I you have a small kitchen, you know how challenging it can be to find enough storage space for all of your kitchen essentials. However, with expert advice and a few smart small kitchen storage ideas, you can make the most of your limited space and create a kitchen that is both functional and organized, but most importantly, where you’ll love to cook.

Earlier this week I visited the IKEA “Planungsstudio”, (IKEA Plan and Order Point) here in Munich. This is a new IKEA concept in the middle of the city where you can get inspiration for your latest interior project and get help with the planning and ordering.

During my visit, I got inspired by one smart kitchen storage idea after the other, and after talking to the IKEA planning experts, I decided to write all the tips and tricks out in a little guide for you.

Small kitchen storage ideas: top tips from the IKEA Planning Experts

Image source: Inter IKEA Systems B.V.

In the article below, you’ll find a variety of storage ideas to optimize your small kitchen, ranging from planning out the right layout utilizing vertical storage space to maximizing cabinet and drawer storage and using smart solutions to free up valuable counter space.

About the IKEA Planungsstudio

I visited the IKEA Planungsstudio in Pasing Arcaden here in Munich, as it’s only a 10-minute metro ride from my home, yet you have multiple studios available in both Berlin and Munich.

The 300m2 location features a selection of kitchen and wardrobe inspirations that include smart solutions that are especially helpful for small-space living, a topic so relevant for anyone living in a bigger city. Samples of all cabinet fronts, hardware, and countertop materials can be tested out together so you can achieve the dream look for your new kitchen or wardrobe in person.

You can book an appointment with one of the IKEA professional planners or plan your smart interior solutions yourself on the spot. You can arrange a delivery to your home, to one of the new pick-up locations throughout Munich, or to an IKEA store of your choice.

Small kitchen storage ideas: top tips from the IKEA Planning Experts

First things first: declutter before you organize

Before we get into the tips and storage solutions, it’s crucial to mention the power of decluttering. Go through your pantry and kitchen items one by one and decide whether you want to keep, donate, or toss each item.

This can include expired food, duplicate utensils, or even appliances you rarely use. Each item you eliminate makes life easier and the task of organizing and planning a small kitchen less daunting.

Maximize your kitchen layout

When planning a small kitchen layout, it’s important to spend extra time and attention to the planning, as every placement of kitchen cabinets, drawers, and countertop space can have a big impact on the storage space available.

When you don’t have a lot of floor space to work with, you should focus on ways to optimize vertical storage. Keep in mind which functionality and storage opportunities your kitchen should include before planning out your kitchen, whether you do it together with an IKEA planning expert, or by yourself.

“At the IKEA Planungsstudios, we assist people with the planning and ordering of various solutions for their home like kitchens. Especially with the planning of a smaller kitchen, where every smartly placed cabinet or drawer module can mean instantly more storage space, it can be beneficial to sit together with one of our planning experts, who collectively can support you in no less than 13 languages.” – Michael Vortkamp, IKEA Market Manager Metropolregion München.

Layer drawers to unlock space and accessibility

Kitchen drawers are a great way to optimize space as they provide easy access by bringing the contents to you. With a simple pull, you can easily grab items. One of the key benefits of drawers is their ability to provide a clear view of their contents, ensuring that nothing gets lost or forgotten in the depths of a dark cabinet.

Drawers can be adapted to various needs and paired with thoughtful storage solutions to make even the coziest of kitchens work.

Small kitchen storage ideas: top tips from the IKEA Planning Experts

Image source: Inter IKEA Systems B.V.

Add a drawer inside a drawer to utilize all available space

By planning out a drawer inside a drawer, you can utilize the top area you would otherwise lose and include items with less height like cutlery, spices, kitchen utensils, or even smaller appliances.

Image source: Inter IKEA Systems B.V.

Smartly divide your drawers and create a spot for everything

Dividers and inserts are an ingenious way to create a dedicated space for utensils, cutlery, and kitchen tools. This level of organization not only maximizes space but also streamlines your workflow, making meal preparation a seamless experience.

You can include an insert for knife storage to keep your knives safely next to each other or include a special insert for herbs and spices so they face you when you open the drawer.

Image source: Inter IKEA Systems B.V.

Maximize your cabinet space

When planning a tiny kitchen, you should ensure making use of the available height in your space and add upper cabinets to create more storage opportunities. If you have extra high ceilings in your own kitchen space, you might even want to include cabinets reaching the ceiling. They will be harder to reach, however, they are perfect for storing less-used kitchen items.

Cabinets are essential for storage in any kitchen, but they become even more important in a small room. Use cabinet organizers such as adjustable dividers or pull-out drawers to maximize your space.

Utilize your cabinet doors

Cabinet doors are often less considered when planning a small kitchen, however, you shouldn’t overlook them as they can be used to add hooks or hanging racks to free up valuable cabinet space and to keep items easily accessible and within reach.

A smart IKEA UTRUSTA pull-out pantry will transform your cabinet with 6 main shelves inside the cabinet and 6 smaller shelves attached to the door. The shelving fits into each other when the door is closed and will move towards you when you open the door.

Image source: Inter IKEA Systems B.V.

You can also add hooks to make your cabinet doors do double duty, as in the creative example below.

Small kitchen storage ideas: top tips from the IKEA Planning Experts

Image source: Inter IKEA Systems B.V.

