The new kitchen storage trend that we’re hailing as 2023’s stand-out design moment

Kitchen storage solutions are an integral part of any well-designed and functional kitchen. As we move into 2023, there is one particular storage trend that is emerging as a stand-out design moment: maximizing vertical storage.

Utilizing the vertical space in your kitchen with tall cabinets, shelving units, and floor-to-ceiling pantries allows you to take full advantage of every inch of available space. This storage trend is not only highly functional, but also makes a stylish design statement.

Why Vertical Kitchen Storage is Having a Moment Right Now

There are several compelling reasons why the vertical kitchen storage trend is rising to prominence in 2023:

More Efficient Use of Space

With homes getting smaller and kitchens shrinking in size, it’s more important than ever to make the most of every bit of available space. Cabinets and shelving units that stretch from floor to ceiling provide tons of storage capacity without taking up valuable floor space.

Easy Accessibility

Vertical storage puts everything within arm’s reach. You don’t have to bend down or get on your hands and knees to access items stored in low cabinets or at the back of deep base cabinets. It’s all right in front of you for easy grabbing.

Streamlined Appearance

Floor-to-ceiling cabinets and shelving give the kitchen a clean, streamlined look. Getting everything off the countertops also contributes to a tidier, more minimalist aesthetic.

On Trend Style

The vertical kitchen storage trend aligns with popular contemporary design styles like modern and industrial that emphasize high ceilings and an open, airy feel. The look is fresh and current.

Flexible Organization

With vertically oriented storage, it’s simple to customize the configuration with adjustable shelves, pull-out cabinets, and other specialized organizers to accommodate all different types of kitchen items and cookware.

Design Ideas for Maximizing Vertical Storage

There are many creative ways to implement vertical storage solutions for an ultra-functional kitchen:

Floor-to-Ceiling Pantries

Dedicate an entire wall or corner to a tall pantry unit outfitted with shelves, cabinets, and pull-out drawers to hold dry goods, canned items, baking supplies, small appliances, and more. Consider open shelving, enclosed cabinets, or a combination of both.

Extra-Tall Upper Cabinets

Outfit wall cabinets with extended heights that reach all the way up to the ceiling. Use the additional space to store infrequently used items like large platters and serving bowls.

Multi-Tier Open Shelving

Install floating shelves or wall-mounted rail systems with adjustable shelves at staggered heights to double or triple your vertical storage capacity. These open shelving units work well in place of upper cabinets.

Floor-to-Ceiling Cabinets

On one kitchen wall, install base and wall cabinets that meet in the middle to create a unified floor-to-ceiling wall of storage. Add interior organizers as needed.

Ladder Shelving

Ladder-style shelving units positioned vertically against a wall provide ledges and cubbies to store cookbooks, small appliances, spices, oils and vinegars, and other kitchen essentials.

Wall-Mounted Pot Racks

Take advantage of wall space by installing overhead pot racks or ceiling-height rails with S-hooks to hang pots, pans, and lids vertically above an island or cooking area.

Extended Height Islands

For a sizeable island, choose a counter height that exceeds the standard 36″. Then outfit the base with floor-to-countertop cabinets and shelves for maximized storage capacity.

Full-Height Fridges and Freezers

Choose upright refrigerator and freezer units that are ceiling height rather than standard counter height. Some come with bottom drawers for extra storage.

Vertical Dividers for Drawers

Use vertical dividers to optimize kitchen drawers for utensils, cutting boards, baking pans, and other slim items that can be organized into narrow columns.

