When people think of where to store their bulky winter bedding or out-of-season clothes, their minds likely turn straight to the basement or the attic. But for those who live in small homes — from actual tiny homes to studio apartments or even just smaller-than-average houses — basements and attics may not be an option. If your home is lacking that made-for-storage space, how do you come up with smart storage ideas for small spaces?
You don’t have to live in a tiny home to look for creative storage solutions. No matter the size of your living space, these tips will help you maximize it, tucking your belongings away to make the smartest use of the space you have.
How to Make the Most of a Small Kitchen
A spacious, updated kitchen is on many a house-hunter’s wishlist. But in some spaces, a dream kitchen just isn’t possible.
Luckily, there are plenty of ways to get creative in the kitchen — and we’re not just talking about exotic spices and fresh ingredients. Here are some smart ways to make the most of your kitchen — coming up with storage ideas for small spaces, no matter the actual size of your kitchen.
Add Side Shelves on Cabinets
Most kitchens have cabinets, but there’s an opportunity to get even more storage out of them by adding small shelves to their exposed sides. In the kitchen, this is especially useful because of all the small items that need places to go — you’re sure to find a use for these shelves, even though they’re on the small side.
Use the Space on Top of Cabinets
In most kitchens, there’s a ton of space on top of the cabinets that’s just going to waste. It might be a little dusty up there, but grab a step ladder and some cleaning supplies, because this is the perfect place for storing small boxes or bulky kitchen equipment you don’t use too often.
Use Both Sides of the Shelves
Shelves are a great way to create storage on an open wall, but the space underneath shelves often ends up wasted. Take advantage of that space with under-shelf storage, like a basket or a stemware holder.
Use Hanging Baskets
For kitchens with limited counter space, you can create more by hanging baskets from the ceiling. These are great for storing things like fruits, vegetables, and herbs.
Take Advantage of Narrow Spaces
Take a quick walk around your kitchen and make note of all the spaces that are empty, but seem too narrow to be used as storage. Are they actually, though? Many people have taken advantage of the narrow space between the fridge and the wall to fit a rolling set of shelves that can act as a pantry. Any narrow space in your kitchen can likely be utilized if you get creative.
Use Cabinet Organizers
Most cabinet shelves allow for nearly 12 inches of storage space, but a stack of plates or a mug is usually only a few inches tall. Pre-made cabinet organizers can help solve this problem, maximizing cabinet space by adding new shelves and surfaces.
Organizers that are specifically make for clunky, often disorganized kitchen items like spices and cans can also help save a lot of space.
And for limited cabinet space, a lazy Susan can help you pack your cabinets full without having to struggle to reach what’s stored in the back.
Make the Most of Under-Sink Space
The space under most kitchen sinks is, at best, a jumble of miscellaneous cleaning supplies, and, at worst, completely wasted. There are products available specifically to help create usable storage under your kitchen sink, but you can also just get creative with baskets or storage bins to make the most of the space.
Instead of Using Drawers, Hang Things
Rather than taking up an entire drawer for kitchen utensils, hang them up. This can be done with S-hooks, Command hooks, or even just a tension rod placed between two cabinets over the sink. Knives can also hang on the wall, on an installed magnetic strip.
Use Empty Wall Space
Empty space on a wall (or your fridge) doesn’t need to go wasted. Some clever DIY-ers use shelving to turn an empty kitchen wall into dry goods storage. Magnetic storage containers for spices can also live on the side or front of the fridge.
Build a Pegboard Wall
Another great use for an empty kitchen wall is a pegboard, which will allow you to hang and store all kinds of kitchen supplies in whatever orientation you want. This is some seriously flexible storage — with a pegboard, you can switch up where things hang, or add more storage, in just moments at any time.
Install Toe-Kick Drawers
We’ve talked about how to utilize the dead space above your cabinets, but what about under them? Most kitchens have a ton of wasted space at the bottoms of the cabinets that could translate to extra storage for linens, dishes, cookware, pet supplies, and more. Unless you’re an extremely handy at-home carpenter, this one will take an investment. But adding toe-kick drawers under your kitchen cabinets will take that space from wasted to well-utilized.
Ditch the Dining Set for an Eating Nook
Have you ever looked at your dining table and chairs and thought about just how much space they take up? What if you replaced them with a built-in dining nook that has storage under the benches or table?
