Ideas to maximise storage in an IKEA galley kitchen

Melissa wants your ideas for her IKEA galley kitchen with no uppers.

My husband and I are buying a little house with a lovely kitchen that was designed by people who probably don’t cook a lot and don’t have a lot of cooking equipment, supplies, serving pieces, spices, dishes, glassware, like we do. 

It is a narrow galley kitchen with raised base kitchen cabinets and no wall cabinets. The sellers say the cabinets are IKEA, but are no longer being made.

We would welcome your ideas or hacks for our galley kitchen.

1. Use the space underneath the cabinets for pull out or other storage, and

2. Add some cabinets and shelving to the walls in a way that would work with the existing cabinets, but not look cluttered.  

3. Also wondering if you recognize which IKEA cabinets these are. The hardware is not IKEA. 

We are not averse to painting the cabinets already there to work with new arrivals, but are worried that it might not look so nice.

On another note, we have nice pottery, dishes, cookbooks that we could put on shelves, but in general, we prefer not to expose utensils, pans, jars, bottles, electronics, etc.  

We prefer that stuff to be out of sight. Alas, there is no pantry or closet.  

We know we need to add more open and closed storage, but still want to keep a sense of simplicity and space and keep surface areas as clear as possible for cooking, which we do a lot of.

Thanks for considering our little problem.


IKEA Galley kitchen storage ideas

Hi Melissa

Congratulations on the new home. It is a lovely kitchen and I believe it is a METOD or SEKTION kitchen. Some years ago IKEA offered these metal legs to raise the 60cm high wall cabinets to counter height, turning them into base cabinets.

I know because I was tempted to get them too when I was installing my IKEA kitchen for the same reason – a lighter profile. But in the end I opted for regular base cabinets because I needed storage and more storage.

The stainless steel legs are called LIMHAMN and are 15 mm wide, 35 cm deep and 28 cm high. IKEA no longer sells them in most markets.

As for the doors, they look like HYTTAN doors with a solid oak frame and rough-cut oak veneer panel. The matte finish brings out the grain and texture of wood. Personally, I love the finish and I’ll keep the doors as they are.  

Using the space beneath kitchen cabinets

First things first. Decide how you want to use each space. This will help you determine the type of storage to get. Storing electricals will need a different type of box compared to potatoes.

Organize with crates and bins

Let’s start with the easiest options, which I’m sure you’ve already thought of: baskets and bins that slot right in. They are perfect for keeping produce and “stuff” in general out of sight. Measure the width, height and depth of the each space beneath the cabinets and go shopping.

The smaller DRÖNA box (25x35x25 cm) should fit under there. The versatile fabric box is a quick and cheap way to get all the slots filled out.

The KNAGGLIG crates are a natural choice if you wish to blend with the wood finish. The bamboo UPPDATERA storage box is a beautiful alternative with cleaner lines.

An easy hack is to add stick-on casters under the crates to make it easier to pull out and push in. And labels on the front to help keep things sorted.

IKEA boxes, baskets, crates for storage

Keep it simple with clip on baskets

Hang the OBSERVATÖR clip-on basket off the bottom panel and you’ll be able to use the void beneath for storing small jars, wash cloths and other smaller items. You may be able to squeeze in 2 baskets below one cabinet. This one from Amazon works like a pull-out drawer so much easier to access the contents.

Add an under drawer cabinet

The IVAR has a small drawer that you can install under the cabinet. Quick and easy way to add some closed storage. But it’s small and may be limited in its usefulness.

Or hack an drawer on wheels like the MALM underbed storage. Just off the cuff, you could take a MAXIMERA drawer (measure the size of the drawer against the width between the metal legs). Add a plywood base underneath, then attach a few casters to create a pull-out drawer.

MALM underbed storage drawer

If you’re up for some DIY, you can build a drawer to fit under the cabinet. Family Handyman has a fantastic guide on how to construct an under cabinet drawer. The HYTTAN drawer front is no longer available so I would suggest not trying to match. Perhaps go for a black KUNGSBACKA to play off the black countertop?

Maximising wall storage in the IKEA galley kitchen

As you noted, the kitchen didn’t have any wall cabinets, which helped create the light, airy feel of the kitchen. Since we want to maintain this vibe, I suggest having some open shelving.

I had fun with the IKEA kitchen planner and came up with some ideas for you, Melissa.

To increase storage, the first thing I’ll remove is the hanging shelf. It looks great (live edge!) but offers very little functional use.

Pick up the IKEA ENHET for open shelving and display all your beautiful pottery, cookbooks and regularly used dishes. It also comes in black and closed cabinet options. You can do 3 in a row or break it with a KUNGSFORS system which I find useful with a dish drainer dishes and rail for hanging cleaning supplies, plants, etc.

IKEA Galley Kitchen ideas for wall storage

Slim row of upper cabinets

On the other wall, you can add a row of horizontal cabinets spanning the length of the base cabinets. Pick glass doors to maintain the feeling of lightness or solid doors if you want to hide the clutter. (You can reuse the live edge shelf under the horizontal wall cabinets on this wall. Or not.) You can very well use taller upper cabinets but visually, they might look heavy when combined with the bulk of the hood.

Another option, since you do not have a pantry, is to sit a wall cabinet with doors and drawers onto the base cabinet. I think the additional storage will be very useful and does not add too much bulk to the overall layout.

IKEA Galley Kitchen ideas for wall storage

I do find the surround for the hood rather large and imposing. If there’s anything I’ll paint, it would probably be this. Perhaps go for a similar shade as the wall to blend it in? Or remove the surround entirely if that’s possible and go for a more streamlined hood.

IKEA Galley Kitchen - kitchen planner rendition

Add a menu board and artwork to liven things up. As for the tiles, consider a cleaner design like this long hexagon design.

Ideas to maximise kitchen storage

That’s it for now. Hope you found these ideas helpful for your galley kitchen makeover.

Other thoughts and ideas welcome. Drop them in the comments below.

Happy hacking,