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A spice rack, much like a knife block or fruit bowl, is a luxury often associated with large kitchens, where free countertop and cabinet space is in abundance. Achieving the same level of organization in cramped quarters requires some outside-the-box thinking (and a few smart purchases). Read on for six creative—and totally re-creatable—spice rack ideas for small kitchens. The one rule: Whatever you do, get that thing off the counter.  

Show Off Your Collection

Photography by Taylor Kitto

In a small kitchen, everything is within arm’s reach. If your coriander and sesame seeds are no exception, make them part of the decor. Taylor Kitto selected this sleek spice rack from Evermill, which can either be placed on a countertop or attached to the wall and includes a set of popular spices cohesively labeled in amber containers (to protect them from sunlight). “I’m always a fan of functional-meets-beautiful design in the kitchen,” says Kitto. 

DIY the Perfect Spice Rack

Photography by Julien Leyssene

After struggling to find a minimalist spice rack that prominently featured his spices but didn’t take up a lot of real estate in his compact Brooklyn apartment, Julien Leyssene turned to his carpentry skills to build one himself. He started with square spice jars, since they have the most efficient footprint, then carved an imprint of the jars into poplar shelves so the bottles would fit snugly. Lastly Leyssene attached some simple steel brackets—and voilà! 

Decant Your Spices

Photography by Andy Nissinboim

Andy Nissinboim blended his two top interests—he’s a science teacher and a passionate home cook—to create a space-saving test tube spice rack. He purchased the glass vessels and wood rack separately, then painted the latter green and installed metal hooks to hang it on his kitchen wall. “It’s a convenient way to grab and use my favorite spices,” explains Nissinboim. “And most of all it’s an eye-catching piece of decor in my kitchenaka laboratory.” 

Put the Back of a Pantry Door to Work

Photography by John Lewis for Hungerford

Repeat after us: “I will use the back of my pantry door for storage,” as John Lewis of Hungerford did in this kitchen. The cabinet’s shelves are set back slightly, allowing a wood spice rack on the door to fit even when the cupboard is closed. If custom isn’t in the cards for you, shop for an over-the-door option that can move with you (and won’t cause damage).

Choose a Floating Acrylic Rack for a Barely There Look

Photography by Jen Woodhouse

DIYer extraordinaire Jen Woodhouse’s spice collection was getting out of control. “They seem to multiply like rabbits in the deep, dark, unorganized pantry,” she jokes. So she brought them into the light with three items: glass spice jars with bamboo lids, beautifully designed spice labels, and acrylic shelves, which almost disappear in her tiny kitchen. 

Dedicate a Drawer

Photography by Jes Lahay for Neat Little Nest

While counter space is scarce in small kitchens, you may be flush with drawers you don’t know what to do with. Devote one to a horizontal spice rack. Here’s an idea from organizer Michele Vig: Line a drawer with the YouCopia spice drawer liner, which you can cut down with scissors so it aligns perfectly. The soft foam keeps the spice labels facing up. From now on you’ll always know which container holds the cumin. 

More kitchen organization ideas:

This Tiny Shelf Is the Superhero of My Kitchen 7 Kitchen Organization Hacks That Make the Most of the Storage You Have 8 Pantry Organization DIY Ideas for Every Storage Struggle