What to do with this space?

Hey Hometalkers! I need some advice. In my rental apartment I have a space between the cabinets. It's about 11 inches wide and 3 feet tall. Right now there are hooks on there (from the previous renter) where I hang my oven mitts, but I really want to use it for storing kitchen items, perhaps freeing up some needed counter space. Any ideas on what to do? Reminder, this is a rental, so I can't nail holes in the cabinets or wall. Thanks for your help!
q what to do with this space
  34 answers
  • Judy Judy on Jan 23, 2017
    I would place plastic milk cases there, and see what items I put there, for storage. If pots, pans, or out of season items are put there, then I would use this for that subject. Or, you may want to place seasoning in this area. You can try diff items in this area, and see what you use in the area, the most. Just your idea, ok? You can place the cases 3-4 high, and place a tag on each case, so you know what will be used in that case. You can also get this in diff. colors, too.

  • William William on Jan 23, 2017
    You could make or purchase a shelving unit to slip in the space. Some nice decorated/painted baskets or boxes on the shelves.

  • Carol Carol on Jan 23, 2017
    a wad of Christmas lights?

  • Janet Pizaro Janet Pizaro on Jan 23, 2017
    I would buy a shelving unit for that space. Bed bath and beyond and Home Depot sells ones made out of chrome.

  • Cori Widen Cori Widen on Jan 24, 2017
    Build mini shelves with wood and put something decorative there!

  • Hillela G. Hillela G. on Jan 24, 2017
    You can buy an inexpensive plastic unit, but upgrade it with a fancy new look so that its mobile but adds "Wow" to your space. You can decoupage, spray paint, chalkboard paint, embellish.

  • Jcraw Jcraw on Jan 24, 2017
    That narrow is a difficult size. If you can't find anything stackable, consider canvas hanging shoe/sweater storage (the kind that hangs over the rod in your closet). Hang it by laying a 36" flat iron bar (Home Depot) approximately 1/2"wide, on top of your cabinets. Glue that, or use duct tape to secure up there where no one can see. Strengthen droop of shelves with cut-to-fit strong cardboard. You can fill with small pots, plastic shoe boxes for spices, paper towels or napkins, etc.

  • Porland1624 Porland1624 on Jan 24, 2017
    Do a bookcase

  • Barbara Grech Bhachu Barbara Grech Bhachu on Jan 24, 2017
    store you favorite cookbooks on a bookcase and you can also use the bookcase to place kithen items you use regularly

  • Sharon Tircuit Franklin Sharon Tircuit Franklin on Jan 24, 2017
    You can put nails in the wall...fill them up with toothpaste when you leave. Depending on your cabinet space, I would hang my pots and pans and measuring cups or kitchen utensils like spatula.

    • See 1 previous
    • OhSally OhSally on Jan 26, 2017
      As a landlord, I ask that you PLEASE not fill nail holes with toothpaste! Spackle is made for that purpose, can be purchased at any home improvement store, is inexpensive, takes no more time than using toothpaste, and doesn't draw bugs. Toothpaste shrinks when it dries, leaving a poorly-disguised hole. spackle doesn't. Why not be kind when you move out and use the proper "tool" to fill in hail holes to prevent problems for your landlord and the next renter?

  • Hobie Hobie on Jan 24, 2017
    Close the bottom. Great for holding cutting boards!

  • Pam Pam on Jan 24, 2017
    Red is my kitchen accent color- I have a small kitchen fire extinguisher that would fit nicely in that spot.

  • Dawn Dillingham Dawn Dillingham on Jan 24, 2017
    Tension rods. Use two and place a small shelf for cookbooks or do several rods with S hooks for coffee cups.

  • Janet Pizaro Janet Pizaro on Jan 24, 2017

  • Mum Vickery Mum Vickery on Jan 24, 2017
    I agree with the tension rods and make a pretty area by hanging your nicest teatowels, tablecloths, napkins - whatever - over them.

