Storage Optimization Ideas for Small Spaces

Everywhere you look, real estate is at a premium. 

There’s always a need for more space, for storage at least. You’ll always want to buy more clothes, books, bags, pretty little trinkets, furniture, home decor, etc, etc. And, it’ll be very challenging to make room for all these when you live in a small or tiny home. 

Therefore, you need to prioritize. There are a few dos and don’ts when decorating a tiny space

In this article, we’re going to show you some attractive yet easy-to-do design techniques that will help optimize and maximize your storage space, especially for smaller homes. To begin, you’ll notice two common themes along the way. 

  1. Work vertically, walls are your savior
  2. Making every piece count, more than once

Read on to find out how. 

1. Under-the-bed storage

Raise your bed. Not only does this define your sleeping area, but also gives you the chance to repurpose that platform into the ultimate storage space. Basically, the length of the platform plus the width of your bed dictates how much storage space you’ll get. If you have more space to play with, you can extend this more on either side of your bed or raise it higher!

It will be cute to go up a step or two to reach your bed.

Incorporate large drawers depending on what you want to put there. This affords you storage for larger or bulkier items. Maybe start with beddings, sheets and towels, extra pillows or large workout gear since closet space might be limited too. 

Elevated bed, on a high platform to give ample storage space under the bed

Photo source: Trendir

2. Hollowed-out stairs

Another often overlooked area that can be easily transformed into ample storage space is the area beneath the stairs. There are multiple ways to make use of this rather large void. 

You can have several levels of pull-out drawers that will easily hold all your shoes, maybe some bags that wouldn’t fit into the closet, or your luggages. It can also hold toys, seasonal wardrobe or other stuff that you don’t use everyday. 

Reaching towards the upper steps gives you quite a bit of height so you can turn it into a brooms closet where all your cleaning supplies and mops can be stored. Those full length cabinets can also turn into a pull-out bookshelf or an area to hold sports equipment and workout gear.

Large kids' playroom under the stairs

Photo source: Extra Space Storage

Otherwise, you can play around with the space a bit more. If you don’t need so much extra storage, you can simply add in a drawer or two below each step, then the blank space under those can hold a water feature or a tiny garden. That set up will breathe new life into that space. Create a small area for your home decor to inject a bit more personality to the space.

Another genius idea is to revamp it into a study or work area with open shelves. Now you have a perfect little quiet corner to work. Depth and height allow, you can turn into the cupboard under the stairs, getting inspiration from Harry Potter, to have a little reading nook there. If not, it will be the perfect bedroom for your furry little friend, if you have one. 

Photo source: Bob Vila

3. Floating furniture pieces 

When there’s limited, precious real estate, you’ll want to think of ways to keep as much as you can off the floor. Your answer – floating pieces. Forego nightstands and lamps that take up additional space because there are many pretty wall-installed choices that will fit whatever theme you’ve got going. 

The first floating piece you can go for are sconces. There are numerous choices of these wall lighting accents and they can add a lot of character that work for indoor and outdoor spaces. So, if you have a small patio or balcony, you won’t need to sacrifice any of that space with sconce lights. 

Bedroom wall-mounted reading lights

Photo source: HGTV

Other floating pieces to explore are desks, pull-out shelves, chairs, and the like. You can go one step further and make them folding pieces. Basically, things you don’t use 24/7, you can fold and stick to the wall. These options free up floor space that you could otherwise use to put in extra decorative baskets, maybe an ottoman, an extra accent shelf that can spruce up your small space. 

Plus, it gives you a lot more room for movement. 

Photo source: DigsDigs

4. Floor-to-ceiling bookshelves 

Best way to optimize storage space in small homes is to make full use of your walls. You have to truly look vertically. 

For this point, try using the full length of your space by incorporating built-in floor-to-ceiling bookshelves. We’re only calling it ‘bookshelves’ but really, it could hold just whatever you wish to put on display. It’s the ultimate area to show off all your favorite decorative items.  

Uneven bookshelf height with trailing plants on top for added decor

Photo source: Unsplash

Also, you don’t have to ensure that all levels are of the same height. Play around with the height of certain areas to allow yourself bigger accent pieces. This way, it’ll not look monotonous and there’s a certain visual interest in the wall as a whole. Don’t forget to add small plants to breathe life into the space.

Quick interesting tip: this could even serve as the backdrop of your zoom meetings to add more personality to your online-slash-video-conference image. 

Full bookshelf backdrop filled with books and random decor

Photo source: Daily Advent

5. Open shelves

As we continue to look upwards, open shelves are the next thing you can have to optimize storage space. Have these in otherwise empty wall areas. Often, you’ll see this as simple kitchen storage designs where it’s functional and can effectively spruce up the space. 

These are very handy and easy to install. Plus, you can customize the length and arrangement to fit perfectly on your wall space. It also affords you a bit of artistry because you can position the shelves any way you want. 

