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Overhead pot rack -- a good idea?


I'm in the middle of planning a kitchen renovation and while I have a lot of raw space, the layout is a bit of a challenge.

An overhead pot rack where I hang the majority of my commonly used pots and pans seems like it could be a useful addition -- and nice to look at as well -- but I've never had one so I'm seeking opinions on them.

Off the top of my head, they seem like a bad idea...

-- Items hung up a bit damp drip on your head or whatever's below.

-- Shorter visiting cooks (or children I might have some day) can't reach

-- Infrequently used items get dusty, or even worse, a little greasy if they're over the range and the hood isn't 100% efficient.

Anyone out there have one? How is it? Love it? Hate it? Advice on where to locate it on the floorplan?

Thanks in advance.


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  1. I love my pot rack. I built a grid of copper pipe and douglas fir that hangs directly over the center of my L shaped kitchen. Yes seldom used items may get a little greasy-dusty, but maybe it's time send them to the Goodwill anyway. People over 6' 3" will bump their heads and my wife can't reach anything, but I do all the cooking anyway.

    1. I wouldn't hang it over the stove. Seems like the ideal place would be over an island in the center of the kitchen. And it might be good if kids can't reach!

      1. I had a wall pot rack built by my local welder. It's steel-frame around expanded steel, then powder-coated. Hang with "S" hooks from IKEA. Feet attaching to the wall by screw are reached through the expanded steel, so very clean looking. (Had to remember to put in 3/4" ply before the sheetrock.) Love it.

        1. Great feedback so far everyone -- keep it coming!

          A few responses to what people have posted so far:

          -- I feel like every time I use a pot-rack at a friends and they have those S hooks the hook comes falling down on my head. Does one get agile with them?

          -- If it's over the island it's rather hard to light the island, no?


          4 Replies
          1. re: Peter

            I was thinking of the rectangle kind where the pots only hang around the edges. Plenty of room for light in the center.

            1. re: Peter

              I have the straight calphalon racks attached to the soffit above the cabinets, one over the sink and one over the stove hood and hang most of my all clad pots and calphalon skillets, works real nice. they have hooks that are custom bent to move where needed but stay put when hanging and removing the pots, the stable hooks are a must. My short wife can just about put away or reach every pot except the 2 qt pot which I get to hang or she grabs a chair. You need an 8 ft or greater ceiling for this. Wanted to go over the island but I think that would have blocked a lot of light and I couldn't find the right rack. Some of the lesser used pots accumulate a little grease over the stove. The allclad lids slide over the handles nicely so they are never a hassle to locate.

              1. re: Peter

                I recently saw a pot rack at Costco that included two lights on it... didn't see it available online.

                1. re: Peter

                  Better quality racks usually have a number of anchored hooks that do not jump off (usually set in channels built into the rack). If loose ones really bother you they could be anchored with something as simple as a 'glue dot' (craft stores sell them for use in making floral displays or gift baskets) or even a piece of fine gauge wire.

                  Lighting issues depend on the specific physical configuration of your kitchen and on how many and what size/shape pots you want to hang. We have a total of 7 can lights in our kitchen ceiling (all within a few feet of an island that is about 9' x4') but the rack hangs over the sink, which is in the center along one side), so we have plenty of light at either end for prep work. There are 8 or nine pots and pans on the rack.

                  Hope that helps some.

                2. When building our house, we designed a large potrack to be positioned over the island. It is a five foot oval copper/brass Enclume w/ grid so all space is useable with S hooks. I am the solo cook and, with that in mind, hung it for MY convenience. With my arm raised, we located the edge at my wrist so I can reach the pots with safety and ease.

                  During the framing stage of construction, we replaced standard 2X6s w/ much larger lumber knowing this behemoth would carry a lot of heavy LeCreuset, copper and cast iron. Very large "all threads" were bolted through these beams for eventual installation of the potrack. (It has proved to be very stable.) We also wired it for low voltage electricity but have never completed this because 1.) I don't need it and 2.) finding attractive, non-breakable fixtures has been a challenge.

                  To answer your specific questions:

                  -- Yes, wet items will drip on the counter. Dry them throughly before hanging.

                  -- Short visiting cooks are on their own. This is my kitchen. (I also discount any complaints about my lowered cooktop for the same reason, my kitchen = my comfort).
                  PS - no matter how carefully you plan for your childrens' height, this will change over the years and there is no way to accomodate the range of approx 2' - 5' or 6'.

                  -- Infrequently used items will certainly get dusty, like everywhere else in the house. Either use them, discard them or dust them.

                  NB: because my potrack hangs over the island, some visibility to the other side of the kitchen is compromised. This is a small price to pay when the overall benefit is counted.

                  I love this baby and would carry it out in case of a fire!

                  3 Replies
                  1. re: Sherri

                    Yes, I suppose lights could hang down through the middle or light could shine down through the middle but then you trade the utility of the potrack for the aesthetic beauty of pendant lights or some such. And you lose the even, unbroken light that makes working on an island more pleasant -- I imagine you get all sorts of odd shadows.

                    Not necessarily bad trades mind you, just something I'll have to keep in mind.

                    Keep the feedback coming!

                    1. re: Peter

                      Peter, re: the lights, we actually found and installed copper pendants but removed them because they didn't make a big enough difference in the overall lighting scheme to warrant being there. The wiring is sheathed in copper that also hides the utilitarian all-threads and, for now, is simply tucked up and hidden awaiting a day when I may decide to reconnect some lighting.

                      re: lighting at the island, be vigilant about ceiling can placement. Unless they are over the island pointed directly at the work surface, not on the room perimeter, your body will throw shadows on your work area. It may be worth talking to a lighting specialist because of all the wonderful products available. We would have never found the directed halogen beams otherwise and I treasure them.