  • Reblcant Reblcant on Jan 25, 2017
    Could use the clear command hooks. Hang coffee mugs, Previous suggestion using The small tension rod idea is good too.

    Command hooks inside cabinets work well to hang measuring cups, small items Too

    • OhSally OhSally on Jan 26, 2017
      I've painted Command hooks so they "disappear" when placed on a painted wall and don't stand out like they do when they're white. I like the idea of a tension rod, but the space is pretty small and you might not be able to find a short enough one. I know I saw some spring-tension shelves somewhere online (but can't find them now). I think the ones I saw were designed to store spices, so might be short enough to fit your 11 inches. You might look for some and store lighter-weight (perhaps decorative) items on them.

      Are you a do-it-yourselfer? You might build (or have someone build for you) a tower-style cabinet that sits on your countertop and slides into the space. You'd have storage from countertop to ceiling that way.

      If you just want the space to look prettier or more finished, you might consider "gluing" fabric to that space with liquid starch. Here's a link to explain how to do it: http://vintagerevivals.com/2014/09/diy-temporary-fabric-wallpaper

      As a military wife, I used this technique in at least 10 rentals. It held up well to steam on the wall over my kitchen stove as well as in bathrooms. When we were moving, I just peeled it off starting at one corner. I even resused the fabric again at the next house. A simple wipe down with warm water, and there's no residue left behind. You might use the same fabric as your kitchen curtains so it coordinates with the rest of the room.

  • Ger18079358 Ger18079358 on Jan 26, 2017
    Tension rods and S hooks is the best idea you can even hang your pots and pans freeing up cupboard space for other stuff

  • Sharon Sharon on Jan 26, 2017
    If there is space at the top, you could "hang" a shelf unit there. Put rods through it that can rest on top of the cabinets, then you have shelves, no holes in walls. But you may need to put holes in the shelf unit. Or, if you can find one, they make pieces that hang in a closet. they have 2 hooks at the top to go over the rod. Turn the hooks, if there is a lip at the top for them to hook over.

  • Mum Vickery Mum Vickery on Jan 27, 2017
    OhSally's idea of pasted fabric which is easily removable when required, leads me to another thought. Paste the fabric top to bottom on all 3 sides: wall and cupboards, but could you sew "pockets" into the fabric on the 2 cupboard sides, and insert lightweight rods (think roman blinds) to create "shelf rests" for styrofoam or similar to hold measuring cups, measuring spoons ... or am I totally bonkers?

    (Don't answer that last bit.)

    Any weight would be taken by the glued fabric ?

    • See 1 previous
    • Linda Linda on Feb 12, 2017
      You can use liquid starch to glue fabric to a wall. Soak fabric in the liquid starch, while
      the fabric is still wet place the fabric on the wall. Let the fabric dry. When you want to take the fabric down just start with a corner and pull. Wash the wall after pulling the fabric down. You must sew the pockets on the fabric before putting fabric on the wall.

  • Seth Seth on Jan 27, 2017
    As a middle school teacher, I have seen some really clever storage ideas made for lockers. You might want to look into something like flexible shelves that hang from the top and could hold cookbooks or utensils.

  • Sal3170064 Sal3170064 on Jan 29, 2017
    spacIs there a gap inbetween the top of the units and the ceiling?
    If there is you could wedge a piece of wood in the space above. If the cupboards are recessed In the top measure the depth space and cut a piece of wood to fit. Then screw on a cooling rack between each cupboard. Then use butchers hooks to hang saucepans and kitchen tools on. The weight of the tools will be enough to keep the wood in place.
    If the cupboards aren't recessed then use a longer piece of wood then screw on the rack upside down, wedged between the cupboards. You could spray rack in any colour you want.

  • Sal3170064 Sal3170064 on Jan 29, 2017
    Sorry about spelling , I meant to say see if there is space inbetween the top of the cupboards and ceiling

  • Joanne Joanne on Jan 29, 2017
    I like Sally's idea.. with the board on top if possible and hang off your own board. or you might be able to use the heavy command hooks and use a shower caddy . Looks like there are hooks already in place, hang a wire basket on heavy command stick ups could also hold small cookbooks .