Minimalist open shelves beside a TV

Photo source: West Elm

There are different types of open shelf designs. When you choose wooden boards, it adds that modern farmhouse, country chic texture to your space that makes it comfy and homey. Other options come in different shapes and sizes – there are squares, rectangles and hexagons – which can really bring to life a plain, white wall. 

And because these are open for all to see, make sure you place things in order and add a little bit of decor or personalized it for it to be more ‘you’.

Open shelves in the kitchen

Photo source: House Beautiful

6. Pegboard in the kitchen

While we’re in the kitchen, you can complement those open shelves with peg boards. Having a uniformed, clean look, pegboards are a great addition to wall storage space without adding to the clutter or hassle of installation. 

You’ve probably seen this in some garages looking sleek and organized. Well, turns out they fit quite well in your kitchen too. 

Decorating using pegboards in the kitchen

Photo source: Homedit

Pegboards are perfect for hanging and organizing the frequently used items and in your kitchen – like spices, sauce bottles, other condiments, some spatulas and pans. You decide how your kitchen pegboard will look because you’re in control of where the pegs will go. 

Hanging items directly on the pegs is the most straightforward way. But for the spices and condiments, let another board rest on the pegs then display them on top. You can also hang baskets on pegs and store fruits and vegetables in them for a cool, colorful display.

This way, you’ll have horizontal and vertical items on display. It will be an eye-catcher of kitchen essentials. Quick tip: don’t overwhelm your kitchen wall with pegboards, one or two will do, since you’re only using it for small or everyday items. Perhaps, you can also add in a cute decor or two.

Pegboard for displaying small decor

Photo source: Square Inch Home

7. Suspended from the ceiling

Now is the time to go the extra vertical mile. Ceiling storage is seen more and more in the other parts of the home, besides the garage. You can see pots and pans hanging from the ceiling. In some restaurants and bars, wine glasses hang from above, ready and easy to get anytime. 

For open storage options like those that hang, they’re for everyday items. On the other hand, there is also the option to install ceiling-high cabinets which are used for seasonal or special occasions. They do not serve as decorative displays and will be harder to reach.  

Hanging storage above the kitchen island for pots and pans

Photo source: Veranda

When deciding to have storage options from the ceiling, there are three points you need to be fully aware of first:

  1. How much weight can your ceiling carry – we don’t want the entire thing collapsing on top of us
  2. How big is the storage base you’re planning to install – the top design should not overpower the bottom area, especially if on top of an island.
  3. What items you foresee will be placed on top – this will identify the size and weight factors.
Installed open ceiling shelves in the kitchen for small everyday items

Photo source: Decoist

8. Double duty furniture

For any tiny house or small apartment, it is always wise to let each furniture you have do their work. In this case, double duty. We’re no longer looking at the walls and vertical space but on the ground.

There are different ways furniture can be multifunctional – as storage, room dividers, extra seating, or as display tables. Here are some examples that you can easily incorporate into your space without any renovation needed:

  1. Bookshelves that double as room dividers give ample extra storage, serving several platforms for decor and other items and helps define a space.
  2. Benches or ottomans or center tables that provide a secret storage space when you take the lid off. Hidden storage is the perfect dumping site for things you don’t want your guests to see but maybe use everyday.
  3. Other consoles, benches or ottomans can provide extra seating instead. With a cushioned top or stools hidden underneath, you pull them out when needed and just push them back in to get your floor space back.
  4. Small dressers doubling as a nightstand or bedside table
  5. Daybeds are your beds and sofas, saving you the need to buy a bulky furniture piece. And best yet, they give you more storage space especially when propped on a platform (see point #1)
Double duty storage seats

Photo source: Homedit

9. Banquette seating 

Continuing along the same lines of double duty furniture, you can also opt to have banquette seating in your dining area. 

Banquette seating are perfect for little eating areas or breakfast nooks that are usually in corners. They get a good amount of natural light because they’re placed beside large windows – giving you a functional area that can also be a perfect little area for relaxation. 

Besides that, there are a few other advantages to having banquette seating:

  1. You can accommodate more people because it’s a long bench. Depending on the length, you can opt for a long, rectangular table or a circular one. 
  2. You don’t waste any corners because the bench runs along the walls, following its turns and curves.
  3. The best part, it gives you substantial extra storage if you hollow it out and allow the seat to lift. Another option is to install drawers if you don’t prefer the open-top design. Now you’re all set to entertain friends with a neat and homey dining area. 

Photo source: Country Living

10. Wall mounted TV shelf

As we continue to get things off the ground, a mounted TV shelf is the way to go to combine entertainment and storage space optimization. Instead of having a console with a TV on it, you quadruple your storage by making the entire wall your storage. 

Plus, there’s flexibility in the shape you want your TV shelf to take. It could follow the contours of your space, be a regular wide rectangle or you can give uneven levels, making it more of a visual interest. 

Similar to the bookshelves (in point #4), this is also a perfect wall that could showcase all your pretty decor, some personalized items and even indoor plants. 

Full shelf with a space for a wall-mounted TV

Photo source: Unsplash

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