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Smart Storage Lessons: 10 Ideas from Small Spaces

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One of the revelations of living in a small home is that choosing less square footage doesn’t mean you necessarily have to make do with less, just that you need to be super smart about how you organize the space you do have. And, once you go into “storage genius” mode, it tends to have a ripple effect – many tiny homes end up with as much usable storage area as places with a larger footprint, thanks to the space-savvy residents. Here are a few small space storage secrets that will come in handy no matter the size of your home…let’s learn from the masters!

A classic hideaway storage solution does double duty in Mary Lee’s Life in 300 Square Feet. These crisp and stylish storage ottomans hide away plenty and tuck neatly under a floating shelf for seating that is there when you need it and out of the way when you don’t.

Urban living often means two things: small spaces and bike-friendly commutes. This photo from JoAnn’s Truly Happy Home shows how an (admittedly adorable) mode of transportation can also serve as interior decoration, while not taking up any valuable floor real estate. When in doubt, hang it up!

Think outside…the linen cabinet. If your dedicated storage for towels and hairdryers and the like is limited (or non-existent!), consider adding a piece of “furniture” to you bathroom. Many bathrooms, such as this one from Beth’s Charming Downsize have some unused space that can be maximized by the addition of a piece like this that has both open and closed storage area. The 12-16 inches of floor space won’t be missed in a room which usually only needs to accommodate one person at a time and the additional storage gained is a huge plus.

Always consider removing closet doors. This photo from Erin & James’ Easy to Live In is a perfect example of a doorway that, with a standard door (or even a folding style), would eat up lots of floor space and prevent the sofa from fitting into this opportune spot. By using a curtain closure instead, it’s streamlined and the door doesn’t affect the ideal flow of the room.

Embrace decorative storage opportunities. If you love books (and who doesn’t?) you know that finding room for all of your beloved tomes can become a challenge. Luckily, books are also awesomely attractive. This example from Jason’s Charm & Potential shows that, with a little styling magic, a shelf or two worth of books can add some welcome visual interest to an unused fireplace. Win, win.

Think about the face of your hidden storage. The murphy bed in Garrett’s Everything Every Day apartment hides away during the day behind the grand, nearly floor-to-ceiling mirror which serves to decorate, visually expand and increase the natural light usage in this tiny home. Whereas a blank front would have taken away from the ambiance of this room, the mirror improves it.

Wall hung storage can be both useful and decorative if you minimize the visual impact of the actual storage containers by having them blend in with the surroundings. This white-on-white wall organizer in Julia’s Cabin in the Hills is a perfect example of the power of going monochromatic for open storage.

Let your storage solution also help to define your space. In this case, a simple open shelving unit is extended up to the ceiling and nearly wall-to-wall, creating a truly separate-feeling bedroom in deRaismes’ Vintage Finds studio. While this definitely provides a huge amount of storage, its room dividing duty is equally important to the success of the space.

Two basic bookcases form a “hidden” library headboard in Caitlin’s Treetop Daydreams apartment. The curtains soften the look, add color, pattern and texture to the overall interior design and can be closed for a more visually restful look.

When you really, really, really need some serious storage, consider building a raised platform in part of your space and make use of the now-underfoot space. In Silvana’s Innovative Interior apartment, the riser also helps to define the bedroom area within the studio layout.

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