Today we’re looking at stylish, clever and efficient storage solutions for small spaces. I’ve lived in some exceedingly tiny places over the years, including one studio flat the size of a postage stamp. So I know first-hand the challenge of living comfortably and stylishly in a tiny home whilst maximising all available storage options.
Small space living poses a big aesthetic challenge because your storage solutions are on permanent display. In a small home you don’t have the luxury of loads of cupboard space, or of attics, cellars and spare rooms 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. The solution? To get creative with our small-space storage ideas – and that’s just what this post is all about.
As well as looking good, storage solutions for small spaces also need to be super-functional and efficient. Can you access what you need easily and quickly? I know how time-wasting (and stressful) it is 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 to maximise every square centimetre of your small living space – beautifully.
6 of the best smart storage solutions for small spaces
1. THINK VERTICAL
When floor space is limited, making the most of all vertical space is crucial. How can you make your storage go as high as possible in as many rooms as possible?
Go high with clever storage solutions that use normally wasted space
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.
You can even hange your bike(s) on the wall to make a stylish feature out of a necessity.
Hahn Premium Square Ceiling Rack
Reclaimed wood Bike Wall Hanger by Smoke and Sawdust on Etsy UK
Furniture for small rooms should have a small footprint
When it comes to free standing furniture, choose tall units with a small footprint. This could be narrow, shallow, or both.Foundry Narrow Bookcase, West Elm
Bow 5 Drawer Tall Boy Chest in Oak, part of the wallet-friendly House range by John Lewis. A tall, shallow set of drawers with clean, minimal styling.
The very stylish Patton Oak and Metal Shelving Unit combines a roomy 2-door cabinet with black metal-framed shelving above. Slim metal legs keep the look light and create space around and under the piece – a classic visual device for making small spaces look bigger.
Shelving for small spaces can 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 STORAGE SOLUTIONS MULTIFUNCTIONAL
As with all small space furniture, storage for small homes is best when multifunctional and highly versatile. You’ll be amazed at how many opportunities there are around your home to add in extra storage – in style.
Versatile & multi-tasking storage for small spaces
Bastogne Wood Storage Hallway Bench, above. A bench in the hallway earns its keep by having baskets or boxes underneath for shoes/hats/gloves.
A mirror/shelf/hooks combo in the hallway or bedroom doubles up again on storage opportunities.
Browse: Top 10 Mirrors with Shelves
(Image via Decoist, Design: Peachtree Architects)
Can a window seat be built with storage below? Ditto for banquette seating in a small kitchen, as above. (This is a brilliant way to shoehorn a dining area into a tiny kitchen, by the way).
Or choose a ladder shelf that’s also a desk, a coffee table with storage that doubles as a footstool, a storage trunk that’s a bedside table, etc. You get the idea … 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.
You might like to browse these 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 FOR MAXIMUM STORAGE VERSATILITY
Look out for small space 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 and love its versatility. The units come in white or ash, with or without a backboard. And the biggest bonus, apart from their clean, Scandi style? They can be arranged and rearranged as you choose, either floor standing or wall mounted.
Created in 1949 by Nils Strinning, the elegant and understated string® Shelving System includes shelves, storage and desk sections. It can be extended and reconfigured endlessly to suit your changing requirements, plus it’s a design classic and will never go out of style.
5. COMPATIBILITY IS THE KEY TO EFFICIENT STORAGE
When buying storage containers it pays to choose items that are compatible and offer flexible storage solutions.
Stackable storage drawers give you quick and easy access to your stuff and are a genuine life changer. Whereas a rickety pile of random storage boxes will just stress you out again and again and again. (I can’t tell you what a difference these have made to our home over the years).
Try the excellent and stackable Like-it Plastic Storage Drawers from John Lewis & Partners, above and below. Different size drawers fit together neatly and can be added to and swapped around infinitely – in just about every room in the house.
These SmartStore storage boxes come in a range of sizes and are stackable. They’re stylishly monochrome, and another plus is that you can easily see the contents.
6. STYLE THAT STORAGE – AND DECLUTTER REGULARLY
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 unique and personal 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.
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.The very versatile John Lewis Cube Modular Storage Cube Units come in a range of sizes and have the option of open shelves or natural or painted wood doors for when you want to hide clutter away. You can mix and match the modular elements – and the colours – and the legs are optional too.
So there you have it, our top storage solutions for small spaces. I hope you’ve found it helpful – happy small space organising.
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