Engineer Your “Vertical” Space: tiny kitchen storage idea

DIY, Kitchen, Organization, Storage

Loving to cook and having a tiny kitchen can sometimes seem like 2 things that don’t go together, but there’s ways to make every single cubic inch of that small kitchen work harder for you. Here’s the perfect example – my friend and her boyfriend love to cook and they have an aromatic olive oil collection that rivals most gourmet food stores or restaurants. There wasn’t any space for them in any of the cupboards, so the olive oil bottles ended up staying on top of the small kitchen cart. Not ideal since there is also very little counter space in this kitchen that be better used for something else. The solution? Going vertical!


There was a small narrow wall in the kitchen that didn’t have anything on it and would be perfect to store the olive oil bottles. But to make this work, it would require some DIY’ing to make a custom shelving unit that would fit the narrow wall, and be as thin as possible to not stick out off the wall to much.  Luckily, the olive oil bottles were just a hair under 2.5″ in diameter, so small enough to fit on a 1″x3″. So here’s what I used to make the rack:

  •  1″x3″ cut to length (to clear the thermostat that was right at the edge of the door, I had to make a cut out but other than that all the pieces were the same length to fit the width of the wall.)
  • Screen moulding (for the railing at the front)
  • Outdoor semi-transparent stain (white)

I attached the boards together with screws (I skipped the glue but of course you could add glue at the joints), drilling pilot holes first and then using a speed square to make sure all the boards were at a 90 degree angle. I don’t have any pictures of attaching the boards together but it’s basically the same process as any shelving unit, including this narrow pantry I made.

Once the boards were screwed together, I sanded them and gave them a fresh coat of white outdoor semi-transparent stain. As I was doing this project at my friend’s place, I didn’t have all my tools or supplies and I couldn’t counter sink the screw heads and cover them with wood filler, as I usually do. Instead, I used what I had on hand: some white nail polish. The screws are still visible but now they blend in and I like the more rustic look it gives the shelving unit!

Then the last step was securing the rack to the wall with 2 small brackets (I used small plastic wall anchors for the screws).

Such a small easy project and yet it completely transformed the kitchen and not only made it more functional but also more beautiful.


The olive oil bottles now serve both for cooking and as art. This project truly is a perfect example of what “Engineer Your Space” is all about: taking ownership of where you live, even if you’re renting, and creating a home that is tailored to you and how you live. Here’s to making yourself at home, right here, right now.


  1. I’m so glad your web site is working again!

  2. This is EXACTLY what I need to build in my kitchen. It’s fantastic. Thank you!!!

    • That’s great to hear, and you’re welcome!

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