How to Sneakily Pack More Storage Into Your Flat
These compact homes show you how to make more of the space you have
Finding efficient uses for awkward corners, adding raised platforms or cleverly utilising height can all bring exciting storage possibilities. Take a look at these ideas.
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The first and most obvious place to put to work is your walls. However, in a flat – especially if it’s open-plan – you might not have many. So consider the option of dividing up the space with ‘storage walls’, which can be full height, full width or anything in between.
The most efficient solutions are bespoke, as these can then be customised to your particular needs, but you can also buy storage wall units that may do the job nicely, too.
Extending the shelving over any doors or openings is a great additional trick that will enable you to claim a few more metres for your books or collections.
One sure way to make a flat feel small is to not have specific places to store things, because then they just get piled up in a corner.
It doesn’t have to be this way! With limited space and a lot of different things to store, the perfect solution is to gather as many items as possible in one place and working together in harmony. Whether you find the perfect flatpack wardrobe system, ready to go, or decide to have something bespoke created, the key is to have everything organised properly, with each set of similar items given a suitably sized space, as in this room.
In no time, what could otherwise be a cacophony of chaos can become a wall of orchestrated delight.
Sometimes, the most straightforward and obvious solutions can be the most effective. It’s easy to overthink a problem, so if you have items you’re happy to look at, why not just hang them from the ceiling? For larger objects, like these bikes, you’ll need a higher ceiling (though hanging from the ceiling and against a wall buys you a little more space, as headroom won’t be an issue).
If you don’t have lofty proportions to play with, you can still easily suspend a hanging rail for clothes or a row of hooks for pots and pans from a ceiling of any height.
Think you have no room for extra storage? Think again…
One of the least-utilised spaces in your flat may well be the one beneath your feet…
A good starting point when you’re thinking about storage is to work out what it is you want to stash – shoes, books, toys, food, clothes? – and then how visible you want the items to be. Now you’re ready to create a storage space appropriate to its function. Look around and locate a spot that could be suitable if adapted.
In this example, the need was to store jewellery. Creating a shallow cupboard in a section of wall between the timber studwork can be a ideal space for small items that need room to be displayed, but normally don’t have a resting place.
Wherever a space exists, a storage opportunity exists. However, these spots might not immediately be obvious.
This pull-down compartment slotted into the side of a bath, for example, is ingenious – but, as with many spaces that have the potential to be unlocked for storage, it will have required some bespoke joinery to transform the bath panel into a functional feature.
A potential option for this is the risers of any steps or stairs you may have in your flat. These can become drawers for shoes, blankets or any bits and bobs you want to keep at hand but not on display.
When is a bed not a bed? When it’s a home office! Sometimes, a restriction of space can lead to the most ingenious of solutions that don’t have to cost a fortune if you keep the construction and materials relatively simple.
This bed with a desk integrated into the headboard is made from birch-faced plywood, but it could be made from softwood and painted for a less expensive version, or made from solid timber such as oak, beech or other sustainable hardwood for a more upmarket look, depending on the style and feel of your flat.
It’s a given that keeping a flat feeling airy and spacious is much easier if it’s clutter-free, but another idea is that minimising the number of functions a room has to perform will significantly enhance the sense of space and restfulness. In a flat, however, that’s not always possible. So what’s the solution?
Building some serious cupboards will help you tidy away that clutter (ie, your belongings), but using the same technique to disguise functional zones could boost that longed-for airy feel, too. Install a set of sliding or folding doors to hide away anything from a home office to a small kitchen, especially if it’s against one wall in an open-plan room. At the end of a long day, none of us wants to be reminded of the work we didn’t complete or the dishes we haven’t washed.
When space is in short supply, one clever way to maximise the area you have is to make your furniture work really hard for you and have more than one function. Storage boxes are probably one of the most cost-effective and versatile containers you can employ for this purpose. The next photo shows just how versatile they can be.
The great thing is that you can even buy boxes like this off the shelf and screw them together, though of course there’s also the option of getting them made to order if your space is an unusual size or shape.
When buying boxes like these ready-made, it’s important to ensure they have a solid core made from materials such as MDF, plywood or a softwood such as pine. Some boxes – particularly those with a laminate finish – often have a hollow core, which makes them very difficult to fix together and unable to withstand a lot of weight. So check the make-up carefully before forking out and be wary of anything that seems too cheap to be true – it will probably be hollow.
A clever piece of furniture with a dual purpose can also be a great storage solution for your flat. For example, instead of dividing your room with a fixed partition, think about a rotating room divider like this. It could be made to a width and height to suit your space and storage needs, and incorporate shelves or cupboards. When floor area is in short supply, if one piece of storage can service two areas, then you’re onto a winner.
Another way to get some flexible dual purpose storage is to transform sturdy boxes into extra seating by adding cushions. You can then fix on wheels to make them mobile, allowing you to maximise the floor space.
Do you have any tips for owners of flats and small homes? Share them in the Comments.