John Lewis Oxford Modular Storage Cube Units offer versatile small space storage solutionsToday 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

Image via Apartment Therapy
When floor space is limited, making the most of all vertical space is crucial.  How can your storage go as high as possible?

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.

Storage solution for small spaces - Hahn Square Ceiling Rack for kitchen storageHahn Premium Square Ceiling Rack

Bixby Bike Rack Wall Shelf storage solution for small spaces

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.

Nook Tower Storage Unit, West ElmSstorage solutions for small spaces, tall Nook Tower Storage Unit with drawers and shelves from West Elm

Bethan Gray Genevieve Tall Boy with Mirror.Genevieve Tallboy Unit with Mirror by Bethan Gray for John Lewis  A tall, shallow set of drawers that incorporates a mirror too.

Storage solutions for small spaces with Clerkenwell Walnut Sideoard and Shelf UnitThe 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.

Use Content by Conran Balance Units as storage solutions for small spaces

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.

Multifunctional mirror with shelf and hooks is perfect storage solution for small spaces

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).

Kitchen banquette seating with storage for small spaces (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.

La Redoute Ladder Shelving/Desk White Ladder Shelf and Grey Ladder Shelf/Desk from La Redoute


John Lewis Clothes Rail and Shelf Unit abd Shoe Rack in Black, ideal storage solutions for small spaces

John Lewis Clothes Rail and Shelf Unit

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.

The Embrace Coffee Table with storage for small spacesEmbrace Coffee Table

Bergerac Storage BedContemporary storage beds in grey and red


Kartell Componobili Storage UnitsKartell Componibili Storage Units in White and Black 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.

The Tower Modular Shelving Unit from Heal's provides versatilestorage solutions for small spacesA great example is the stylish and versatile Tower Shelving System from Heal’s, above and below.

 Heal's Tower Modular Shelving Unit, contemporary wood and powder coated steel modular storage units

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.

Muuto Stacked Modular Storage System in Ash and WhiteAnother 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.

5.  Compatibility

When buying storage containers it pays to choose items that are compatible and offer flexible storage solutions.

Muji Stacking PP Storage Boxes

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

Reconfigurable storage solutions for small spaces with the Muuto Stacked Storage SystemAs 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.

Vitra Uten.Silo Storage System in white, versatile wall hung storage solution for small spaces

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.

Oxford Modular Storage Cube Units from John LewisThe 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.

Bisley Office Storage Units in Blue, Grey and White for smart home office storage solutions

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.

Modular Cube Storage solutions for small spaces

Oxford Modular Cube 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.

So there you have it, our top storage solutions for small spaces.  I hope you’ve found it helpful – happy small space organising.

Enjoyed our Best Storage Solutions for Small Spaces? Check out all our Small Space Living Solutions

Find more contemporary furniture for small spaces in our new Small Space Living section:

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