The 3 Bonus Cabinet Storage Ideas Every Kitchen Needs.

Today we’re sharing three of the best creative cabinet storage ideas that we used in our kitchen remodel. But why? If you’ve read our post on why we installed all lower kitchen drawers instead of cabinets, then you know about our die-hard love for drawers all day long.

But what about when drawers are impossible? (Such as in high spaces 6 feet above the ground; you couldn’t see inside.) We can’t put drawers everywhere. So what do we do in those cases?

This is why we’re sharing the three examples of how we maxed out our cabinets and made them highly functional where we were forced to have them. (Imagine me with gritted teeth. Yes, sometimes you are FORCED to have cabinets even when you wish they would all disappear into the night!)

So how do we make the cabinets we had to have be the most amazing cabinets we could?


#1: “Hidden” Storage Cabinets

So, because we decided to leave the sink in the same spot, we now had two small sections of “empty” wall space available to either side of the sink. What would we do with them?

In our first house (a decade ago), I’d thought about taking out upper cabinets to go to open shelving. (That was before the open shelving trend hit and went crazy.)

However, now I was 10 years older and 10 years wiser. And I definitely did NOT want open shelving. (My feelings on open shelving is a discussion for another time!) So it was looking like we’d need to have cabinets on either side of the sink (if I wanted storage that I couldn’t see, which I definitely did).


Problem: I don’t love the look of upper cabinets with counter space underneath. I’m not sure why…maybe it feels unbalanced to me? This big heavy-looking upper cabinet “floating” above a counter below? Maybe. It’s not like I couldn’t live with that scenario. But really, because I was now being given the choice—I could have ANYTHING in that space I wanted! ANYTHING!—I wanted to choose wisely.

Question: What do people usually put beneath those upper cabinets?

Answer: Appliances.

kitchen sink with window above natural shade and appliance cabinets on each side

vase | brush | 7 Perks of a Built-in Countertop Drainboard!


We decided to do “double” cabinets on those walls: one set above, one set below. (Yes, I think that helps for me with my upper cabinet dislike—visually having that balance with a solid “support” below. Maybe that’s it. Will take some more pondering on that one to say definitively.)

That way, we could store our most-used appliances on the counter (the others are stored elsewhere, to be revealed)…yet hide them in 2 seconds when not being used.

For example, we now go from this:

espresso machine | I love our coffee station almost as much as I love coffee!

To this:

appliance cabinet on counter with doors closed
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It was all achieved by simply pre-planning our cabinets!

How did we do that? We share more about our hidden appliance cabinets here!


#2: “Hidden” Pop-out Storage Cabinet

The second place we couldn’t avoid having cabinets was above the fridge.

But I didn’t want it to look like there was a cabinet there. See the details HERE!

man opening cabinet above refrigerator

magnet lift mechanism | How we made our above fridge cabinet reachable (without a stepstool!)

And below, here’s a peek at what it looks like when you’re coming down the hallway into our kitchen. Pretty subtle and not screaming for your attention, right?

Form + function. Pretty much everything The Brain & The Brawn stand for!

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view of kitchen with refrigerator and cabinet above with no hardware

magnet lift mechanism | vase | Join our Insider’s List and get our FREE Design Guide!

See the full post at “How to Make the Cabinet Above Your Fridge Look Good + Reachable Without a Stepstool!”


#3: Above-oven Storage

The third place we just couldn’t avoid having cabinets was above the oven. Again, what else are you going to put up there? Sigh. Can’t do all our drawers up there. It would have to be a cabinet.

But not just any cabinet.

closed cabinet drawers above oven
If you want a timeless, beautiful, and organized kitchen YOU NEED THIS!

Question: So how could we maximize the space and make it uber-useful?

Answer: We just looked at what would be handy up there.

Q: What was nearby the space?

A: The oven.

Q: And what do we use a lot in the oven?

A: Trays. These trays. They’re nontoxic and we use them almost daily.

Q: What’s annoying about trays?

A: Storing them in a drawer or cabinet below. Having to have them piled on top of each other. Digging around for different sizes or types of trays.

Q: So how do you solve that annoyance?

A: By turning the trays vertical and separating them!

Cabinet above oven with trays separated by built in organization

our trays | Kitchen Organization & Design Bundle


We have 18+ additional kitchen storage “tips and tricks” to share with you in our post on 21 Genius Kitchen Ideas & Hacks!

UPDATE: See our Complete List of kitchen remodel posts! (Full of organization, storage & design tips!)

Or you’ll want to check out these other kitchen-related posts:

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➜ Our complete list of every single home project is viewable HERE!

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PS: You can see the upper cabinet storage in action in our quick video below!

This Post Has 7 Comments

  1. Martha

    Where did you get the retractable door mechanisms for the coffee station? I love that they go in and don’t take lots of room on the sides of the cabinet like others I have seen. Thank you

  2. Sage

    Your kitchen is absolutely beautiful! I recently hired cabinet painters to paint my cabinets white, and now I’m trying to figure out the best way to keep them organized. Your post was so helpful!

  3. Jolene

    Hello – I have several questions. Why don’t you like open shelves? I have several gourmet olive oil bottles and balsamics that I use for everything and I can’t figure out the best way to organize them so that I can design my new kitchen. I did add a spice pull out on one side of the stove for all my spices, but should I do my oils there and do a 3 drawer next to it for the spices? I like the idea of taking the upper cabinets to the countertop on both sides of my stove but then I lose a lot of counter space around my stove. My builder just keeps asking me to finalize my decisions but I keep going back and forth. I don’t want to just do the normal safe route like everyone else, want my kitchen to look elegant, different then my neighbors but also functional. Do you have any advice? How much do you charge to help finalize a kitchen design?

    1. Jess

      Hi Jolene, yes it sounds like you have a lot of specific questions for your space! We’re currently booked through 2023 for major projects, but we do occasionally offer 1-hour design consult spots–more info on what we do here, and our design packages/consults info is here.

      If you’d like to book a spot, you can do so here.

      – Matt & Jess

    2. Jolene

      Not often are there two Jolene’s on the same comment board! Haha 🙂

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