Design Ideas for Specific Areas and Items

In addition to the general vertical storage solutions already mentioned, here are some ideas for specific kitchen zones and categories of items:


  • Floor-to-ceiling shelving with a mix of open and enclosed storage
  • Pull-out drawers for cans, boxes, and small appliances
  • Spice racks mounted vertically on inside door
  • Deep cabinets for large bags of rice, flour, etc.
  • Tall and narrow freezer unit

Refrigerator Zone

  • Counter-height fridge and freezer columns
  • Door-mounted bins and shelves
  • Can dispenser installed vertically on fridge exterior

Baking Zone

  • Wall-mounted racks and rails for baking sheets
  • Freestanding ladder-style rack for rolling pins and cookie cutters
  • Multi-tier open shelves for cooling racks and baking pans

Spice Storage

  • Spice racks mounted vertically on walls or inside cabinet doors
  • Floor-to-ceiling open shelves designed to hold spice jars
  • Drawers with vertical dividers for spices and seasonings

Stemware and Barware

  • Glass-front cabinets with interior glass shelving
  • Wall-mounted wine glass racks
  • Freestanding ladder wine rack positioned vertically
  • Hanging stemware racks under upper cabinets

Small Appliances

  • Shelves and pull-out cabinets designed for upright storage
  • Vertical charging station for hand mixers, electric knives, etc.
  • Custom slots or cubbies for storing immersion blenders vertically

Cookware and Bakeware

  • Ceiling-height pot racks and hanging rails
  • Vertical open shelving wide enough for large pots
  • Deep cabinet with vertical interior dividers

Dish Storage

  • Upper cabinets with extra-deep vertical shelves for platters
  • Open shelving with designated tall spots for large plates
  • Tall skinny cabinet for pizza pans and cutting boards

Cleaning and Paper Supplies

  • Enclosed floor-to-ceiling cabinet with interior shelves
  • Vertical space for mops, brooms, and vacuums
  • Narrow floor-to-ceiling cabinet for paper towels, wraps, etc.

Design and Installation Considerations

If you’re ready to jump on the vertical storage trend for your kitchen, here are some key considerations for the design and installation:

  • Carefully measure your space to determine the maximum heights for ceilings, walls, and potential shelving.
  • Plan for good lighting within and above vertical storage to prevent dark shadowy spaces.
  • Incorporate pulls, handles, and shelves/racks that allow easy access to items stored up high.
  • Choose durable, sturdy materials like wood, metal, or high-grade plastic for heavily loaded vertical storage.
  • Include adjustable components to customize shelves and organizers to stored contents.
  • Ensure vertical storage elements are properly anchored and secured to studs in walls and floors.
  • Hire experienced kitchen professionals for installing custom vertical storage systems.

Style Ideas and Inspiration

Vertical kitchen storage not only maximizes function, but also makes a stylish statement. Here are some ideas for incorporating this trend across different kitchen aesthetics:


  • Floor-to-ceiling glossy cabinets for a sleek look
  • Minimalist sliding doors revealing open shelving
  • Industrial metal racks and rails


  • Natural wood ladder-style bookshelves
  • Wrought iron pot racks and utensil rails
  • Floor-to-ceiling brick or stone pantries


  • Whitewashed wall-mounted cabinets and hutches
  • Woven baskets in vertical cubby shelving
  • Painted pegboard for hanging utensils


  • Mix of materials like wood shelves, metal rails, and glass-front cabinets
  • Vintage ladder transformed into shelving against one wall
  • Colorful and playful wallpaper inside vertical storage


  • White floor-to-ceiling shelving blending seamlessly into walls
  • Floating open cabinets with clean lines
  • Wooden wall-mounted rack ladder for plants and cookbooks

Evaluating Vertical Storage Options for Your Space

As you consider integrating some vertical storage solutions into your kitchen, here are key factors to take into account:

  • What are your main kitchen storage needs? Focus vertical options on those areas.
  • Do you have high ceilings to take advantage of or low ceiling limitations to work around?
  • Is your lighting sufficient for brightly illuminating vertical storage spaces?
  • What vertical architectural elements like walls, corners, and tall windows can you leverage?
  • How will very tall storage pieces integrate into your overall kitchen layout and flow?
  • Can any existing standard-height storage be converted to vertical with additional components?
  • How much of your storage should be open shelving vs. enclosed cabinets for aesthetics and functionality?
  • Will very tall units overwhelm a small kitchen or make a narrow galley kitchen feel cramped?

