Vertical or drawer storage for pans, pics inside - help me choose

October 10, 2010

Good morning all :)

I've been perusing the kitchen forum for months now getting ideas together for our new build this Spring. I really want vertical storage for cookie sheets, pans, etc.

Here are some samples I've culled from you all:

Don't know whose this is but I really love this one:

One from Buehl which is the short horizontal shelf underneath:

This is from sabjimata - I really like the drawer idea, too:

I initially planned to have this storage above my fridge. I'm tall so there is no problem. But, I will also have lots of drawers. One advantage I see with the drawers is you can store multiples items in the same space whereas the up-high I couldn't do that. But, the area above the fridge is a great use of space & I can always store the small items elsewhere. Hmmm, maybe I can do a mix of both?

If you have examples of yours - I'd sure like to see...thanks! :)

Comments (31)

  • rhome410

    No offense to Sabmimata meant at all, but I don't think I'd like the drawer for this purpose. For one thing, it'd have to be so deep, and I wouldn't want my glass/ceramics on their sides leaning against each other. I do, however, love the 2nd photo, which I haven't seen before. I did closely spaced horizontal shelves in a big cabinet like that for my larger roasting/baking pans, while I have a smaller vertical storage for the lighter weight and smaller baking sheets. I ended up stacking pie plates and round cake pans in a drawer.

    I'm not tall, so I wouldn't put vertical storage above the oven, but will that only work for lightweight metal pans, even for a tall person? I'd worry about the awkwardness and weight of having glass baking pans up there, so you might have to do something different for those anyway?

    I don't think I'm being of any help...Just rambling! ;-)

  • melaska

    Thanks Rhome...I like rambling - that's where great ideas are born :) Ramble away since you have my favorite GW kitchen! I thank you, again, for helping me with my kitchen layout design.

    I see what you mean about the glass leaning against each other. I don't think I'd put glass in the upper cabinet - just metal, etc. I don't have that many glass baking dishes...right now - they are in the china hutch.

    I prefer metal for baking/roasting. I do have glass pie plates but I don't make pies anymore so they will go in the lesser-used storage.

    I also will have a skinny lower cabinet next to the stove so maybe I can have vertical storage there, too.


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  • Buehl

    To me, drawer space is premium storage, so I store my most-used items in them. It's also storage for small and heavy items.

    The space above the refrigerator and, to a lesser extent above the ovens, is storage that's more difficult to reach and pretty useless for small items. I decided to put my trays above the ovens b/c I thought it was the best use of space that's often unreachable. By putting cookie sheets, cooling racks, muffin tins, etc. in this location, I utilize that entire cabinet (width, depth, height) and I utilize it in such a way that it's easy to get to everything there. The added advantage of this location is that these items are stored at their "point of use"...the oven or things coming out of the oven.

    The shelf below the trays/sheets isn't all that high (for us) so storing platters & the griddle there isn't a problem.

    Both of these types of items are stored in such a way that they utilize the full depth of these cabinets...and those items are all reachable from the front w/o a stool and w/o moving things from the front to get to the back. (I cannot say the same for over the refrigerator, though! But that's OK, it's the only cabinet that way and I store all things used frequently in the front.)

    We are also tall, but my 5'6" or so mother can reach everything in that cabinet.

    As for glass dishes, RHome410 is right, notice I don't store anything particularly heavy in the tray storage area, including my pizza stones. There is the danger of dropping something and if it's from above, I didn't want to endanger anyone's head! (There's a huge "concussion awareness" program around here right DD had to pass a concussion test to play JV Volleyball!)

    My glass pans are in drawers...under the ovens and next to the ovens. The smaller ones that I use in the MW are in the "Cooking Zone" next to the MW.

    My pizza stones are under my corner prep sink, utilizing one of those deep corners (cutting boards in the other corner). Again, good use of a space that's often unusable.

    In our case, the refrigerator cabinet is only 15" tall, so it wouldn't work as well for tray I store all our pitchers as well as napkin holders and trivets there (it's next to the DR); oh, and some of the containers I use for Christmas cookies as well (waaaaaay in the back!)


  • Buehl're probably not receiving emails of follow-up postings, even though you checked the box requesting them. This is b/c you don't have the email option turned on in your profile. See the "Read Me" thread (linked in my previous post) for more information. Scroll down to the post with the subject "Getting Emails Sent To You...3-step Process".

  • Buehl

    Sorry Melaska, wrong thread! (You do have your email turned on!)

