Padma Lakshmi's century-old storage solution is an expert-approved way to save space in small kitchens

The former Top Chef judge makes the most of her home kitchen space by utilizing a beloved vertical storage method

Padma Lakshmi
(Image credit: Frazer Harrison via Getty Images)

As a former host and judge on the iconic cooking competition show Top Chef, as well as the creator and host of Taste the Nation, Padma Lakshmi has spent a good portion of her life in culinary spaces. Naturally, the cookbook author, TV personality, and model's home kitchen is a sight to behold; expertly decorated and fitted with all the appliances a home chef could dream of.

We are specifically impressed with Lakshmi's storage solutions. In a recent Instagram post, she showed off her red-painted kitchen, and we love her hanging pans – a tried and true way of both storing and showing off a cookware collection. 

It's an aesthetic we've seen in the most historic kitchens over the years (our time spent watching period dramas isn't all for nothing), but this age-old kitchen storage method is a classic for a reason: it's as practical as it is good-looking. 

While hanging pots and pans can be used as a storage method in large kitchens, they are especially useful in small spaces, where shelving is limited.

'In compact kitchens, vertical space is your best friend,' says Matt Ayres, Appliance Expert at RDO Kitchen and Appliances . 'Install shelves or racks on walls to store items like spices, utensils, or small appliances.'

With hanging shelves, placement should be customized based on kitchen logistics – consider what location will be easiest to reach when cooking, while also keeping in mind where will be the least disruptive to daily activity (no one wants to have to duck).

'You can also install hooks or rails underneath cabinets to hang mugs, pots, and pans, freeing up valuable cabinet or counter space,' Ayres explains. 'If you have plenty of open wall space, consider adding a large peg board with hooks to hang your most often-used pans and utensils.'

Vertical storage extends beyond hanging shelves; going high rather than wide strategically maximizes space in even the smallest of kitchens. Ayres recommends keeping this sentiment in mind when designing a kitchen, while also considering what each storage space will house.

'If you’re starting your kitchen design from scratch, installing tall cabinets or pantries that reach the ceiling will maximize storage space,' Ayres states. 'Use the upper shelves for items you don't use frequently or for storing bulkier items like small appliances or serving dishes. Consider installing pull-out shelves or baskets to improve accessibility to items stored in the back.'


Shop the edit

Here we can find everything we need to replicate the look, including stainless steel cookware, which would look perfect hanging in any kitchen.

Hannah Ziegler
News Editor

Hannah is Homes & Gardens’ News Editor, with a focus on celebrity style and entertainment content. She got her start in media as a digital editorial assistant at ELLE Canada, and has since written about lifestyle and culture for publications such as Nylon and i-D.

Her love of film is rivalled only by one with a great soundtrack, and she hopes to someday decorate a Nancy Meyers-worthy kitchen.