Analyze your kitchen and lifestyle needs to determine where vertical storage can deliver the biggest bang for your buck. The options are nearly endless!

Types of Materials to Choose

The materials you choose for vertical storage components have a significant impact on the look, durability, and functionality of the space. Consider these options:


  • Warm, natural aesthetic
  • Wide range of stains and finishes
  • Relatively affordable and easy to install
  • Provides smooth gliding drawers and shelves

Metal and Wire

  • Sleek, industrial vibe
  • Sturdy and durable
  • Easy to clean
  • Good for open airy shelving

Plastic and Acrylic

  • Budget-friendly alternative to pricier materials
  • Transparent options allow visibility
  • Lightweight with easy handling
  • Not as durable for heavily loaded units


  • Sophisticated, upscale look
  • Transparent and great for display
  • Shelving allows light to permeate space
  • Not the most durable or child-friendly


  • Natural material like marble, granite, and slate
  • Cool, smooth surface
  • Adds visual interest and texture
  • Extremely heavy so can limit configurations

Premium Finishes

  • Stainless steel, copper, and brass provide modern luxe vibe
  • Porcelain and concrete offer matte industrial texture
  • Requires diligent cleaning and maintenance
  • Higher price point than basic materials

Clever Storage Ideas to Optimize Vertical Space

Maximize every inch of new vertical storage space in your kitchen with these clever organization ideas at various heights:

Near the Floor

  • Slide-out trays and baskets holding cookbooks, pot lids, and baking pans
  • Deep low drawers for large bulky items like stand mixers and food processors
  • Enclosed cabinet housing cleaning supplies, mops, and brooms

Waist Level

  • Pull-out spice racks bringing ingredients right to your cooking area
  • Drawers with custom inserts for utensils, hand towels, and gadgets
  • Glass-front cabinet displaying pretty dishes and barware

Eye Level

  • Wall-mounted rail for hanging coffee mugs and utensils
  • Open shelving allowing easy access to frequently used ingredients and cookware
  • Shallow cabinets to corral small appliances that are used daily

Above Eye Level

  • Extra-deep shelves to hold serving platters and oversized cookware
  • Enclosed cabinets for small appliances only used occasionally
  • Tall hidden pantry storing bulk ingredients and overflow

Near the Ceiling

  • Top shelves for holiday platters and other rarely used items
  • Ceiling-height pot rack freeing up space elsewhere
  • High cabinets accessed with a step stool to store big roasting pans

Get creative as you make the most of vertical storage!

Designing an Accessible Vertical Kitchen

It’s important to consider accessibility along with your vertical storage design to ensure that the space can be comfortably used by people of all ages and mobility levels. Here are some tips:

  • Include pull-out shelves and drawers that bring items down to an accessible level
  • Incorporate counters and work areas that allow seated use if needed
  • Use cabinets with easy-grip handles that don’t require fine motor skills to operate
  • Opt for open shelving to eliminate high reaching whenever possible
  • Make sure wall-mounted racks are installed at a height reachable from a wheelchair
  • Install an electric lift or dumbwaiter to deliver items from very high spaces
  • Choose cabinets and drawers with self-closing mechanisms or soft-close hinges
  • Use glass-front upper cabinets to clearly see contents without climbing or reaching

With some thoughtful planning, you can design a highly functional vertical storage kitchen that seamlessly accommodates users of all physical abilities.

