Nov 16, 2023
Add More Storage to a Small Kitchen With a Pot Rail
By Emily Farris All products featured on Epicurious are independently selected
By Emily Farris
All products featured on Epicurious are independently selected by our editors. However, when you buy something through our retail links, we may earn an affiliate commission.
If you need to add a little extra storage to your kitchen but are lost about how exactly you’re going to do it—or if you just feel like one of your walls is a little too bare—start with a simple pot rail. It's practical, versatile, fairly easy to install, and it looks really good too.
Not to be confused with the pot rack—a bigger, heavy-duty piece that's hung from the ceiling or sometimes mounted high on a wall—a pot rail is a single bar that's not unlike what you’d use to hang a towel in the bathroom. But instead of holding just one towel, the bar in your kitchen is meant to hold multiple items using S-shaped hooks.
The best open kitchen storage is practical and stylish, so in an ideal world, your pot rail would be installed where you need it most. For example, if you live in a tiny apartment (or an elderly house like my 107-year-old bungalow) that lacks cabinets or counters on either side of the range, it would make the most sense to add the pot rail to the wall above the stove so you have quick access to your most-used pots, pans, and cooking utensils.
The same goes for adding a pot rail to any kitchen work zone where you’re short on surface area or cabinet storage. You can mount one by the sink, over the counter where you do most of your prep and chopping, or on a wall that feels like a big, empty waste of space. Wherever you decide to put your pot rail, just make sure it's securely installed in studs (or with sturdy anchors if you can't match up the ends with studs).
And if you think you just don't have anywhere to put a pot rail, there's always the kitchen window (a wood window frame is just as sturdy as wall studs).
Unless you’re putting up a pot rail for purely aesthetic reasons (which is totally fine!) consider how it would be most useful to you because just about anything with a handle or loop can be hung from a kitchen rail. In fact, if it's sturdy enough and securely installed on a stud, you can even use your pot rail to hang Dutch ovens and other heavy cast-iron pans.
If your pot rail is mounted near the stove, you might want to hang your most-reached-for frying pan, your favorite spatula or ladle, and an oven mitt. A pot rail by the sink is perfect for holding a colander, a sieve, a kitchen towel, and a rustic wood cutting board.
Once you’ve figured out where your pot rail will be most useful and how much space you have to work with, decide on your setup. Do you want one long bar running the entire length of the wall above your sink (which will look very cool, by the way) or just a short rail to mount by the stove? Maybe you want to install two at different heights.
Next, pick a finish. Save for a few less-durable wood options, pot rails are generally made of metal. Stainless steel is the most practical and industrial way to go, but brass or copper can add warmth to any kitchen, and a matte black bar is timeless and a bit dramatic.
But don't spend too much time thinking about it because a pot rail is much less of a commitment than a pot rack and if you change your mind, it's pretty easy to change your hardware.
Most pot rails come with at least a few S-hooks but if you need more, or want an upgrade, I love this style. They have an inconspicuous clip that ensures the hook doesn't go flying even when you quickly pull a pot, pan, or strainer off of your pot rail.