Probably the best time to plan your cupboard storage is when you’re having a kitchen redesign, as you can make sure everything’s in its right place before any furniture is fitted. But even if you’re not making big changes, there are simple steps you can take to make cupboards work better.
Here are some ideas to get you started.
If you’re having a new kitchen fitted…
Look at the big picture and plan storage around important elements like the cooker, fridge and sink. This way, you can assign each cupboard a role right from the start, which will make organising them so much more straightforward.
For example, utensils and tools you use every day should be in drawers or cupboards beside the cooker, where you can reach them quickly. Try to plan storage for dry ingredients not too far from the fridge, so you’re not criss-crossing the kitchen in search of things when planning a meal. And so on.
You’ll nearly always have more things to store than you think, so consider ways to maximise space. Corner cupboards that pivot outwards (such as the one in our cream Suffolk kitchen, pictured) are a clever way to squeeze more storage space into a small area.
Similarly, think about adding things like deep slots in between cupboards and shelves for things like chopping boards (as in our Henley larder), or building storage around an island unit, so you get as much use out of it as possible.
Think about the kitchen essentials you have most of – it might be ingredients or gadgets if you’re a foodie, or tableware if you love entertaining – and whether it needs to be shown off or kept out of sight. In our Teal Suffolk kitchen scene, crockery is ordered on open shelves, with a ladder for easy access. Because there’s enough space planned for everything, beloved items are much less likely to get broken.
Don’t forget the fine details, such as the height of shelves inside cupboards. Whatever type of storage you’re planning – open or closed – it’s a good idea to have a mix of tall and low shelves, so you don’t end up with bottles and packets you can’t find a home for.
And if you just need a refresh…
If your storage really needs an overhaul, you could set aside a day, empty every cupboard and start from scratch, organising things into groups and finding better homes for them. If this seems too daunting, tackle it cupboard by cupboard instead; be ruthless about getting rid of anything you haven’t used for ages or that’s out of date.
Once things are emptied, add some elements that’ll help maintain order in future. Our cabinet accessories include oak drawer trays with sections for cutlery and wooden spoons, plus niches to keep sharp knives safe and easy to find. For a more tailor-made solution, spice racks and drawer dividers can be added individually to suit your needs.
Baskets are another option, as pictured on the Carter island in the Henley kitchen. Large, shallow ones are useful for organising flat objects, like stacks of plates or table linens and tea towels. Or use deeper baskets to group things inside a cupboard – you could label them as well to make things easy to find.
Think about places you can get more use out of, such as the backs of cupboard doors (or even the sides of kitchen cabinets). Perhaps you can add extra shelves here for small things like spice jars or condiments.
If adding extra storage space is a priority, consider a freestanding pantry cupboard or bookcase. The former should keep the bulk of your ingredients in one place and free up other storage for kitchen kit (think of it as a larder, even if you don’t have a separate room for one). Bookcases are good for things like recipe books and saucepans – anything that you’re happy to show off or use all the time.
Lastly, try customising kitchen storage with LED lighting strips. These are easy to add wherever you need them – underneath shelves is good, or just beneath the worktop to shed light on drawers – and they’re atmospheric as well as useful.
Say hello to your new, improved kitchen.