31 Creative Ways to Store Dishes and Utensils That Go Beyond Cabinetry

bright dishes in white kitchen open shelving with wallpaper
Photo: Dustin Halleck

Dishware doesn't need to hide away inside a cabinet. Make your kitchen even more stylish and functional by storing dishes where you can see and access them easily. These creative dish storage ideas will help you organize your kitchen in style.

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Dish Storage for Small Spaces

pegboard kitchen storage
Adam Albright

Dish storage can be a particular challenge in small kitchens. In areas where installing shelves or cabinetry would take up too much room, opt instead for simple hooks that can hang dishes and cookware flat against the wall. Simply attach the hooks directly on the wall surface, or install a pegboard for customizable storage.

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Recessed Dish Storage

Shelf white and wood dishes
Robert Brinson

Turn a blank stretch of wall into a hub for storing dishes. A recessed niche outfitted with shelves provides a handy spot to organize and display serving dishes, cutting boards, trays, and more. Try painting the back of the niche in a contrasting color to make your dish collection pop.

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Wallpapered Open Shelving

bright dishes in white kitchen open shelving with wallpaper
Dustin Halleck

If you have a colorful dishware collection worthy of display, don't hide the pieces in a closed cabinet. To easily add open shelving to your kitchen, simply remove the doors on a set of existing cabinets. Use the area to neatly arrange plates, glasses, bowls, and other items in rows and stacks. For added interest, cover the back of the cabinet with wallpaper in a graphic pattern.

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Pullout Utensil Storage

small cabinet pulled out to show spices and tools
Edmund Barr

Ban junk-drawer clutter with sliding cabinetry that features small built-in buckets. Silverware, spices, scissors, and more fit snugly into the storage units, which can be removed for painless cleaning. You can also outfit the pullout's lower shelves with metal guardrails that keep spice jars and other small items in place.

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Dish Storage on Open Shelves

kitchen open storage shelves decorative pottery
Robert Brinson

Open storage ensures an easy reach for often-used dishware. Reserve lower shelves for items used daily, such as plates and bowls, and upper shelves for larger serving pieces used only on special occasions. For added organization, corral small items like napkins and table linens in small baskets to keep shelves clutter-free.

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Portable Flatware

blue painted metal utensil carrier
Werner Straube

Transfer silverware from countertop to tabletop easily with a portable basket. This budget-friendly storage idea repurposes a vintage metal caddy and Mason jars for flatware storage. Organize cutlery into various jars by type, then move the entire storage unit as needed.

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Dishes on Display

island storage pottery display racks
Laura Moss

Hutchlike dowels offer a straightforward way to show off dish collections. Incorporate them into a kitchen island for unexpected storage on display. You can also create a pleasing backdrop for pretty dishware by updating island shelving with a fresh coat of stain or paint. Switch out dishware as the seasons or your decorating tastes change throughout the year.

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Vertical Dish Storage

kitchen rack near fridge subway tile
James R. Salomon

Go vertical when considering open storage to maximize kitchen floor space. A tall, ready-to-assemble shelving unit ($116, Bed Bath & Beyond) puts glassware next to the refrigerator for ease of use. Place large serving pieces or mixing bowls on the remaining shelves.

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Banquette Storage

yellow kitchen storage under nook
Anthony Masterson 

Don't overlook the storage potential of a banquette bench or window seat. Utilize the space underneath the seat to tuck away baskets filled with wooden utensils, silverware, and paper napkins. Keep the area open or conceal with a hinged cabinet door.

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Plan for Better Kitchen Storage

The most efficient kitchen storage requires careful planning. Maximize space inside cabinets, drawers, and more by taking a cue from this storage-packed kitchen. These clever ideas will help you store more in your own space.

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Coffee Mug Storage

coffee cup and dishtowel rack kitchen
Werner Straube

Wire racks, whether new or found at a flea market, become works of art when outfitted with pretty patterned coffee mugs and teacups. This metal display rack was formerly used in a retail store. For the kitchen, hang dishware from the top rungs and store colorful towels below for a simple beverage station.

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Island Storage Unit

kitchen island open storage containers
John Bessler 

An open island with shelves makes for accessible, centrally located dish storage. Cutting boards and serving trays easily slide into this island's upper shelves. Baskets store spare dishware and oversize pots and pans below.

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Dish Storage Drawers

drawer storage dishes bowls separators
Michael Partenio

Deep pullout drawers ensure the right serving pieces, linens, and flatware are always within reach. This dish storage drawer includes a modified pegboard approach that uses oversize pegs to divide stacks of bowls and plates. These buffers keep the dishes from sliding and chipping when opening and closing the drawer.

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Behind-the-Door Cabinet Storage

inside cupboard hanging measuring cups spoons
Adam Albright

Hang measuring cups and spoons within a cabinet door to keep them at arm's length. Simply install small cup hooks ($1, The Home Depot) on the back of the door. Cover the area with chalkboard paint and outline each utensil to ensure nothing ever goes missing.

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Glassware Storage

kitchen open storage shelves wine glasses
Brie Williams

Floating glass shelves provide dishware storage that adds to a kitchen's open and airy feel. Reserve this area for storing glassware to maintain a visually lightweight look. This dish storage solution won't detract from kitchen walls covered in pretty tile or patterned wallpaper.

