Julia Child's Kitchen Pegboards Are A Must For Organizing Small Spaces

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The late Julia Child in her home kitchen in Cambridge, Massachusetts, in 1972, with an eye-catching peg board.
Hans Namuth/Photo Researchers History/Getty Images
The late Julia Child in her home kitchen in Cambridge, Massachusetts, in 1972, with an eye-catching peg board.

The late, great Julia Child was known for loving butter, embracing mistakes and making home cooking as enjoyable as possible. While this was often shown through in her encouraging on-air disposition, it was also shown in the physical layout of her kitchen. Child always had everything she needed right on hand — largely because of her giant kitchen pegboard, which housed her pots, pans and every other beloved utensil.

If you’re not a Julia Child stan, you may not know that she is largely credited for popularizing the kitchen pegboard. (The real stans will know it was actually her short king husband, Paul, who came up with it, but I digress.) At 6-foot-2, Child was no stranger to the concept of vertical space. Rather than storing her pots and pans horizontally in a drawer or cabinet, she hung them from the wall vertically, taking advantage of all the wall space she could.

I’ve always loved the look of a kitchen pegboard or those to-die-for Pinterest kitchens with the copper hanging pot racks. I lusted after them for years, wrongfully assuming I’d never have the space to install one in a small, compact city kitchen. After moving into my current studio apartment with a “kitchen” that’s really just a singular wall, I spent months figuring out how to store my cookware. With limited cabinet space and no closets, it seemed impossible to ever find a stress-free solution to organizing my kitchen.

My green pegboard that I use literally every day of my life.
Courtesy of Griffin Wynne
My green pegboard that I use literally every day of my life.

One night, when deep in an internet wormhole, I realized my pegboard dream wasn’t just achievable in my small apartment ― it was going to completely upgrade the way I cook. On Amazon, I found an emerald green, metal kitchen pegboard, tall enough to hold all my pots but thin enough to fit on the small section of wall above my stove. I ordered it immediately, along with an idiot-proof drill, some wall anchors and some extra hanging accessories.

I installed it the day it arrived and instantly hung all my pots, pans and utensils. I was amazed at how nice it made my kitchen look, clearing off surfaces and not making every open place look so cluttered. A few weeks later, I ordered a spice rack holder with a paper towel bar that attaches to my pegboard, clearing even more space from my shelves and window sill. Because it’s right over my stove, it makes it super easy to grab all my spices or to rip off a paper towel to wash my hands after preparing raw meat.

If you’re not super handy, I’d definitely ask a friend to come help with installation. Essentially you find where you want to hang it, make sure it’s level, and then drill it into the wall. It wasn’t Ikea-furniture difficult, but the boards are seven pounds each and can be a little cumbersome to lift and level alone. And if you have drywall, you’re going to want to anchor your pegboard into the wall, which I promise is easier than it sounds!

I always knew I loved the look of a kitchen pegboard, but I never realized how much it would improve cooking in a tiny kitchen. It’s such a smart way to really make the most of the little space you have, and looking super Instagrammable is really just a bonus. My love for my metal kitchen pegboard goes beyond words. It’s so practical, looks so cool, and means I don’t really have to dry any of my pots and pans and can let them “air dry” on the board.

For the love of Julia or general kitchen organization, here’s everything you need to install a dreamy metal kitchen pegboard of your own.

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A colorful metal pegboard with 1/4 inch holes
Here she is, in all her glory. This is the exact pegboard I have (mine is the green board with blue hooks, but I didn't like the metal hooks that came with it and got different plastic ones, listed below). This is a 14-pound metal pegboard that will hold all your kitchen needs. It has a magnetic powder-coated finish so it won't get rusty or moldy, and it comes with two 16-by-32-inch panels which you can choose to hang together (making a 32-by-32-inch square) or separately, as well as vertically or horizontally. It has 1/4-inch-wide holes and slots, all an inch apart, which you can utilize however you want. It comes with tools for mounting, but because my apartment is drywall, I got special heavy-duty screws and wall anchors, listed below.

This comes in nine colors: black, blue, green, matte gray, metallic silver, silver, red, yellow, orange and white.
Heavy duty drywall anchors
If your place is drywalled like mine, you're going to need to anchor the board into the wall, which is way less scary than it sounds! These anchors hold up to 75 pounds, which is perfect for the 14-pound metal pegboard plus pots and pans. For the pegboard listed here, you need at least 12 screws and anchors, so the 25-pack was perfect for me to have extras. I've used them to hang other shelves in my apartment.
A user-friendly cordless drill with the basic accessories
If you're not a professional carpenter and you're just trying to hang a kitchen peg board in peace, a basic cordless drill set like this is perfect. It's small enough that you can stash it away in a drawer or closet, but it's not too dinky, so it will work all around your house.

This comes with a USB charger, 10 different drill bits, 10 drivers, a level measure and 10 screws and anchors (though you shouldn't use these for the pegboard, but rather the heavy-duty anchors listed above).
A mix of "L" and "J"-shaped 1/4-inch hooks
Your pegboard's magic derives from how personalized it can be. While the pegboard above comes with some metal accessories, I found that this collection of L- and J-shaped plastic hooks work better for my needs. I use the L-shaped hooks to hang larger pots and pans and the J hooks for things with smaller handles or hoops, like my colander and oven mitts. I got this pack because it came in the smallest amount I could find, which is still a quantity of 50. These are 1/4-inch wide, so they work with the pegboard listed above, but make sure to check the size if you're getting other accessories. They come in black and white.
A basket with a paper towel holder
I thought I knew how much and I loved my pegboard, and then I got this spice rack/paper towel holder to hang on it. This basket has been the best addition to my kitchen overall. It lets me store my most-used spices right near my stove, and keeps the paper towels at a perfect horizontal level that's easy to use. This works for a 1/4-inch pegboard like the one listed here. There's a ton of different basket styles available from this seller, but I love the 15.25-by11.5-inch basket with the towel bar.

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