If that’s too much of an investment, you can also replace dining room chairs with benches or stools that contain some hidden storage.
Where to Find Creative Storage Ideas for Your Small Bedroom
In any home, your bedroom should be a place that’s calm and relaxing, where you can retreat for a night of peaceful rest no matter how long your day has been. But if it’s lacking storage, that peace can pretty quickly be overtaken by clutter and mess.
Once again, though, all it takes is some creative thinking to find the storage ideas for small spaces that already exist in the room — and achieve the bedroom serenity you deserve.
Stash Belongings Under the Bed
This is one of the most common bedroom storage tricks, and it comes with a lot of options. There are bed frames specifically made with storage drawers built in. You can store bins or baskets that match your bedroom decor. Or, if you have ugly boxes you need to hide away, you can stash them under the bed behind a pretty dust ruffle.
Turn Your Bed Into a Storage Platform
If you want to even further utilize under-bed space, you can raise your bed to the top of a storage platform. Customize it with drawers, cubbies, and shelving to get the most out of the space.
Loft Your Bed to Make Use of the Space Underneath
Maybe the problem isn’t that your bedroom lacks drawers or shelves, but that it’s too small for a closet or a workspace. One solution? Loft the bed and use the space underneath it for a desk or clothing racks.
Hide the Bed Away When You’re Not Using It
Or, if the problem is that the bed just takes up too much space in the room when you’re not sleeping, consider a solution like a Murphy bed or a folding bed. This is especially useful in studio apartments, where the bedroom also needs to serve as the living space during the day.
Make Use of Space Around Windows
Bedrooms need windows. Aside from the fact that natural light does wonders for making a room feel homey, it’s against building codes for bedrooms not to have windows. Still, it can be tough to look at a wall with a big window and not think about all the storage space that could go there.
So make use of walls with windows, and build window storage. This doesn’t need to be an extensive carpentry project — it can be as simple as using modular cube storage or an IKEA shelf to create a window bench with some storage underneath it.
Organize Your Closet
Let’s face it: A shelf six feet from the floor with a hanging rod beneath it is not the best use of the space in most closets. Giving your closet a storage refresh can create tons of new storage space there.
A lot of stores and websites sell pre-made closet organization systems that combine hanging racks and shelving. But if you’re handy and have a vision for the kind of storage you’d like your closet to provide, you can always build your own.
Small Bathroom? No Problem — Bathroom Storage Ideas for Small Spaces
The bathroom is often one of the smallest rooms in a home, which presents some storage challenges, considering all the bath products, cleaning supplies, hair and beauty items, and more that need a place to live there.
No matter how small your bathroom is, though, there’s likely underutilized space that can be made into smart storage. Here’s how.
Look for Unexpected Shelving Spots
Every bathroom likely has a corner, a side of a cabinet, or a wall where there’s space for added shelving. Look at your bathroom with a keen eye to find spots where shelves will fit.
Hide Items Behind the Mirror
Many bathroom sink mirrors are also medicine cabinets with built-in shelving — the original smart storage ideas for small spaces. But you can apply the same principle to any mirror, even a full-length one. Many stores sell mirrors that double as cabinets, jewelry holders, and other smart storage solutions.
Add a Cabinet Over the Toilet
The wall space above your toilet is another space in homes that commonly goes to waste, when it’s prime for storage. You can buy pre-made cabinets designed to fit over a standard toilet, or just install some shelves on the wall above the tank.
Replace the Towel Rack with Hooks
A towel rack can take up a ton of wall space that could be used for other types of storage. Plus, a rack can generally only hold one or two towels at a time. Ditch the rack and replace it with hooks for hanging towels, bathrobes, loofahs, and other bathroom supplies. This takes better advantage of vertical space so you can store more in the same space a towel rack takes up.
Out of Wall Space? What About the Door?
For especially tiny bathrooms that have limited wall space for shelves or hooks, consider an over-the-door storage solution. These come in many styles, from shelves to baskets to transparent pockets, and provide lots of extra storage in a space that typically isn’t utilized.
Squeezing Storage Into Your Home Office
A home office — especially in a small house — is one area where smart storage ideas for small spaces are a must. After all, studies show that clutter makes us more stressed and less productive. Here’s how to reduce office clutter by creating new storage in a home office.
