Today we’re looking at stylish, clever and efficient storage solutions for small spaces. Having lived in some exceedingly tiny places over the years, I know the pitfalls of trying to live comfortably and stylishly in a tiny home.
A major challenge on the style front is that your storage solutions are usually also on permanent display in a small space. You don’t have the luxury of oodles of spare room in which to hide things away. So small space storage solutions need to be something that you’re happy to look at all day, every day.
Practically speaking, storage solutions for small spaces also need to be super-functional and efficient. Can you access what you need easily and quickly? I know just how time-wasting (and stressful) it can be to have to constantly move things from place to place, just to accomplish the simplest everyday task.
So here are my six best storage tips for making the most of every square centimetre of your small living space.
6 of the best smart storage solutions for small spaces
1. Think vertical
Up, up and away
For fixtures and fittings, put shelves above head height in narrow hallways or corridors, hang racks for pots and utensils from walls and ceilings in the kitchen, and fit shelving and cupboards around and over doorways.
Even bikes can be wall hung to make a stylish feature out of a necessity.
Bixby Bike Rack Wall Shelf by Bike Abode
Small footprint pieces
When it comes to free standing furniture, choose tall units with a small footprint. This could be narrow, shallow, or both.
Bethan Gray Genevieve Tall Boy with Mirror. A tall, shallow set of drawers that incorporates a mirror too.
The Clerkenwell Walnut Sideboard and Shelving Unit combines a roomy sideboard with cupboards and drawers with a stylish black metal framed shelving unit above. The matching base of the sideboard keeps the look light and creates space around and under the piece – a classic visual device for making small spaces look bigger.
Go lateral too
Shelves don’t just have to go on walls. So go lateral as well as vertical by using shelves as room dividers. This is a brilliant, multi-tasking and space-saving storage solution for creating different zones in a small living space or studio flat.
Ranging in size from low to tall, the versatile Balance Units by Content by Conran are free standing and create perfect room dividers.
2. Make it multifunctional
As with all small space furniture, storage for small homes is best when multifunctional.
Versatile & multi-tasking
A bench in the hallway earns its keep by having baskets or boxes underneath for shoes/hats/gloves. Adding a mirror/shelf/hooks combo above it doubles up again on storage opportunities.
Browse: Top 10 Mirrors with Shelves
Can a window seat be built with storage below? Ditto for banquette seating in a small kitchen (a brilliant way to shoehorn a dining area into a tiny kitchen).
(Image via Decoist, Design: Peachtree Architects)
Or choose a ladder shelf that’s also a desk, a coffee table that doubles as a footstool, a stool that can do duty as a side table … the opportunities are endless.
3. Optimise, optimise, optimise
Ensuring that every possible piece of furniture also provides optimal storage solutions will make a huge difference in your small space.
Choose furniture with the maximum amount of storage space incorporated into its design. So that means beds with storage, coffee tables with shelves or drawers (or even better, both). Ditto bedside tables, side tables and home desks.
Kartell Componobili Storage Units can double up as side tables or bedside tables.
Browse past articles on small space furniture with storage:
Top 10 Coffee tables with storage for small spaces
Top 10 Contemporary home desks for small spaces
Top 10 Console tables for small spaces
Top 10 Side tables with storage for small spaces
4. Go modular
Look out for storage solutions that are modular and can be reconfigured and/or added to as your needs change.
A great example is the stylish and versatile Tower Shelving System from Heal’s, above and below.
It’s configurable in a multitude of ways, including creating a desk. It’s also free standing with adjustable feet, so perfect as a room divider.
Another contemporary favourite is the Muuto Stacked Modular System – we have it at home. The units come in white or ash, with or without a backboard, and can be arranged and rearranged as you choose, either floor standing or wall mounted.
When buying storage containers it pays to choose items that are compatible and offer flexible storage solutions.
Personal favourites (I have a lot of these) are the excellent PP Stackable Drawer Storage Boxes from Muji, above. Different size drawers fit together neatly and can be added to and swapped around infinitely.
Also, stackable storage drawers give you quick and easy access to your stuff. A rickety pile of random storage boxes won’t.
6. Style that storage
As I said at the start, storage solutions for small spaces are usually on display all the time. So they need to be good to look at as well as functional. Here’s how:
Blend storage in
Having your storage solutions blend in with the room can help them disappear and create an uncluttered look. So make shelves and cupboards the same colour as the walls, and the same goes for any storage containers on display.
The Vitra Uten Silo Storage System in white on a white wall will make it disappear like magic.
Make storage a design statement
Alternatively, turn your storage choices into deliberate, considered design features that add colour, pattern and texture to the space. This could be in the form of woven storage baskets, decorative boxes, mirrored doors or painted storage units.
The John Lewis Oxford Modular Storage Cube Units have a choice of natural or painted wood doors for when you want to hide clutter away. You can mix and match the modular elements – and the colours.
These Bisley Office Storage Units are bang on trend colour-wise and can be used anywhere in the home. Create a DIY home ‘office’ area by using a couple of the medium units as storage and trestle legs in one. Just add a desktop of your choice
Mix and match
The reality is that you’ll probably mix and match the two approaches, which will also work as long as you follow some small-space rules.
Remember, the overall aim is to create a streamlined, coherent look so be disciplined. Restricting yourself to just one or two main colours, and the same with your choice of materials, will result in a refined look that makes your small living space look larger than it is.
So there you have it, our top storage solutions for small spaces. I hope you’ve found it helpful – happy small space organising.