Cupboards fitted below worktops or mounted on walls will provide a generous amount of storage space, but are not always practical in a small or awkwardly shaped kitchen. Sometimes there is insufficient room to fit more than one or two standard size wall cupboards, in which case shelving may be the only answer, or perhaps a combination of cupboards and shelving.
When choosing cupboards look for a rigid design, strong hinges and handles, and a tough surface finish that will not scratch easily. Shelving should be thick enough to support the weight of items without bowing. Both cupboards and shelving should have easy-to-wipe surfaces. Coated or laminated chipboard can be bought in a range of lengths, widths and thicknesses, and needs no final finishing. Timber can be finished with polyurethane varnish or Danish oil.
Avoiding wasted space
In planning your kitchen you will have decided the best places for cupboards and shelving, but there will almost certainly be areas of wasted space, especially in corners where units meet at right angles and on walls where cupboards and shelving cannot be fitted. There are a number of ways of overcoming the problems. For example, corner cupboard doors can be fitted with semicircular baskets so that when the door is closed the baskets swing into the corner space. And wire mesh grids can be attached to a wall above a sink or cooker hob for hanging kitchen tools and small utensils.
Keeping things accessible
The contents of shelves and cupboards are not always easily accessible. Tins and packets of foodstuffs in particular may get pushed to the back and forgotten. Pull-out units with wire trays, pull-out larders and wire baskets fitted on the inside of cupboard doors are some of the ways in which storage space can be made more accessible and easier to organise.
Storing awkward items
Large items such as frying pans, colanders and preserving pans often will not fit easily, if at all, in a cupboard or on a shelf. A simple answer is to hang them on a rail fitted somewhere they can be reached easily but will not obstruct a working area. Brass curtain rails or shower curtain rails are easily adaptable for the purpose.
Keeping perishable food
A larder or a ventilated cupboard is ideal for storing fresh fruit and vegetables, cheese, eggs and preserves. It needs to be built against a north-facing wall to avoid direct sunlight.
A larder should have an open window covered with wire mesh to keep out flies. A cupboard can be ventilated by fitting an airbrick in the wail.