Small Living 101: Smart Space Savers for Your Kitchen Walls

If you live with a small kitchen, then you know all too well what a struggle it is to keep things organized. Just finding a place to house all your kitchen necessities can be a feat unto itself. With limited counter space and not enough cabinets, it’s crucial to make every inch of your tiny kitchen work hard.

So take a look around your small kitchen — this time with fresh eyes. Chances are you have some unused walls or flat vertical surfaces, such as the side of a cabinet. This kitchen real estate is a gold mine for storing, hanging and shelving everything from your favorite set of coffee mugs to that long box of aluminum foil. Here are some clever wall-mounted space savers for the walls of your small kitchen.

Shabby-chic Style Kitchen Open kitchen shelves

1. Shelves

Shelves are your best friend in any kitchen, especially one with limited counter and cabinet space. Every kitchen is different, but no matter how small, there is typically at least part of a wall that can accommodate even the smallest shelf. Since shelving comes in various lengths and depths, get creative and look to hang a shelf on your unused surfaces, as in the space above your stove, on the side of a cabinet wall or even above your window.

Eclectic Kitchen by Day Shift Furniture

Day Shift Furniture

Tip: Increase your shelf storage by hanging hooks underneath the shelf. Or choose a shelf that features built-in hooks. For heavier items, such as large canisters or glasses, be sure to look for a shelf that can accommodate a high weight load. Shelves with brackets underneath tend to be a bit sturdier than floating shelves. To maximize space, corral smaller items in jars or functional containers so that they take less space.

Contemporary Kitchen by Patty Kennedy Interiors, LLC

Patty Kennedy Interiors, LLC

2. Pot Rail

A pot rail, also called a utensil rack, is a versatile kitchen gadget that accommodates a lot more than just pots. This thin metal pole or strip with S-hooks allows you to hang almost anything that can lay partially flat and has a hole in its handle (for the hook). Think cutting boards, measuring cups, potholders and most cooking utensils.

Found in the kitchen section of most home or hardware stores, and with varying lengths from 18 to 36 inches, pot rails can usually fit the space on the side of a cabinet, in a small nook or above the stove.

Eclectic Kitchen by Louise de Miranda

Louise de Miranda

Tip: Also take a look at the towel hardware in the bathroom section. These can be a practical alternative to a utensil rack, with a little extra depth to accommodate more cumbersome items, such as pots with large handles.

If you’re feeling crafty, create your own unconventional utility rack. A cool-looking industrial pipe affixed to the wall with coordinating brackets could work. Or, as shown in this photo, a sturdy branch could add a more organic kitchen detail. Metal S-hooks or J-hooks for your DIY pot rail can be found in most kitchen or hardware sections.

Glory & Grace Large Rustic Industrial Metal & Wire General Store Rack

3. Wire Baskets

Mount a mesh-like wire basket on a wall and you’ve given yourself a resourceful and flexible storage option. Metal baskets are durable, lightweight and come in varying sizes. Look for a wire basket that is flat in the back and comes with wall-mounting hardware. You might also consider using wire magazine racks. Their relatively flat shape and pockets of at least 3 inches in depth can work beautifully in some spaces.

As with all wall-mounted space-saving solutions, be sure to take note of the recommended weight load for the wire basket or magazine rack. Check with your handyman to see if larger anchors and hardware will allow you to store a heavier load.

Traditional Kitchen Traditional Kitchen

Tip: Add a basket to your sturdy utility rail for even more storage. You can use these to store multiple items, such as fruit, and even lengthy items, such as boxes of aluminum foil or pasta that you might not have room for elsewhere.

Contemporary Kitchen by Divine Design+Build

Divine Design+Build

4. Magnetic Knife Strip

Storing your knives in a knife block isn’t always ideal. When counter space is a limited commodity, try hanging your knives on a magnetic, wall-mounted knife rack. This frees up your kitchen counter for food prep or storing small appliances.

Industrial Kitchen by Nic Darling

Nic Darling

Tip: Similar to a pot rail, a knife strip can house more than just knives. Try placing on the rail other small metal items such as small spice canisters, metal cooking utensils and pot covers — they’ll stick just like the knives. If you’ve hung your pots on a pot rail, the lids can go on the magnetic strip. Maximize storage possibilities by affixing metal binder clips to double as hooks for lighter kitchen knickknacks or clipped coupons.

Eclectic  by Liv By Design Interiors

Liv By Design Interiors

5. Pegboard

The pegboard is one of the more ingenious solutions for organizing and creating space in a small kitchen. Julia Child knew this and famously used her pegboard to store her pots and cooking utensils.

Traditional Kitchen American Four Square Kitchen Reno

Slim in design and versatile in size, a pegboard provides flexible and smart storage for even the most awkward spaces. The predrilled holes typically fit most S- and J-hooks. But just in case, measure the holes before buying your hooks.

You can cut a pegboard to the desired size or shape. I advise having your hardware store cut using a special saw to eliminate frayed edges. If you try it yourself and end up with some fragmented ends, place your pegboard in a frame and voilà! You’ve created a blank canvas ready to be adorned with your kitchen essentials.

Eclectic Kitchen by Scheer & Co. Interior Design

Scheer & Co. Interior Design

Tip: To add a more creative element to your kitchen, paint your pegboard and color coordinate your hanging items.

Traditional Kitchen by Hamilton Snowber Architects

Hamilton Snowber Architects

6. Hooks

Hooks are the quintessential solution for saving and creating space around your house. Practical, budget-friendly and small in size, they are especially beneficial in a small kitchen. We’ve talked about using S-hooks throughout this story — on a pot rail or in a pegboard. You can also place individual wall hooks on empty wall space around your kitchen to hang almost anything with a handle, from coffee mugs to utensils and pots.

Scandinavian Kitchen by Shift Interiors

Shift Interiors

Add a bit more style to your kitchen by using unique coat hooks, as shown in this photo.

Traditional Kitchen by Casa di Aria Remodel Consulting

Casa di Aria Remodel Consulting

Tip: Select an extended hook with a wall bracket that hangs plants. The extra length of the arm will stand far enough away from the wall to allow for vertical hanging objects, such as the fruit basket pictured here.

Contemporary Kitchen by Atypical Type A

Atypical Type A

7. Spice Rack

Spices can take up a lot of surface area in a cabinet or on a countertop. If a pullout, built-in spice cabinet isn’t in your budget — or your space limitations — go for the wall-mounted type. Spice displays can be considered eye-catching decor. Select a finish that will stand out but also complement the rest of your kitchen. You might try stainless steel, as in this photo, or perhaps a Shabby Chic design.

Rustic Kitchen by Kelli Kaufer Designs

Kelli Kaufer Designs

Tip: Make your spice rack even more appealing by swapping out the store-bought spice jars for a set of matching small glass jars and coordinated labels.

More Small Living 101: Get Maximum Style in a Small Bedroom | How to Make Your Living Room Look Larger

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