If you watch any of the 342 different cooking shows currently on TV, you’ll see celebrity chefs and aspiring gourmets alike working their magic in sprawling, well-appointed kitchens. These culinary fantasylands have all the space you could ever want to store every bowl, dish, utensil, and ingredient you could ever need.

Of course, most of us aren’t spending time in our kitchens for fleeting TV glory, and most of us don’t have the luxury of limitless storage space. Plenty of home and condo owners and apartment dwellers need to find solutions to make small kitchens function like larger ones. Fortunately, some simple hacks and minor tweaks can give even the most cramped kitchen more square-footage of functional space than you thought possible. And, most of these are rental friendly – no drilling or demo necessary.

Go Vertical

Look beyond your drawers, countertops, and cabinets and you’ll see walls just waiting to be used as storage. You can hang pots, pans, utensils, oven mitts, and other kitchen basics on a sturdy and well-secured pegboard. We recommend drilling into the stud or using a molly bolt for safety. Make sure to check with your landlord first and patch any holes before move out so repairs are not deducted from your security deposit.

Add Shelving

Those bare walls can also be the perfect place to set up simple, affordable free-standing shelves. Even the gleaming TV kitchens tend to have these functional units as storage for cooking implements and food. This is the best place to display your favorite cookbooks, vases, and culinary trinkets for an added element of decor.

Utilize Dead Space

If your kitchen cabinets do not extend all the way to your ceiling, there is ample storage space on top of those cabinets for larger and less frequently used items like serving platters or seasonal dishes. All you need is a stepstool to open up the possibilities. Similarly, don’t overlook the top of your refrigerator as a great and accessible storage area. You’ll probably want to dust it off first, though.

Maximize Cabinet Space

Cabinets offer more storage than the interior shelves alone. You can easily hang items from the bottom of your upper cabinets. Hooks or magnetic strips allow for mug and utensil storage as well as other creative uses like a hanging spice rack. The same principle applies to the sides of cabinets. You can hang several items on accessible cabinets without taking up any additional useable space. Again, hanging racks on the inside of cabinet, pantry, or other doors can give you ample vertical storage space.

Add Riser Shelves

Small riser shelves that you can put on countertops and cabinet shelves can instantly double the size of a piece of precious kitchen real estate. Consider adding riser shelves underneath the kitchen sink to stow cleaning supplies in an organized fashion, or inside your dishware cabinet to separate things like mugs and bowls.

If the above solutions aren’t enough and you simply need to upgrade your home for more kitchen space, contact Z Chicago today. We can help you find a kitchen with ample storage and style in your next rental or for an upcoming home purchase.