21 January 2021
With this article, we will provide some kitchen storage ideas and inspiration to help achieve that which is the goal of every home: order, function and beauty.
The importance of storage in the kitchen is crucial to its correct functioning. Much more so than for any other room in the home, because of the way kitchens have evolved over recent decades. Putting kitchen storage ideas into practice is the key to allowing the space to be that all those things that we demand of it: a place to prepare and store food, a place to entertain, a place of work. Proper kitchen storage allows for all these sometimes competing uses to exist in harmony.
There’s not much point in storing things that are never used in the kitchen so before anything else taking an inventory of both utensils and food is a good idea. For the optimum kitchen storage order is an overriding consideration. This means grouping together dry foods, condiments, utensils, kitchen gadgets etc. in an organised fashion. Just as every kitchen follows a classic triangulation of preparation, cleaning and cooking so too should storage.
Although separate rooms for the scullery and the pantry are no longer common in most UK homes the idea of separating cleaning products and food storage from cooking in the kitchen is still advisable. This can be simply achieved through good organisation of the kitchen.
The kitchen cabinets are the main tool at your disposal for kitchen storage. Containing drawers and shelves as well as racks and revolving carousel gismos there is no excuse for not taking advantage of every square inch available. Fitted kitchens are assembled from standard size cabinets, but even leftover spaces which there always are can provide great storage space for awkwardly shaped utensils and cooking equipment.
Regarding kitchen furniture, we can differentiate between the following typologies:
For small kitchens where space is a premium, we must be clever about kitchen storage. Every surface can be pressed into the service of storage; the back of a closet door, for instance, can be converted into a series of hooks for mops, brooms, pans and dusters. The underside of wall cabinets can be fitted with racks and additional shelving.
Store pans sideways in base cabinets using special dividing inserts. Place a slide-out cutting board over a waste bin directly underneath in the base cabinet. Make use of vertical racks on worktops for cooking equipment. Hooks for hanging pots and pans will not only save space but look rustic. And tilt units for fake drawer fronts under the sink can be used for washing up a related article like sponges and cloths for wiping surfaces.
Broadly speaking there are two opposing philosophies regarding storage in the kitchen, one where ingredients and utensils are on view and the other where everything is hidden. Like most opposing approaches to life’s conundrums the solution lies with compromise, some things hidden and some on display. The choice is an individual one but should be informed by cooking habits, i.e. if cooking with spices is your strength store them in an attractive and colourful display.
From under counter pull-out cutting boards to pull-out storage for recycling bins: designer spice racks and magnetic wall strips for storing knives the kitchen is an Aladdin’s Cave of possibilities to exploit for clever storage. Being clever with kitchen storage depends on the size of the kitchen; the smaller it is the cleverer one must be to achieve a functional and orderly kitchen. But even the larger kitchen can benefit from a rationalised storage regime where food, equipment and utensils are grouped together and arranged in a rational way. The kitchen island can also provide additional storage space, with shelving and cabinets incorporated. Most fitted kitchens come in a standard height of 230 cm over floor level which leaves at least another 25 cm between the top of the cabinet and the underside of the ceiling to use for storage. Add shelving and store seldom-used utensils. At the other extreme the ‘toekick’ recessed area underneath the base cabinets can be exploited with pullout drawers. Ideal for flat baking pans and serving dishes.
The determining factor when planning the size of your kitchen is the amount of storage you require. This varies for every household but as a general rule of thumb think of the kitchen as a fridge; an adult will require approximately 140 L (5 cubic feet) storage, so a family of 2 adults and 2 children (over 4 years) will need a fridge with a minimum capacity of 500 and 550 L (18 - 20 cubic feet). As a general rule for dry goods allow for between 400 and 500 L (14 and 18 cubic feet) storage per person. The average wall cabinet has a 250 L (9 cubic ft) capacity and a floor to ceiling pantry unit can accommodate 1350 L (48 cubic feet).
Every awkward corner and ‘hard to reach’ area at the back of base and wall cabinets should be considered as a resource for kitchen storage. Corner cabinets of L shaped kitchens can be fitted with carousel units and drawers are the ideal solution to deep cabinets that are difficult to reach. Wire shelf risers for storing kitchen crockery can double the capacity of a base or wall cabinet. And using the entire height of the kitchen, right up to the ceiling is another approach to maximising kitchen storage.
Having a simple kitchen layout avoiding awkward corners and taking full advantage of the entire floor to ceiling height will provide the optimum storage capacity in a small kitchen. This entails planning and designing storage that reflects individual lifestyle and diet choices.