuable cabinet and benchspace. 

19. Think outside the box and look to other areas with potential for storage – hanging over the cooktop or workbench, inside cupboard doors or on walls. In the pantry, take shelves right up to the ceiling to store seldom-used items out of the way.

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