10 Excellent Ideas for Alcove Storage
Those spaces either side of your chimney breast – are you making the most of them? Read on to find out
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Painting walls, skirting boards, shelves, fireplace surround and mantel all the same colour is a statement – and it works.
This kind of colour-blocking, here by Andrew Jonathan Design, is a particularly good foil in households with lots of colourful objects, books or artworks to display. The strong shade causes other colours to ‘jump out’ at you, without the bitty visual clutter that different paintwork shades might create.
Bringing alcove storage out of the alcoves, as seen in this room designed by Alexander Martin Architects, is an interesting idea. It changes the proportions of the room, provides two bonus areas of closed storage, and works really well with a small wood-burning stove like this one.
If this gorgeously grown-up TV and cocktail room appeals, consider the elements that give it its luxe looks.
The cabinets are pretty showstopping for starters: the glass doors bounce light around, and brass mesh behind them ties into accessories in the rest of the room while hiding the contents.
Marble tops let the cabinets double as work surfaces – good spots to mix drinks as well as display flowers. Mirrored splashbacks add depth and more glamour to the space. The shelf for glasses is a stylish touch that not only looks good, but makes the far corner a highly functional spot, too.
Another interesting choice for topping alcove cabinets is cast and polished concrete, as employed here by Claude Clemaron Bespoke Wood Interiors. See how it matches the mantelpiece top and hearth for visually calming continuity.
The shelves are made of high-grade MDF, strengthened internally then spray-painted, along with the closed cabinetry, before installation for a professional finish.
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To maximise storage space, it’s tempting to squeeze in as many cupboards and shelves as possible. Yet this room, designed by 2LG Studio, is an exercise in restraint on that front – ideal if you don’t have masses to store in your living room.
The closed cupboards are low to the ground and shelving starts high and looks wonderful filled with plants – something to consider if you have room for books elsewhere. Painting the shelves a different colour to the walls really works, too, especially here as part of a palette of blues.
Employing one cabinet for extra seating is practical in a small living room, and also allows for an additional textile to add interest to the overall scheme.
An Artful Life designed this petite room, including the alcove storage, with simplicity at its heart. Just two shelves each side, painted black to tie in with various accessories and the wood-burning stove between them, ensure the space isn’t overwhelmed.
The shelves aren’t the often-seen floating ones, but fixed with brackets, allowing the surfaces to be neatly slim.
The storage created leaves a nook for a log bucket and makes space for books, artwork and houseplants. Not taking the shelving up to the ceiling tricks the eye into seeing more height than there is at the back of the room.
Read about the surprising ways an interior designer could help you.
There’s no rule that your alcoves should match. Here, Hart Design And Construction has built the perfect alcove storage for a cosy, country cottage with eclectic style.
Box shelving is good if you have a variety of things to store and display. Carrying a little of it over to the right-hand side ties the alcoves together without going matchy-matchy (as does the continuation of the skirting board – it’s all in the detail).
The tall floor cabinet adds deep storage and a nook for the coal scuttle to nestle into. The breathable mesh front means it could be used for logs if needed.
It’s a small detail but a good look: see how these cabinets, designed by Sarah Vanrenen Designs, have been built to float above the floor?
Having furniture you can see underneath can help to bring a sense of more space to smaller rooms – though of course you’ll need to remember to vacuum under them!
If you’re a book-loving household, or a vinyl junkie, these towering wooden shelves by Martyn Clarke Architecture may appeal.
There’s a convention for built-in cupboards at floor level, but do you really have anything you’d need to store in such spaces? These days, when TVs can be wall-mounted and bulky audio-visual kit and DVDs aren’t necessary, they could find themselves redundant.
This idea is especially lovely if you have a grown-up room dedicated to reading or listening.
Rather than separate cupboards and shelves, this idea ties them together. A pair of matching tall units, by Hartmann Designs, provides open box shelving for books or ornaments, and space on top for more of the same. The tiny drawers are handy for remotes and the small-scale clutter living rooms often collect.
Larger cupboards and the glass door sections allow for more substantial storage, including glassware and perhaps drinks and mixers.
Which of these ideas would work in your home and why? Share your ideas (or completed project photos) in the Comments section.