Need some storage solutions for small spaces?
You might have meticulously planned out your tiny rooms, but somehow, that clutter still manages to creep in. Rather than stack up boxes or use unsightly plastic trays, why not try some of our clever storage ideas to save space, in even the tiniest of houses.
Don't think you have the space in your small living room for any living room storage ideas? Struggling to make your studio flat work?
Make every inch of your home work hard with well-thought-out and space-saving storage solutions. Every nook and cranny is crying out for your clutter, so take charge of your belongings and banish them to hidden or well-organised areas.
‘There are plenty of areas in the home where you can shoehorn in extra storage,’ suggests Mark Dyson of Enclosure Architects (opens in new tab). ‘Anyone who has anything to do with building houses can help identify redundant spaces under beds, baths, units – I’m even trying to find a way to use the space between floors. I haven’t worked it out just yet, but I will!’
Storage solutions for small spaces
If you are renovating your house, think about building storage space into the walls: Cubbyholes in the bathroom wall will create space for all of your toiletries, without using up valuable room around your bath or shower.
Alcoves are the perfect space to build storage units and shelves that will fit seamlessly into your rooms, without taking up lots of space. Design a new kitchen with storage solutions in mind. Sliding cupboards that can hold hundreds of ingredients before slotting back in line with your units are a great storage idea for a contemporary scheme.
If you aren't completely redecorating your home, invest in multi-purpose storage units that will only take up a single area in one room, but will store everything you need for the whole house. Here are some of our other storage solutions for small spaces.
Whether you're looking for small living room ideas or compact bathroom solutions, we have an idea for you...
1. Opt for multipurpose furniture
Here space is premium you may need to think outside the box when it comes to storage solutions. In this busy kitchen space there's clearly a need for a desk solution for working from home purposes. Where a full-sized desk would be overbearing a small side table does the same job, but takes up less space.
The kitchen table provides a bigger space to work if needed but the side table provides enough of a surface to fit a laptop, along with shelving below to store work essentials. It can also be kept to one side out of 'office' hours, so the small home office ideas doesn't become overwhelmed with a feeling of work.
2. Utilise the back of doors
Sounds so obvious, but how many of us overlook this trick in rooms outside of bathrooms? All doors provide valuable storage space when in small rooms. With so many savvy storage units and solutions on the market it's never be easier to make more of this wasted space. In kitchens use the back of the door for a spice rack or hanging cleaning essentials out of reach from little ones.
Back of the door proves equally as handy as a bedroom storage idea to hang all manner of accessories, cosmetics and a handy mirror.
3. Create an under stairs utility
Take an orderly approach to your under stairs space however small it it, to provide a savvy utility room storage idea. Add clips, hooks to the door or wall to free up floor or cupboard space and make sure all your cleaning tools are easy to find. If you have space add a well-stocked trolley or a bucket filled with your cleaning kit are kept together.
4. Benefit from bespoke shelving
In a small bathroom space it can be hard to source furniture pieces that fit, and ones that can accommodate all your storage needs. In this instance bespoke shelving is the best option, to make sure you use space to the best advantage. Use shelves cut to size to store fresh towels, baskets and toiletries – making the most of unused valuable vertical space.
5. Make a headboard work harder
If you are negotiating a compact bedroom the headboard is the perfect space to squeeze in some extra storage. Create hidden storage and remove the need for a bulky bedside table with a bespoke headboard – a winning small bedroom idea that saves space behind and beside the bed.
To make this DIY headboard idea cover an MDF board with black gloss Fablon, then screw picture ledges to the back.
6. Build storage into the walls
Make the most of every last bit of space in your home and build floor-to-ceiling shelving and cupboard space. If you have lots of books or records, it's a great solution for storing them, while at the same time creating a striking wall of colour.
7. Use the wasted space around a door
Why stop at the walls? Build deep shelves in the wasted space around a doorway to store books. You may even find you have space to squeeze in a few lovely green plants and any other knick-knacks in need of a home.
8. Make more of an alcove
Lay a narrow bookcase on its side to create an alcove bench for seating and storage. Pop a basket or storage box into each section of the shelving, filing the space entirely. Cover the top with cushions and throws to create a cosy nook ideal for reading. A simple but clever design for alcoves makes the most of an awkward recess.
9. Gain from the space under windows
From benches where you can take off your shoes and dump the detritus of the day, to built-in cubbies for toys and games, the space under a window can be a very handy storage spot.
10. Create a media storage system
A TV can take up valuable space in your living room. Don't allow it to. Instead, use it as a focal point to build storage around. Simple shelving and movable TV units, like this one on wheels, offer flexible solutions. Or, for something tailored to your needs, try fitting a bespoke design.
11. Build a home office in an alcove
Want a swanky home office but don't have room for one? Why not transform an alcove into a hideaway office? All you need are open shelves, perfect for storage boxes, which can sit above a desk consisting of a simple plank of wood. You could choose to hide the area behind folding or sliding doors to keep all the clutter tucked out of sight.
‘Open bookshelves can look great, with the books becoming part of the scheme,’ says Tim Newbold of Domus (opens in new tab). ‘Thick shelves look more architectural and structural, alternatively, you might want to shut your collections away behind closed doors’.
12. Use every inch of space in a kitchen
Where space is tight in a small kitchen, it is important not to waste even a millimetre of potential storage space. A thin pull-out cupboard, with multiple shelves or racks, offers the perfect solution and makes food supplies easy to view and reach.
