Architectural Home Designs & Decorating Ideas

Streamline Your Small Kitchen with Smarter Cabinets

Gabriela Connell
4 minute read

If you love to cook and entertain but are limited by a tiny kitchen, it can be frustrating to find a place for all your dishes, appliances, and pantry items. The good news is that with some clever storage solutions and space-saving cabinet designs, you can maximize every inch to keep your small kitchen organized.

We’ll look at ways to assess your needs, specialized cabinet configurations to consider, and accessories that make the most of your existing cabinet space.

Assessing Your Kitchen Storage Needs

Before looking into new cabinets, take time to analyze your current kitchen layout and how you use the space. This will help you identify your top problem areas and storage needs.

Take Precise Measurements

storage cabinets for small kitchens

Record the accurate dimensions of your countertops, floor area, existing cabinet widths, and ceiling height. Knowing the precise measurements will assist you in selecting wall and base cabinets to fit your space.

Pay special attention to the height of your wall cabinets. Standard is 36 inches, but you may consider extending them to 42 inches or more for extra vertical storage in a small kitchen.

Analyze Traffic Flow and Workspace Areas

Make note of where you enter/exit the kitchen and your main work triangles between the refrigerator, stove, and sink. High traffic zones should get priority for storage access. Identify your most utilized appliances and work areas that need items within easy reach. For example, pots and pans near the stove.

Take Inventory of Items to Store

Go through everything in your present cabinets and make a list. Categorize items by usage frequency so highly accessed foods and cooking tools get prime real estate.

This inventory will help you identify what needs to be close at hand vs. what can be tucked away. You’ll also see what organizational accessories may help.

Smart Cabinet Configurations for Small Kitchens

When installing new cabinets, look beyond standard shapes to ones made for petite spaces. Strategic placement is also key.

Maximize Corners with Diagonal Cabinets

Instead of a lazy corner cabinet, opt for one installed diagonally in the corner. This utilizes all available space. Lazy Susan turntables provide easy access to items in deep diagonal cabinets.

If your corner area is narrow, consider a curved front corner cabinet. Pie cut cabinets are another space-saving option.

Utilize Wall Space with Taller Cabinets

Since floor space comes at a premium in small kitchens, maximize vertical storage with wall cabinets. Go for ceiling height when possible.

Glass-front wall cabinets make the space feel more open while still providing closed storage. Open shelving offers display space.

Enhance Accessibility of Base Cabinets

Limit lower cabinets to just one or two banks to preserve floor area. Opt for drawers over shelving in base units so you can pull contents out more easily.

Install roll-out trays under a sink base cabinet to utilize the deep space. Pull-out cabinetry near the stove holds pans and baking sheets.

Use Drawer Organizers

Within the cabinet box, include wood or plastic organizational dividers to customize the space. Options like cutlery organizers, spice drawer inserts, tilt-out trays, etc. keep items from getting jumbled.

Frequent access drawers should be more compartmentalized than occasional use pots and pans drawers, for example.

Innovative Cabinet Storage Solutions

Aside from cabinet layout, also utilize accessories that make existing storage areas more functional.

Pull-Out Shelves and Tiered Trays

Full extension shelves and trays allow you to access items at the back without any crawling or reaching. Some feature ridges to hold cans or spice bottles upright.

Tiered pull-outs are great for organizing pots and pans while freeing up drawer space below.

Under Cabinet Storage

Take advantage of vertical space with hanging wire shelving or rails mounted under wall cabinets. These are perfect for frequently used cooking tools or small appliances.

Adjustable cabinet inserts maximize this space for things like cutting boards, baking sheets, foil, and cleaning supplies.

Maximize Existing Cabinet Footprints

Insert adjustable dividers into existing cabinets to create customized compartments sized just right for dinner plates, mixing bowls, or food boxes.

Spinning “lazy susans” effectively double corner cabinet space. Door racks provide additional storage for spices, cans, or knives.

More Essential Cabinet Accessories

A few more add-ons that maximize existing storage in clever ways.

Even something as simple as a door-mounted paper towel holder clears up counter space.

Considerations for Installing New Cabinets

While new specialized cabinetry makes the best use of tiny kitchens, you may need to work within limitations of an existing layout.

Custom-built cabinets designed specifically for your kitchen will fit more efficiently than stock cabinetry in awkward spaces. But custom work costs more.

Semi-custom cabinetry offers a middle ground, with stock cabinet parts that can be resized and configured to your needs.

Finally, consider how cabinet material affects your budget and kitchen aesthetic. Wood species, finishes, hardware, and door styles impact the overall look and durability.

It is possible to have an ultra-organized cooking space, even with a petite kitchen. Assess your needs, look for specialized space-saving cabinets, and accessorize judiciously.

With smart storage solutions, you can gain back wasted space in corners, vertical walls, and existing cabinetry. This opens up room for the items you use daily, while keeping rarely used items out of the way.

A kitchen optimized for your storage needs and workflow lets you get back to doing what you love – cooking and entertaining from your tiny but mighty kitchen!