Use a Bookshelf as a Wall
Particularly if you don’t have a dedicated room to be your office at home, a bookshelf makes an excellent room divider for cordoning off a work area, while also providing a ton of new storage. Keep the feel of an open floorplan by opting for a shelf without a back, so it provides a divider, but you can still see through it.
Tuck Your Desk Into a Corner
One space that tends to go wasted in a lot of areas of people’s homes is the corners. Your office is a perfect place to put a corner to good use by placing (or building) a desk that fits into it. Especially in a small workspace, this can really help save space for other storage needs.
Build a Slat Wall
A pegboard isn’t the only way to create customizable wall storage. A slat wall is great for an office (or a bedroom or living room), and allows you to add or remove shelves and change their orientation whenever you want or need to.
Smart Storage Ideas for Small Spaces — Making the Most of All Your Home’s Living Space
Of course, there are a lot of ways to create storage in your home, that aren’t specific to a certain room or space. These tips will help you find smart storage in the living room, den, or wherever else you need it.
Turn Seating Into Storage
Wherever you have seating, you have the opportunity to create storage. From benches to ottomans to furniture with hidden storage built in, seating is practically made to double as smart storage.
Embrace Folding and Expanding Furniture
Need to make the most of a small space? Furniture that folds or expands gives you the opportunity to have large pieces when you want or need them, and then tuck them away to make better use of your space on a day-to-day basis. Entertaining in a tiny home? It can be done.
Another smart solution for multi-functional furniture is modular pieces, which can be combined in different configurations to create different styles of pieces. One collection of modular pieces could be turned into a sofa and loveseat set, a large sectional, and a bed.
Make Full Use of Corners
Offices aren’t the only parts of homes where corners tend not to be used to their full potential. Your living space likely also has corners that could be put to use for storage.
Use Exposed Studs for Shelving
It’s likely that the walls of your home have a potential storage feature built right into them that you aren’t taking advantage of. One design trend that’s gaining traction is to only cover one side of a wall’s supports with drywall, leaving the other side exposed and using the studs as shelving. It’s a unique look that’s also extremely functional. Plus, in small rooms, this provides shelving that’s built into the wall, rather than putting up shelves that stick out.
Store Items Under the Floor
Have you heard of floor cabinets? With the rise in tiny home popularity, they’ve become a more common design element. Think trap doors in your floor that lead to storage spaces built in right under your feet.
Use All the Vertical Space You Have
One mistake many people make when looking for new storage solutions is failing to look up. Homes come with a lot of vertical space that, when utilized well, can provide all kinds of new storage. Think hanging pots and pans from a rack in your kitchen, installing shelves all the way up to the ceiling, or hanging a clothes railing from the ceiling to create a closet in a room that doesn’t have one.
Mount a Shelf to the Ceiling
When we say use all your vertical space, we really mean all of it. Shelves can be mounted to the ceiling — not just walls — and some clever DIYers have even put together trap-door type storage that can be pulled down from the ceiling for keeping items out of sight when they’re not needed.
Hang Bulky Items on the Walls or Ceiling
Those who live in small homes know the struggle: What do you do with large, bulky items like sports equipment and musical instruments? Use that vertical space again, and hang them from the walls or the ceiling. In some cases, they can even double as decor.
Install Some Hidden Drawers
There are likely places in your home where a drawer could be installed, even where someone might not expect it. On kitchen islands, in window frames, and under furniture are all places where there’s likely to be room for an extra drawer.
Use Stairs as Storage
If your home has stairs, you have a lot of storage opportunities that they provide. Stairs can be made into drawers. Steps can be hollowed out to create shelves. You can build cabinets underneath a staircase. When it comes to using stairs as storage, you’re only limited by your own creativity.
Hide Items Inside Your Decor
There are a lot of decor items that can double as storage if you need them to. Add a hollow ottoman, a few baskets, or a large vase to a room where you need a little extra storage. All of these can hold at least a few items inside.
Use Outdoor Space, Too
Smart storage solutions definitely don’t need to be limited to the space you have inside your home. If you have any outdoor space, there are ways to create storage there, too, like sheds and lockboxes. Just make sure any outdoor storage is secure.
And if you need to find storage outside of your own home, a self-storage locker is always an option. But so is storing your belongings with a friend or neighbor who has some storage space to spare.
There Are Storage Opportunities All Over Your Home
All it takes is a little creativity to come up with storage ideas for small spaces. No matter how small your space may be, smart storage solutions are everywhere, and just waiting to be discovered.
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