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Tinkering with your landlord’s kitchen fittings might not go down well when it comes to getting your deposit back, but there are plenty of smart ways to work in extra storage without major disruption. From freestanding pieces to vertical thinking, here are some ways to maximise your space in a minimal way.
Divide and display
If you’re planning to divide your kitchen from your dining or living space, choose a shelving unit like this one so you gain additional storage at the same time. Going for a piece on wheels will allow you to reconfigure the space at will, depending on your requirements.
Read styling tips for open shelves
Look to hooks
Make the most of a shallow recess by installing some hooks on which to hang pots and pans, allowing easy access or to show off a prized collection of vintage pans or copper-bottomed cookware. A panel of pegboard would be a great versatile (and damage-free) alternative to adding wall hooks, and could easily be cut to neatly fit the space.
Go up and under
Could you put the undersides of wall cabinets to work? This can be a handy spot for storing small items, such as jars of herbs and spices. Choose lightweight plastic jars and fix the lids to the cupboards with sticky Velcro so you can remove them when it’s time to move.
Mind the gap
Maximise any awkward or unused under-counter space by scouring the shops for a freestanding piece of furniture, such as a butcher’s block or small shelving unit, that will tuck neatly under the worktop. This one not only holds plenty of kitchen paraphernalia, it can be pulled out to extend the work surface, too.
Find moveable kitchen islands and trolleys
Create convenient cubbyholes
If you have a spare wall in your kitchen, or even in a corridor leading to it, some simple freestanding bookcases could offer easy-access storage for everyday items, as well as providing extra display space. Choose a simple, solid unit like this, or look out for freestanding wire shelving instead. Often used in pantry or garage spaces, they can be an economical option.
Let it grow
Turn a storage solution into a feature by securing some jam jars to the wall with tool clips or similar and filling them with herbs. Ensure you include a layer of gravel in the bottom of each jar for drainage, and don’t over-water. If you can’t make holes in the wall, create a similar system on a large sheet of MDF leant against a wall instead.
Exploit the slimmest nook
Even a very narrow space can be put to good use with a tall, freestanding shelving unit. Here, a unit open on all sides holds plenty of extra kit without blocking the light from the window.
Make bars the stars
An easy, cost-effective way to maximise storage is to fit hanging bars, teamed with S-hooks, into any redundant corners. They’re inexpensive enough that you can leave them in place when you move on, providing your landlord doesn’t mind you fixing them in the first place. If holes in walls simply aren’t an option, get a length of metal pipe from a DIY store and try mounting it on some hooks fixed underneath a wall cabinet or shelf: the holes will barely be noticeable when the time comes to remove them and move on.
Find something freestanding
A 1950s kitchen larder, Welsh dresser or vintage shelving unit can provide heaps of handy storage in a kitchen corner. Scour junk shops for a piece that will fit your space, then either paint it in a similar colour to existing cabinetry to help it blend in, or highlight the contrast and decorate it in a different style to the rest of the fittings.
Stack quirky crates
The humble wine crate can prove a valuable friend to the renter. Here, one has been placed on a kitchen worktop for additional storage for favourite bowls and mugs, with extra cup hooks maximising every last inch. This could easily be stacked several crates high for even more display and storage potential.
Discover how to use salvaged items as smart storage solutions
Joanna Thornhill, Houzz Contributor