Free Your Pots & Pans from Cupboard Captivity: Install a Pot Rack

By Donna Boyle Schwartz | Updated Jul 28, 2014 5:32 PM

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Install a Pot Rack - DBSchwartz

Photo: DBSchwartz

Our kitchen needs more cabinets—and more counter space. Indeed, who has a kitchen with enough of these precious amenities? The only friends I know with sufficient cabinet space are tall people who can actually reach all those upper cabinets, or house-dwellers with a “great room” floor plan that boasts vast expanses of wall space devoted to cabinets. The rest of us struggle to make do with the space we have.

Related: 10 New Ways to Store Kitchen Necessities

Combine our lack of space with the fact that we are enthusiastic cooks in our family, and you have the essence of our culinary conundrum. We need our pots and pans readily accessible, because they are subject to heavy use. Having them stacked or stowed in a cupboard is not working. In a curious kitchen corollary to Murphy’s Law, it seems that the specific pan we need is always the one at the very bottom of the stack.

Our solution to this predicament came in the form of a ceiling-mounted pot rack.

Installing the pot rack proved to be a bit more of a challenge than we had anticipated, however. Guided by research and aided by luck, we managed to find a nice, heavy-duty metal rack that complements our anodized aluminum cookware, but the hardware that came with the rack was woefully inadequate and unsuited to the task of hanging our weighty cookware.

Install a Pot Rack - Measuring

Photo: DBSchwartz

A quick trip to the hardware store yielded much more appropriate installation hardware, including four-inch-long stainless steel screw-in wood hooks and two feet of stainless steel chain.

Thus armed, our next task was to locate the ceiling joists. We’d initially assumed that the ceiling joists would be spaced the way wall studs are—every 16 inches, that is. But when we drilled a pilot hole at 16 inches using our narrowest drill bit, all we met was empty space.

Next, we tried 12 inches—alas, more empty space. Scratching our heads, we decided to try using a stud finder, which, although not always 100% accurate, indicated that there was a stud at 11 inches, and bingo, this time our drill bit encountered real wood.

Install a Pot Rack - Complete

Photo: DBSchwartz

From the initial hole at 11 inches, we measured out 16 inches, double-checked the location with the stud finder and once again bit into wood.

We drilled larger pilot holes at each of the four corners of the pot rack, then wrapped our screw-in hooks with a small piece of Teflon tape before screwing them into the ceiling joists.

Once all four hooks were in place, we measured the “drop” we wanted in the pot rack and cut four equal lengths of chain using bolt cutters. After that, we attached the chain to the hooks and to the rack hardware. Then we hung up the empty rack.

Checking the horizontal axis of the rack with a level, we discovered one corner screw needed a couple of turns more to make everything align.

Once we had the rack hung and level, we loaded it up with our pots and pans and rejoiced at having all of our cookware right at our fingertips, literally. Not only does it make life easier, but it also makes a strong statement about our kitchen: “Real” cooking done here!

For more on kitchens, consider:

Small Kitchen Design
Planning Guide: Kitchen Remodeling
5 Upcycled Pot Racks & Cookware Storage Ideas