Use tiered storage to make the most of your cabinets

Make use of vertical space by stacking items neatly. Tiered shelving or adjustable shelves within cabinets allow you to customize the layout and create more space to accommodate various-sized items, from plates and bowls to kitchen appliances.

Add cabinet inserts to create extra levels for glasses, storage containers, or other items with different heights, or work with a hanging basket on the bottom of the shelf to create easy access for items with less height.

In the example below, you can see the PÅLYCKE multifunctional cabinet insert used to hang wine glasses inside the kitchen cabinet.

Image source: Inter IKEA Systems B.V.

Install pull-out storage in the smallest gaps

Even the smallest gaps in between kitchen modules can be optimized by including a narrow pull-out drawer which is perfect for a small pantry, for storing cutting boards, or for storage containers like in the example below.

Small kitchen storage ideas: top tips from the IKEA Planning Experts

Free up your countertop space

When it comes to small kitchen storage ideas, vertical space is your best friend. By utilizing wall space and open shelving, you can free up precious counter space and create a more organized and visually appealing kitchen design.

Make your open shelving work for you

Open shelving offers additional storage, easy access to your most used items, and at the same time provides you with a stylish way to display your kitchen essentials.

Keep your open shelves neat and tidy by arranging items by color or category. This not only looks visually appealing but makes it easier to find what you need.

Image source: Inter IKEA Systems B.V.

Hanging rails for pots, pans, or utensils

Hanging rails can be great for hanging pots and pans so that they don’t need to take up any cabinet or drawer space. Spread the rail over your entire kitchen counter length or work with a smaller rail to store just a few pans and a few utensils.

Small kitchen storage ideas: top tips from the IKEA Planning Experts

Image source: Inter IKEA Systems B.V.

Add a wall-mounted spice rack

Save counter and cabinet space by storing spices on wall-mounted spice racks like the ones from the NEREBY series shown below. You can keep your most used spices close to where you need them and freshen up the look of your kitchen with a fresh green herb pot.

Small kitchen storage ideas: top tips from the IKEA Planning Experts

Image source: Inter IKEA Systems B.V.

Create extra countertop and storage space with a rolling cart

A rolling cart with shelves creates both extra storage and an extra countertop space and can be moved around to wherever you need it. It can serve as a small kitchen island in the middle of your kitchen, or a shelf when you place it against the wall.

Below you can see the KUNGSFORS rolling cart in stainless steel adding extra storage space, and the BEKVÄM design made out of Birch elongating the kitchen counter.

Image source: Inter IKEA Systems B.V.

Accessories to optimize: it’s all in the details

While the biggest impact can be made with planning and organizing your tiny kitchen, during my visit to the IKEA Planungsstudio, I noticed how much attention the planning experts had dedicated to the details.

Every inspiring example kitchen on display included a plethora of kitchen accessories that are small kitchen storage ideas in and of themselves and great solutions for those who want to add clever storage solutions to an existing kitchen design.

Utilize Storage Containers as a focal point

Storage containers are an excellent way to keep your cabinets organized and make the most out of limited space. Consider using stackable containers to store food, dry goods, or snacks. Clear containers can help you see what’s inside at a glance, and labels can prevent confusion and make the organization even more accessible.

If you are storing your containers on an open shelving unit, they can even make a beautiful focal point in your kitchen.

Image source: Inter IKEA Systems B.V.

Compact and stackable kitchen essentials

There are some smart solutions for kitchen essentials that take up much less space than the original. A set of GARNITYREN nested bowls and containers will take up much less space in your cabinet or drawer and stackable cookware can free up a lot of space as well.

Multifunctional kitchen essentials

A foldable KLOCKREN strainer can be used both as a steamer and a strainer and it collapses so it takes up way less space in your cabinet or drawer.

A LILLHAVET over-the-sink cutting board will provide you with extra counter space while your sink is not in use.

Organize your waste and improve your recycling game

Recycling your waist is so important while cooking, however, it can take up so much space to do it well. The HÅLLBAR system makes it easier for you to recycle and it even looks organized in your kitchen.

The closed lid will reduce smells and the containers fit perfectly in different configurations inside of a cabinet, in a drawer underneath the sink, or stacked on top of each other.

Image source: Inter IKEA Systems B.V.


Whether you pick out one small kitchen storage idea from this list or plan your entire kitchen from scratch, the tips and ideas to save space can work in kitchens small or big.

Before you start with the planning of your kitchen, it’s always good to de-clutter and make a mental list of all the storage functionalities you might need in your kitchen.

When you are planning the layout of a small or even tiny kitchen, make sure to work with the height available in the room and include cabinets or open shelving on top of the counters as well. Include a second layer of drawers inside your drawers to store more kitchen supplies and organize them with inserts and dividers to keep an overview.

Make use of tiered storage inside of your cabinets and use the cabinet door for a Lazy Susan pantry or for hooks to hang oven mitts or other pantry items.

Free up countertop space by hanging open shelving or rails on the walls which can be used for hanging your pots and pans, or for storing mason jars. You can even go for a rolling cart to create more counter and storage space that can be moved around in your kitchen.

Lastly, consider smart accessories that can be folded to store away or pick kitchen items that fulfill multiple functionalities.

This article was written in collaboration with IKEA Germany. The small kitchen storage ideas you read about in this article can be tried out in an IKEA location near you, or in one of the Planungsstudios.

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