  • melaska


    Thanks for all your great info (& for letting me know about the email thing when you thought it wasn't turned on - appreciate it).

    I'm 5'7" so I will most likely do what you did. Where do you have the storage in the above pic? I thought it was above your fridge.

    I'm a big fan of 'point of use' storage so I will definitely do that with my cooking/baking dishes. I'm also a big fan of priority storage. If I don't use but 1 out of a set, I don't store them together. I like to call it ABC or 123 storage. A's (most-oft used) go into A spaces (easy to reach, etc.) and in their 'zone' & so on.

    I hear you on the stuff dropping on your head - I had that happen to me years ago & it wasn't a pretty sight!

    Thanks for all your input :)

  • dianalo

    I love the drawer storage idea but worry about how to clean that out (once in a while). Do everyone's drawers come out all the way like a dresser? I am just thinking that I do not even know if mine do, lol....

  • melaska


    Thanks for all your great info (& for letting me know about the email thing when you thought it wasn't turned on - appreciate it).

    I'm 5'7" so I will most likely do what you did. Where do you have the storage in the above pic? I thought it was above your fridge.

    I'm a big fan of 'point of use' storage so I will definitely do that with my cooking/baking dishes. I'm also a big fan of priority storage. If I don't use but 1 out of a set, I don't store them together. I like to call it ABC or 123 storage. A's (most-oft used) go into A spaces (easy to reach, etc.) and in their 'zone' & so on.

    I hear you on the stuff dropping on your head - I had that happen to me years ago & it wasn't a pretty sight!

    PS: Why do I have to change the subject title in order to post my reply? It only does that sometime? It says my message is rejected.

    Thanks for all your input :)

  • Buehl

    My tray storage is over my double's lower than the refrigerator cabinet and taller. If I didn't have the oven cabinet, I would have done it over the refrigerator.

  • melaska

    Is your kitchen in the FKB blog? I'll have to look for it.

    How high is it to where the tray storage starts? How tall is that cabinet? My fridge is a hair less than 70".

    Thanks for posting your picture.

  • missmuffet

    I think I have the same question as melaska. How tall does the cabinet over the fridge need to be in order to store trays? I am limited with height, and I believe my fridge is also about 70 inches tall.

  • woodworkguy

    This is my first post so figured I'd jump in on the discussion. Ive been a professional woodworker for most of my life but still learning things,so I like the current ideas I see posted here and also the insight into what people are looking for..especially thosethat actually use the spaces and appreciate how they make their lives easier.

    I'm tall so high up isnt an issue for me and I look to cook fast so convience and access are key.

    Ok..heres my take.
    Put the heavy stuff below where you can easily reach it and it wont fall so far. I prefer big deep and wide drawers for pots, pans,pizza stones, glass cookware etc. I like to leave it open so you can stack things and rearrange as needs arise. I still put my dishes and glasses in upper wall cabinets as I feel they are easier to access with no bending and closer to eye level and fairly light. I use those dish stacking removal racks for dishes I use for guest get togethers as I can take out the whole stack at once. I keep those in those big deep drawers as well. I suggest that these type drawers have min 150lb rated slides that are self soft closing so you can bump them closed, make sure the drawers have thick bottoms to prevent warping.Full extension slides is a must.
    The Tray dividers you show pictures of are great for those lighter things like cookie sheets etc. and can be in upper or lower. The second picture shows a wire divider attached to a shelve for this purpose. It looks like the shelve is sagging fron the weight and its not the proper shelving material to support the weight(should be min 3/4" quality ply or 1" if over 36" width).
    The first picture is a good arrangement and I suggest that the divider unit be built seperate and removable in case your needs change. It could even be split so part of it allows for taller trays and pans as well.

    I promise to send some pictures soon.

    Some great advise on this thread so far.

  • melaska


    Thanks for your input - always good to hear from the people who actually build cabinets. The removable unit sounds like a great idea.

  • pudgybaby

    I store my flat pans, cutting boards, and trays over my counter depth fridge, in a 24" deep cabinet and it works great, but I don't have the shelf like buehl does. I am 5' 6" and I can reach my pans and cutting boards without any trouble. The bottom of my cabinet is at a height of 73".

    I mentioned the counter depth fridge because if the fridge was deeper and stuck out, I would have to reach over it, and I don't know if I could get to the pans easily.

