Creative storage ideas for small spaces

Design and furnishing ideas to make the best use of empty spaces in a home.

Under bed storage
Under bed storage image via

From underneath a bed, under a subfloor or the underside of the staircase, there are many underutilized areas in a home that can make life in a small home a lot less cluttered. Here are some ideas on how to transform dead space into storage space:

  • Under stair storage
    Under stair storage © Ecohome

    Use the bottom of the bed as a storage with drawers on wheels. There are risers available which will raise the height of the bed a few inches for added height if necessary.

  • Design the underside of stair cases to include shelves for books, closets or an small office space.
  • Empty suitcases: except for the globe-trotters among us, suitcases spend most of their time dormant and using up space. They can be easily filled and labelled with rarely-used items. Of course the usefulness of this depends entirely on how much stuff you have and how often you travel. Also, cases can often be stacked inside others.
  • Custom made sub-floor storage can be built into rooms when sufficent head room can be sacrificed. In some cases this can help reclaim unused space, as long as it is built into otherwise un-insulated floors. 
    Sub-floor storage
    Sub-floor storage © VIP Homes

    Sub-floor storage
    Sub-floor storage © VIP Homes

  • Bathroom cabinet storage
    Bathroom cabinet storage © James Clarkin

    Kick plates at the bottom of kitchen and bathroom cabinets hide completely dead space that can reclaimed for storage. This is a solution for custom made cabinets only of course, you won't find it at Ikea. A slightly modified kick plate height can make for a built-in retractable stool in the bathroom for kids. 

  • In the kitchen, narrow shelves can be hung on the inside of cupboard doors. This can be handy for small bottles such as spices. The only precaution is making certain that these are placed between the cupboard shelves to allow closing.
  • There are bathroom shelving units designed to fit over the water closet of the toilet.
  • Take advantage of a deeper headboard to enable hidden storage.
    Headboard storage
    Headboard storage © Apartment therapy

  • Upholstered storage containers can serve as extra seating or footstools; ideal for toys, books or games.
  • Use specialized hardware for hanging shoe racks or clothing behind doors. In most cases, the thickness of the metal over the door will still allow proper closing.

Taking advantage of otherwise unused space helps reduce clutter, but more importantly it makes living in small spaces les of a sacrifice, and more of an enjoyable life choice instead. Finding the balance between having sufficient personal items but not living in constant clutter is the key to living happily in smaller homes.

Desk under stairs
Desk under stairs © James Clarkin

'Storage' should always be kept in mind during home design, many solutions are easiest to implement if they are built in during original construction. There are endless brilliant commercial solutions available for better space management, but custom solutions made to fit your unique space can be as affordable or even more so. 

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understair storage ©