  • Mum Vickery Mum Vickery on Jan 30, 2017
    Just one question - have you approached the landlord about this? He/she might have some ideas and/or allow you to implement your own ideas?

    • See 1 previous
    • Mum Vickery Mum Vickery on Feb 12, 2017
      I agree.
      Many landlords are accommodating - after all, approved improvements can add value.

      Many are even approachable (LOL!) so why try to solve a problem if you don't know it exists?

  • Teresa Teresa on Jan 31, 2017
    I used some small places to put up pot holder a magnetic knife holder and a spoons made into cup hooks to hang up cups. You could put up a sign at the top and add 2 or 3 small shelf's to make it a coffee an tea station with the coffee and tea supplies on the shelf's. Small shelf's with cup hooks below to hang cups that will add storage and useful space out of an odd space. Hope this helps Teresa

  • Lindcurt Lindcurt on Feb 11, 2017
    I have seen shelves that are made to fit in school lockers. Usually they are sold in the summer time when school supplies get put out. Surely you could find some where on the internet. I think they work similar to a tension rod. Just a thought. Don't know if they will work in this space.

  • Teresa Diane Camp Teresa Diane Camp on Feb 12, 2017
    have you asked the land lord if you can have some shelves cut paint them white glue them in or small shelf brackets if you make them and leave them when you move ? Cut the wood rod a hair shorter than you need .You can glue a dot of felt on the ends wedge it in use s hooks and hang 2 baskets on lower hang your pot holders on the s hooks . It would all come down easy when you move !

  • Mum Vickery Mum Vickery on Feb 12, 2017
    One comment I would make is that I believe your shelves (or whatever) can't be too deep. You can see how that would "block in" that area. Or have deeper, higher shelves, but leave the lower area open for the same reason. Not having seen it in person, this is just what strikes me from the picture. : )

  • JEWEL C JEWEL C on Feb 15, 2017
    Looks like a good parking place for a wheeled cart. I have the chrome type but you could use a wooden one painted to match the cabinate.

  • Martha Martha on Feb 26, 2017
    I recently saw a spice shelf made inside a cabinet. The maker cut boards to make uprights, stuck them to the inside of the cabinet with glue, then set the shelf on them. You could make the shelves temporary by sticking the uprights to the walls with double-sided foam tape or mounting squares, then set the shelves on them. More uprights on top of the first shelf, then another shelf, etc. When you move, scrape off the tape and touch up the paint.

  • Rosemary Withers Rosemary Withers on Mar 02, 2017
    I would measure your space and see if a small bookcase would slide in there just add castirs to the bottom. Maybe you know someone who could adjust it for you. Its a great storage item and if you move you can take it with you.

  • Joan Joan on Mar 02, 2017
    Use a 1x6 or 1x8 that spans the opening across the top of the cabinets. Then build a simple upright box with 2 or 3 shelves inside. This will fit within the opening exactly. Screw it to the top board. Paint it white to match your cabinets or you could paper the back. Just it slip into the space. Wish I could draw a picture but hope it is clear enough.

  • Mary Boger Mary Boger on Mar 24, 2017
    Hanging baskets, like the kind that might be used for fruit?

  • Institches Institches on Mar 26, 2017
    I have a nifty little storage cart (not very wide....inches, I'd guess). That I got at either Lowes, Home Depot orTarget. It's very hand in the laundry as well between the washer and dryer, holding soap, dryer sheets, yard shoes on bottom shelf. VERY HANDY. ITS SO OLD I REALLY NEED TO PAINT AS ALL OF THE PLASTIC COATING HAS PEELED OFF THRU THE YEARS. CHECK IT OUT. ID SAY ITS ABOUT 10-12 inches wide with a bandleader to push/pull.