You could also consider hanging rails and baskets between the base and wall units. Lakeland and Wilko have a range of ideas to help you reorganise your existing kitchen cupboards.
13. Invest in fully-fitted storage
Solve the tricky corners in a living room by opting for bespoke built-in storage. In a small lounge this can prove invaluable for using the entirety of the wall, from floor to ceiling to make the most of what limited storage space is available.
When furniture is tailored to fit no space is wasted and taken floor-to-ceiling will make full use of room height too. Opt for a combination of shelves and cupboards to give space for display and somewhere to hide the bits you don't want to be seen.
Paint or lacquer the doors in the same colour as the wall and choose invisible push-click catches to help them disappear, or else go for a bright colour and combine with open shelving to create a feature.
‘Most partition walls are hollow, timber stud walls. Use this precious space and have your builder construct MDF cupboards with doors instead of the usual plasterboard surface,’ says Mark Dyson from Enclosure Architects. ‘We’ve done three or four projects in homes that have utilised space in this way.’
14. Store under the bed
If you’re squeezed for cupboard space in a small bedroom, gather up any out-of-season clothes or extra bedding sets and store underneath the bed in pull-out baskets. Measure under-bed space before you buy – lower beds will require a shallow drawer - and opt for drawers with lids or covers so belongings don’t get dusty.
15. Stash accessories out of sight in an ottoman
Opt for stowaway storage so you can stash living room essentials out of sight. A roomy ottoman with lift-up lid is brilliant for hiding away spare cushions, bulky blankets or children’s toys. Choose one that colour co-ordinates with your sofa or seating arrangement, or choose a standalone piece in a contrast colour or neutral leather.
16. Use baskets for quick tidy-ups
Labelled baskets are a practical way to separate everyone's shoes and outdoor gear, so line up several on shelving at different heights in the hallway or utility room. Colour-coded labels help young kids who aren't reading yet stow their stuff too. Store them on shelves in the hallway to free up the important oh-so important floor space in small spaces.
17. Keep everything in one place
When there isn't room for a lot of different furniture pieces in your home, choose one that will house everything. This multipurpose dresser includes drawers, cupboards and display space. Plus, it provides extra surface space for hot dishes ready for serving.
18. Use storage to divide spaces
If your living room is also your kitchen, dining room or even bedroom, use block furniture and handy storage to divide the space. Here, a freestanding island divides off a kitchen and dining area.
Placing units behind a sofa is another genius way to maximise your storage without taking up wall space, and helps to define the separate areas further.
19. Keep hallway clutter at bay
A bench with storage beneath is an ideal way to contain hallway clutter. Baskets allow shoes, hats and other paraphernalia to be tucked away out of site. Add labels so everyone has an individual place for their things – this also makes missing items easy to find in a hurry. The hooks above use wasted wall space to order coats.
20. Build under-bed storage in a children's room
Utilise space under your child's bed by asking a carpenter to create one that incorporates storage space. These fun bunks have the ultimate storage for toys and clothes. Alternatively, you could look to buying a ready-made option with drawers or even a desk built in beneath. Argos is a good place to look for these.
21. Stash stuff under the sink
Savvy bathroom storage ideas are essential to help keep stay neat, tidy and organised. Bathrooms can be especially cramped and storage space can be severely limited, but you still have options. Look up and add shelves above eye level, or look down and maximise the space under the basin or even behind a bath panel.
Units like the above are great for rental spaces, as they just fit around an existing pedestal.
22. Invest in a moveable trolley
A trolley has a million uses. You can use it to organise anything from craft supplies to groceries to toys to cocktail paraphernalia. And because it's on wheels, you can manoeuvre it so that it's always out of the way, however small your space.
23. Hide your TV and other appliances in your living room
Sliding, pivoting or revolving panels and doors mean that video, TV and hi-fi equipment can 'vanish' when not in use, but is still easily accessible when required. Companies such as Domus even incorporate fine mesh screening to integrate loudspeakers into consoles and customised cupboards.
24. Bespoke bedroom storage
Nothing shatters the blissful sanctuary of a bedroom quicker than the sight of cluttered shelves and a floor scattered with shoes. Getting smart with your bedroom wardrobe ideas will make a world of difference.
‘Bespoke wardrobes aren’t that much more expensive than flat-pack, but are really cost-effective if you only have a couple of metres to spare,’ advises Robyn Gifford at Roundhouse Design (opens in new tab). ‘Do you have 10 pairs of shoes or 100? Do you have a lot of clothes that need hanging, or more casual clothes that can be folded? Consider all this when planning your storage’.
Stow seasonal items away and keep everyday clothes to hand, and ‘measure your rail, then add 20 per cent,’ advises Peter Friend of Hülsta (opens in new tab). ‘However much space you use now, you’re bound to need more in the future.’
Alcoves either side of a chimney breast are perfect for bespoke wardrobes. Built-in storage can also be used to fill odd niches and unify proportions in a room. A shallow depth can provide shoe storage and means musty shoes aren’t heaped on the wardrobe floor. Take the storage high to use the space effectively.
Will you be trying out any of these storage solutions for small spaces?
Tamara was Ideal Home's Digital Editor before joining the Woman & Home team in 2022. She has spent the last 15 years working with the style teams at Country Homes & Interiors and Ideal Home, both now at Future PLC. It’s with these award wining interiors teams that she's honed her skills and passion for shopping, styling and writing. Tamara is always ahead of the curve when it comes to interiors trends – and is great at seeking out designer dupes on the high street.
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