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May 22 2009

Fix-it Friday – Storage Solutions for Small Spaces

Published by at 5:34 pm under Interior Design Solutions,storage

Mel from Design Heaven asked me to recommend some suggestions for improving storage in a small space. Now, Mel writes a fantastic interior design blog so I sort of feel like I’m telling my ‘grandmother how to suck eggs’ and hope I’m coming up with some good ideas for her and all of you.

One of the things I loved about living in Victorian houses were all the cubby holes and fabulous storage under stairs where one could stash away almost anything and I think it is important to use every inch of space under places such as the stairs or as shown below, build in shelves to optimise the space available.



Image: Ideal Homes
Image: Ideal Homes


Storage is so important in the hallway – to make it seem welcoming, prevent clutter and just to ensure that important items such as keys are close by as you rush out the door.


Image: Ideal Homes
Image: Ideal Homes


Here a mirror with hooks below it is ideal for checking your appearance, hanging your bag and keys etc.  The narrow built in storage is great for stashing away items such as shoes and the couple of cushions suggest comfort and relaxation, even if you never actually sit on it!  A built in window-seat with a hinged lid are also great if you have a bay window in the living room.  Staying with the living room, ottomans are wonderful items of furniture being triple purpose: footstool, extra seating and great for storing items such as magazines and newspapers.  If the living room is quite small,  rather than an ottoman, low baskets that fit in under the sofa are convenient for storing magazines too and items such as the remote controls.  You can get sofas with drawers under them too. When choosing coffee tables or side tables, on the one hand, ones that have open space below them and have elegant legs, create more sense of space but ones with drawers will provide plenty of storage.

Open shelving maintains the sense of space, especially if a variety of objects (in terms of form, size and shape) are placed on them with some ‘white space’ between them.¬† You just have to ensure that they are kept tidy or the whole effect is lost.

Image: Ideal Homes
Image: Ideal Homes

Black & Blum are one of my favourite companies that I stock, partly because so many of their items are great for being sleek and perfect for storage. Their ‘ring ring’ is wall-mounted and each one takes quite a few magazines and papers.¬† Once they start to fall out, you know it is time to bring some to the recycling!


The Black & Blum Flow is brilliant for storing wine, taking up some space on the wall but worth every inch as it looks so sleek and attractive, imitating the flow of liquid in its shape.



In the bedroom, the obvious points are ideas such as purchasing a bed with drawers within the divan or purchase storage tubs (with wheels) that will fit under the bed – ideal for out of season clothes,¬†sports equipment, shoes, holiday decorations etc.¬† Add hooks to the inside of the wardrobe doors for items such as belts.¬† Remember to use your walls for storage too – shelves placed 30-50 cm below the ceiling will be ideal for displaying collectibles/ storing books / hats / decorative items / attractive box files – admittedly items placed on a high shelf will be more for items you love to look at but don’t use so often.¬† If getting a bookcase made, measure the height of your books, for example, if the space between the shelves are 34 cm and some books are only 12 cm high, you are effectively wasting almost 20 cm of space so have differently spaced shelves for the different sized books.

Strong, deep drawers in the kitchen mean that it is easier to access items that would ordinarily be stuck at the back of the cupboard as the drawers can pull out fully.  Simple items such as a Lazy susan plate to hold all your dried herbs etc means that a simple twirl of the plate will make each little container easily accessible. Pull-out larders and corner cupboards with pull-out shelves ensure that every inch of space is used.

I guess the ideal is ‘ a place for everything and everything in its place’, that is, to have attractive items on display and other items placed out of sight where you can find them easily. Now, this Fix-it Friday is going to turn into Saturday’s post if I don’t end now but please add more ideas in the comment box if you think of any.


Next Week: Window Treatments for a bathroom window Рto maximise light yet ensure privacy

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7 responses so far

7 Responses to “Fix-it Friday – Storage Solutions for Small Spaces”

  1. Emmaon 22 May 2009 at 6:18 pm

    Thank you Lorna! Have a lovely weekend also.

  2. Miseon 22 May 2009 at 7:47 pm

    Lots of good ideas there! I’m a bit anti-plastic so for bedroom storage I’ll add fabric/canvas bags like these from the White Company:

    Totally agree about open shelving – looks better than cupboards and makes you more inclined to throw away superfluous things. I sometimes think modern kitchens go too far with clever storage, but I’d love a larder/pantry.

    Bathroom storage: things that aren’t used every day look well in drawstring fabric bags on hooks/peg shelves.

    Looking forward to window ideas!

  3. Lornaon 22 May 2009 at 8:52 pm

    Thanks for that suggestion and link – good price too.
    I would love a pantry too – have to woodworm treat and renovate an old dresser during the summer which will be the next best thing.

  4. Mel Design Heavenon 23 May 2009 at 5:29 pm

    Thanks Lorna. I am really liking your fix it friday posts. I will definitely use some of the advice listed here.

  5. Mel Design Heavenon 25 May 2009 at 2:18 pm

    Actually Lorna the more I think about your suggestions above the more I really like the idea for the hallway. We have a little bit of clutter going on there and I would really like to store it away so the seat box is perfect.
    And I also really like the box shelves above that beautiful sideboard.

    Thanks again for the suggestions above.


  6. Lornaon 25 May 2009 at 3:02 pm

    That’s great Mel, thanks a mill for letting me know. I’m actually thinking of it for my utility too as we have a tiny back hall which is used for wellies and then walk through the utility to get to the kitchen (and fall over shoes along the way!) and there is a long wall that would be ideal for a long seat box with loads of pretty hooks above it.

  7. Polly Pierceon 27 May 2009 at 8:43 am

    A radical alternative could be to get those people in from the TV who ransack your house, get rid of any junk/clutter and, if you’re really lucky they’ll make a few bob at the local car boot sale so you can start collecting all over again…