  • rhome410

    I do, however, love the 2nd photo, which I haven't seen before. I did closely spaced horizontal shelves in a big cabinet like that for my larger roasting/baking pans,

    Ha! I can't even count to 1. I meant I hadn't seen the first picture you showed...the 2-level vertical storage. My dh did a one-level storage unit that was similar for my tray storage. We didn't necessarily design it so that it is removable, but it ended up that way, since I didn't plan it ahead and we added it later. ;-) I actually hadn't thought about taking it out to clean. Probably not a huge issue since only clean stuff goes in, but every once in awhile, it could be nice to have that option.

  • sabjimata

    Regarding my drawer:

    That was the only vertical storage offered by Schuler that wasn't over the fridge. I was a bit weary about the drawer--why couldn't it be a cabinet--but that was the only option.

    When it came time to put away my stuff, I was not pleased that my cookie sheets, cast iron skillet, muffin tins etc did not fit. DID NOT FIT! My whole intention of use for this space was for items such as those.

    So...making the best out of a bad bargain, I found stuff that fit. It works out really well and I like it but I agree with Rhome. If I knew the stuff I wanted to put there was not going to fit, I would have just had our carpenter build dividers under our sink for trays, etc.

    Whatever you get, make sure what you want to store fits there....especially if it is stock or semi-custom line.

    BTW, I had the tray dividers under my sink in our last remodel and that worked out great. Terrific use of an awkward space. Our sink was custom so I was able to have the drain hole/plumbing out of the way as per my specifications.

  • Buehl

    The bottom of the tray cabinet is 70" off the floor. Our refrigerator cabinet, OTOH, is 75" off the floor. So it appears my oven cabinet is around the same height as your refrigerator cabinets. The 70" height works very well!

    Second picture: Actually, it's not sagging, I thought so too at first when I saw the picture but when I went back and checked it, it doesn't look like that IRL. I don't know why it looks like that in the pic. If it ever does sag, I'll just turn it over. The shelf, btw, is 3/4" plywood. Oh, and the "wire dividers" are not attached to the shelf...they're just sitting there; the weight of the items holds them in place.

    For me, the first picture would be a waste of valuable space while an over the ovens (or refrigerator) cabinet is made more useful when utilized this way (as I described in a previous post). However, YMMV.

  • melaska

    Thanks, buehl...nice to know yours measure 70" as well...looks like that's what I'll be using :) What is the height of the horizontal space underneath the vertical storage? How high is your vertical storage alone?

    Your 'sagging' shelf must be an optical wouldn't seem to sag with what you have on it. Saw something interesting the other day - can't remember where but I thought it was interesting. I'll link below.

    Thanks for all your help! :)

    Here is a link that might be useful: 'Sagulator'

  • Buehl

    I forgot about "The Sagulator"! Just calculated it for my tray storage and it's more than OK...came out at 0.002"/foot; goal is 0.020"/foot or less.

    The platter/griddle area is 4-1/4" high and my trays start 5" up from the floor of the cabinet, so 75" from the kitchen floor. The shelf is 3/4" so it's 4-1/4" + 3/4" = 5" to the top of the shelf and the height the tray dividers start...does that make sense?

  • melaska

    Thanks, buehl...yes, that makes sense (I think LOL) I may not be able to have the horizontal space since I'd like my tray storage to start at 70".

    Glad your shelf passed the 'Sagulator' test! :)

  • bmorepanic

    I think the minimum height of something like that depends on whether you have restaurant half sheet pans or other oversized pans. I'm an indifferent baker - I use typical home sized pans and baking sheets.

    I have a 24" tall cabinet laid out much like buelh's, from whom I stole the idea. Mine is 30" wide, 24" deep and over the ref. I have a small ref and can reach the pans in the dividers without a problem. The tall area is 15" and the shorter one is 6.5".

    I put in wire tray holders from ikea. Short things fall right through and that's annoying. I'll redo it with solid wood ones sometime after we're actually "done". I'm now thinking about how to make them removable for cleaning.

    I have a few of the same dividers mounted in the prep sink base for sink attachments and a couple of loose cutting boards and that works well.

  • attygirl

    I have been using my new kitchen for 2 weeks now and I have to say that one of my most favorite cabinets is the vertical tray storage cabinet over my double ovens. Mine is 24 x 30 wide with three vertical dividers. It stores all my cookie sheets my flat griddle, pizza stone and baking pans. I am 5 ft 2 and have no problem reaching any of the pans. Vertical does work best for these types of items. I would never consider placing them flat in a drawer, and yes, drawer space is at a premium. Wish I had planned more drawers in my space.