Space-Saving Hacks for Compact Kitchens

Even the smallest kitchens can benefit from strategic vertical storage to maximize every inch. Here are some great space-saving hacks:

  • Install open corner shelving units that utilize wasted space
  • Choose narrow floor-to-ceiling pantry units tuckable into tight spots
  • Layer two narrow wall cabinets vertically with a stacked configuration
  • Use wall space vertically for spice storage instead of taking up counter space
  • Mount microwave underside of wall cabinets to free up space on counters
  • Install overhead pot racks, utensil bars, and ceiling-height open shelving
  • Opt for counter-height fridges and freezers instead of standard heights
  • Attach a vertical knife rack or utensil holder wall-mounted or inside cabinet doors
  • Use vertical dividers in drawers to create narrow organized columns

With some creativity and multi-tiered storage, even the most pint-sized kitchen can take advantage of the vertical storage trend!

Enhancing Small Kitchens with Vertical Storage Solutions

You don’t need a palatial kitchen to benefit from vertical storage. Even modest spaces can be dramatically enhanced with smart maximizing of vertical real estate. Here’s how:

Optimize Wall Space

  • Take cabinets and shelving up to the ceiling
  • Use floating shelves or wall-mounted rails in place of upper cabinets
  • Install floor-to-ceiling pantry units in corners or on narrow walls

Multi-Task Larger Elements

  • Choose storage islands that go up to counter height
  • Use cabinets above fridges, stoves, and sinks for extra space
  • Opt for ceiling-height pantries that hold fridge overflow

Think Slim Not Wide

  • Select narrow cabinets and shelving units tuckable into tight footprints
  • Incorporate skinny floor-to-ceiling utility cabinets for brooms, paper towels, etc
  • Install wall-mounted vertical storage for spices, utensils, towels, etc.

Limit Bulky Pieces

  • Skip wide furniture pieces like hutches in favor of tall narrow elements
  • Omit oversized islands and peninsulas that cramp the workspace
  • Avoid wide sinks, fridges, and ranges when vertical options exist

Seek Out Hidden Spots

  • Use awkward narrow spaces for vertical storage installations
  • Add open corner shelving to utilize wasted space
  • Install vertically oriented storage in under-stair spaces

With some savvy space planning, you can transform a mini kitchen into a storage superstar!

Q&A About Vertical Kitchen Storage Trends

Here are answers to some frequently asked questions about the latest vertical kitchen storage trends:

Q: Is the vertical kitchen trend just a passing fad or is it here to stay?

A: The trend toward maximizing vertical storage space has been growing over the past decade and shows no signs of slowing down. With kitchens continuing to shrink in average size, the need to make the most of every inch of height will only increase. The versatility and functionality of vertical storage ensure that it is much more than a passing fad.

Q: Do vertical kitchens limit accessibility for children and shorter adults?

A: Thoughtful design can make a vertical kitchen highly functional for users of any height. Options like pull-out shelves, rolling ladders, and electrical lifts allow adjustable access. Open shelving and glass-front upper cabinets also provide easy visibility and access without climbing and reaching.

Q: Are vertical kitchens more expensive to design and install?

A: Incorporating custom floor-to-ceiling elements and tall storage units will incur some additional costs compared to standard height kitchen components. However, the long-term value derived from all the extra storage capacity will outweigh any upfront investment.

Q: How difficult is it to clean and maintain vertical kitchen storage spaces?

A: No harder than a standard kitchen layout. Just take care to install storage at heights that can be comfortably accessed. Include pull-out shelves and drawers as needed. Utilize step stools or ladders. And allow ample task lighting for easy visibility. With good planning, cleaning vertical spaces is very manageable.

Q: How do I add more vertical storage to my existing kitchen?

A: Even without a full remodel, there are DIY ways to incorporate more vertical storage. For example, you can add floating wall-mounted shelves, install extra-tall upper cabinets, convert a pantry closet to floor-to-ceiling, or use racks and poles to hang frequently used items. Get creative!

The Bottom Line

Kitchens today demand storage that maximizes every inch, from floor to ceiling. The vertical storage trend delivers style and functionality by making smart use of all the vertical space available. This stand-out design approach ensures kitchens are organized, accessible, and on-trend. Go vertical for a kitchen layout poised for a moment in the spotlight now and into the future.