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Silverware Storage

dinner party settings drawer storage
Cameron Sadeghpour

If you're storing your family's precious silver, consider a nested approach. Here, a drawer outfitted with a divided pullout tray protects the silverware from tarnish or scratches. When the drawer is open, it's easy to admire the delicate artisanship of each piece.

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Kitchen Problems Solved

Especially in small spaces, finding enough storage for all your kitchen necessities can be tricky. The key is to use cabinet and drawer space as effectively as possible. Learn how to tackle some of the most common kitchen storage problems with these smart tips and tricks.

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Portable Dish Storage Ideas

organized pantry storage cookbooks dishes
John Bessler 

Adapt mobile storage solutions to keep everyday utensils handy and organized. Here, a wooden crate with handles easily carts dishes between the kitchen and dining area. To ensure utensils don't get lost in a large box, use small jars to keep forks, knives, and spoons separate.

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Sliding Breakfast Station

kitchen organization pull-out refrigerator drawers
Emily Followill 

Keep your French press, coffee cups, and sugar bowl in one convenient location with a rolling storage tray. Fix a pullout shelf at the bottom of a cabinet for easy-access dish storage. Position the coffee station near the refrigerator so you're just a step away from milk and cream.

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Pegboard Kitchen Storage

blue peg board hanging kitchen utensils
Bryan E. McCay

Utensils, silverware, and cookware are well within reach when stored on a pegboard. Paint a sheet of the versatile material a fresh shade, then mount to an empty wall or the kitchen island. Use hooks to hang baskets of kitchen linens and various utensils.

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Pullout Banquette Drawers

storage under breakfast nook kitchen
Ed Gohlich

Pullout drawers give easy access to stacks of plates and bowls within banquette seating. To further disguise the storage area, forego hardware on the drawer fronts for a streamlined look. This dish storage idea makes it easier to put away clean dishes and saves your back by eliminating the need to lift a heavy stack into an upper cabinet.

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Divided Lid Storage

kitchen storage pot pan lids organization
Adam Albright

Avoid the scuffle when searching for a cookware lid with this easy dish storage solution. Line base cabinet drawers with pegboard, then insert wooden dowels to keep lids upright and at the ready. Storing lids vertically instead of horizontally lets you quickly grab the one you need without disrupting the rest.

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Hanging Dishware Storage

patterned dishes corner kitchen open shelving
Werner Straube

Free up shelf space by maximizing the area around open kitchen shelving. Install small hooks on the underside of shelves to store dishes with handles. Mount mugs with a similar color palette to the hooks for gorgeous grab-and-go drinkware.

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Divided Utensil Drawer

kitchen drawer storage organization labels
Michael Partenio

For the most effective use of space, every cutlery and utensil drawer should include divided storage. Before shopping for inserts, take into account what you need to store, along with the inside dimensions of each drawer, including height, width, and depth. Add labels to each section for extra organization.

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Toe-Kick Storage Features

kitchen storage racks under stove
Jeff Herr 

Utilize every spare inch of space to make the most of your kitchen storage. Keep cookie sheets right where you need them with narrow drawers beneath your oven. The shallow storage space provides an easy hiding spot for spare linens and cutting boards as well.

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Instant-Access Dish Storage

white kitchen with open storage slots for dishes
Marshall Johnson

The right kitchen layout will help streamline your dish storage solutions. Install open shelves and a hutch for plates above the dishwasher to house frequently used dishes. This way you won't need to cart heavy stacks of plates, bowls, and serving platters across the kitchen after every wash.

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Island Dishware Display

black kitchen island dish storage shelves
Laura Moss

Employ vibrant dishes and glassware to create a pleasing color scheme on island shelving. Fill the top shelf with your most frequently used dishes, as this area will be easiest to reach. Limit the depths of shelves to make accessing items easier.

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Storage for Pots and Pans

kitchen wall racks hanging copper pots pans
Michael Partenio

No room left in your cabinets for pots and pans? Install two or three short metal rods on a blank kitchen wall, then use S hooks to hang cookware. Make sure to measure the lengths of each pan before hanging the bars to minimize overlapping.

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Basket Storage

kitchen open cupboards basket storage
Robert Brinson

Open storage helps small kitchens appear larger and makes essentials easier to grab. Here, a cabinet front was removed in favor of a more convenient, drawerlike solution. Now a pair of decorative baskets fills the space to house napkins, oven mitts, and table linens.

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Stemware Storage Ideas

open wine drinking glass storage kitchen
Edmund Barr

Prevent stemware from collecting dust by mounting glasses upside-down. Install a wineglass or champagne flute holder underneath an open shelf for easy accessibility. This doubles your storage capability by using both the top and bottom of the shelf area.

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Upper Shelves for Dish Storage

breakfast nook cushions open shelving
Edmund Barr

Out of cabinet space for large serving pieces? Look up. This simple shelf solves the dilemma of storing oddly shaped items, such as gravy boats and pitchers, while also displaying dishware that doubles as decor. The upper shelf isn't practical for everyday dishes, but it works well for pieces on used on special occasions.

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