  • friedajune

    I agree with Rhome's post above. I wouldn't want to use a drawer for vertical storage, and I also wouldn't want ceramics and glass on their sides. My vertical storage was more serendipitous. In laying out my cabinets, there was a 9" space left over next to the fridge, no matter how we re-arranged. That became base-cabinet vertical storage for my cookie sheets and roasting pans. There is one divider in it, and I can keep long items in it like half-sheet pans. Things like square bakers, my Emile Henry ceramic lasagna pan, muffin tins, pie plates and the like are stored horizontally in other cabinets and drawers. Because the vertical storage is in the base cabinet, it is easy to see and easy to reach. I really like it. I would have had to re-arrange my entire layout if I couldn't have found a use for those 9", and it all worked out great.

    Many people mention using above-the-fridge space for vertical storage. For me, I wanted to take advantage of that 24" deep and tall space (I have 9' ceiling and cabinets go up to the ceiling). I didn't think vertical storage there would work for me--I don't have many cookie sheets and roasting pans. Instead, the cabinets above the fridge house my huge 14" saute pan with handle that won't fit anywhere else, my electric griddle, paper towels, and large serving platters. As to the height, I am fairly short, and need a stepstool for above-the-fridge, so I don't want things there that I am pulling out all the time. HTH.

  • melaska

    Thanks for all your input everyone! This has really helped me decide.

    I re-organized dd's kitchen when I visited a few months back. I love organizing other people's things so why can't I apply that to my stuff?

    Anyway, she said her favorite new thing are the wired vertical storage units I put in her cavernous pantry. It was a total mess before, getting to anything took an Act of Congress & it made cooking/baking a real chore. And she does a lot of each.

    Thanks! :)

  • kevinw1

    This is a thread I need to bookmark for later when I get to the cabinet over the fridge! I plan to have vertical storage there for all the cookie sheets, trays, and especially cooling racks which get tangled up in each other when stored flat in a stack. I just did a reach test and as I'm only 5'3", I wouldn't be able to reach the vertical storage if there was a shelf underneath, useful though that looks.

    Later, though. For now, back to the pantry.

    Here is a link that might be useful: The tool pantry becomes a food pantry - soon!

  • melaska

    kevinw1 - how exciting to get a pantry! I went to your blog - great pics. Oh, & I also love Willow Decor's pantry/'s SO beautiful & functional! I first found it on if I remember right. I'm linking it below so others can see it. Looking forward to seeing your transformation :)

    Here is a link that might be useful: Willow Decor's pantry/study

  • Buehl

    I've seen this person's blog before and every time I've asked myself, "why would you want your office in the pantry?" Ditto for rolling dough.

    I like having our "office" surrounded by books not by dishes & food! When I'm rolling dough, I like to be out in the open and around other people, not isolated from others. Yes, she has a MW & water machine in there, but that doesn't make it it open and part of the rest of the kitchen and family. I wonder how many people can realistically work in there at one time...

  • time4tea

    The posts here are really helpful. I'm almost finished with my remodel and I'm going to be moving things back in soon. Really appreciate all the tips! I'll start a new thread about general kitchen storage and organization...looking for more great ideas.

  • plllog

    Another vertical pan storage picture to look up is Gizmonike's. She has her skillets filed on their ends in a drawer. It looks really easy to just grab the desired one. I think it probably doesn't make as efficient a use of the actual volume as a regular drawer would, but for the width of the drawer, location by the stove, and use for pans, It probably holds a lot more than if they had to be stacked. I wouldn't do it with my cast iron, but it looked great for lighter pans.

    Like Rhome, I don't like my glass and ceramic baking dishes on their sides, but I do have vertical storage for large serving platters, which is actually safer for them than stacked flat.

    Don't forget horizontal storage! I copied my mother's horizontal tray cabinet. It's two doors wide and has many shallow thin shelves that can pull out if needed. This is great storage for things like cookie sheets and shallow baking pans, and anything fairly flat.

  • melaska

    Here is Gizmonike's skillet storage - great idea. Gizmonike - do you have your kitchen plan on here? I couldn't find it if you do. Thanks! :)

    plllog - I like your horizontal storage idea as well.

    Here is a link that might be useful: Pics of Gizmonike's kitchen

  • TxMarti

    Buehl, what do you keep in the drawer under your ovens?

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