                      Good luck on your project.

                      P.S. just read your post re: the falling S hooks. Be aware that S hooks come in many different weights. Flimsy featherweight S hooks may well dislodge but the hefty ones do not budge for me.

                      1. re: Sherri

                        My cooktop is in my island with a downdraft vent that goes up and down like a periscope kind of...anyway I have thought about a pot rack over the island but has discarded the idea. I had very nice looking suspended lighting over the cooktop that was a total bear to keep clean. The downdraft is not the most efficient vent system and my electrical/appliance repair person suggested a booster for the fan which I am giving thought to, but it seemed that trying to keep the light fixture and if I hangs any pots or pans over it I'll be in the same situation. So the light fixture came down and went away and I have recessed lighting over the island now


                  2. We have a rack for hanging pots in front of the stove. It's a Calphalon straight rack with big S swivel hooks. I hung it for my height so I don't bump into anything but can reach all the pots without too much difficulty. Anyone over 6' would find it too low, but that's not a problem here. The pots are dried before being hung so nothing drips.

                    The reason I put it up is to have the pots I use very often within reach, also because the rack takes up less space than putting everything on shelves. A good friend of mine bought an old brass bed header, cut off the legs and hung it horizontally. She hung her pots on the brass railings. It looked absolutely fabulous and held just about all her pots with room to spare. I was very envious.

                    1. My house came with a potrack. I discarded it...I hated seeing that "forest" of pots & pans and prefer a clean, streamlined look. I like everything stowed in its designated place; deep pot drawers are a nice alternative, if you have the space. Everything stays clean & neat in the drawer.

                      1. Last year, I was reading the New York Times and came across an article about Garrison Keillor's house. I noticed we have the same pot rack in our kitchens.


                        It's huge: 10 feet long oval with 50 hooks riveted to the outside, and a center bar about a foot lower with 10 hooks on either side. The riveted hooks are what sold me on this monster. I've had other pot racks with S-hooks and had the same problems as another poster who complained about the hooks being wobbly and falling down. Nothing can budge these things, and it is much easier to hang a pot when the hook is stable. Everything in my kitchen that can be hung is dangling from this rack.

                        Oh, and the rack hangs from the ceiling with chains used to lift car engines.

                        I got mine from a restaurant that was going out of business, but you can find a similar one at http://www.potrackworld.com/

                        1. I would dearly love to have a pot rack when/if we ever remodel our kitchen, but I know Mrs. ricepad won't go for it. To me, a pot rack keeps everything handy yet out of the way, and I love the look, too...sort of industrial/commercial kitchen-y. That look, however, is what Mrs. ricepad would object to...she, like Hungry Celeste, prefers that everything be put away behind doors or in cabinets so the kitchen is nice and neat between meals.

                          I don't think dust would be a problem if you're using the pots and pans regularly, and as long as it is over an island and not over the range, oil/grease build-up should be a non-issue, too. In my ideal kitchen, the rack would be over a cutting table island that has a double sink on one end, with some kind of knife storage incorporated, too.

                          1. I have one hanging over my island, range is separate. I'm the short one (5'2") and my husband is tallish (6' or more?) so he has to reach all the lids that we keep on the top, but the pots hang down far enough for me to reach, but not to hit him in the head.

                            We're still planning on putting lights through/around it somehow, but it's not really as big deal as I originally thought it would be.

                            I couldn't live without it, I would hate to have them all stacked up in cabinets. Much easier to just reach up and grab what I need!

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: pigtowner

                              Same here: at 5'2", I can easily reach all the pots that hang. Must crawl to reach the ones on top, generally consisting of the roasting pan that comes out once a year for the turkey. It DOES get dusty-greasy, even though my rack is over an island, not the stove. No biggie, just wash it. I hang the long pots on the side of the island where I do NOT stand. Yes, they will hit my 6'2" husband in the head if he tries to work on that side.

                              My S-hooks do not move around.

                              I put two "cloud" flourescent lights on either side of my pot rack to offset any shadows. It works perfectly, big thank you to the builder who suggested it. Recessed incandescent cans are elsewhere in the kitchen, along with under counter lights. Having owned for a short while a poorly lit kitchen, I think almost NOTHING is as important as good light in the kitchen. I say save the gorgeous pendants, etc. for over the bar or the dining room table and light the kitchen proper like an operating room.

                            2. I will have a pot rack in my kitchen for the rest of my days. It's practical and looks great. I chose to wall-mount mine because I couldn't stand the thought of having to balance out a chain-hung version. It's beside the stove, above the dishwasher and microwave. The height was based on my wife's ability to use it.

                              I initially got annoyed by the s-hooks falling, so I tied them on with black plastic cable ties. That allows them to move, but stay in the position they're put into, and then hang straight with weight on them. I'll post a picture if people are interested.

                              1. Love it. Have had one for the past 20 years. It's hangs over a prep table (that doubles as a bar-height counter with three stools that we have quick meals at). We range in height from 5'4" to 5'10", but because there's a counter underneath it there's no danger of ever hitting our heads. Because pots hang from the end of their handles, they remain within easy reach. The best value is it saves you from losing valuable cabinet space storing the bulky pots in the cabinet which are always hard to find and difficult to retrieve. Suspending them in a nesting pattern, soemtimes able to get more than one on a hook (depending on the handle) maximiizing space, preevents the pots from getting damaged in an over- crowded cabinet and looks really cool. The only downside to a pot rack is that if you haven't used a pan in a awhile, it can get kind of dusty.