Clever Ways to Increase the Storage Space in Your Home – Board & Vellum

Custom Residential, Interior Design

Clever Ways to Increase the Storage Space in Your Home

Not everyone can Marie Kondo all their extra stuff away — sometimes, you just need a little extra storage space, and we don’t mean you should go rent a storage unit. Here are ten ways to maximize the space you already have in your home to find additional (or previously under-utilized) space for storage.

April 16, 2019

“My house is definitely not big enough.” That’s very possibly something you’ve muttered to yourself. So many clients over the years have said they’ve thought this. Or maybe the garage is too small, or there isn’t room for a shed for your outdoor storage.

Whatever the specifics, Americans just have a lot of stuff and we want places to store it. Putting aside the argument that maybe you should just Marie Kondo your life and spark some joy up in your house, the reality is that people just always (and I do mean always) want more storage space. If you can’t add on, dig out that basement, pop in a pre-fab shed, or build another garage, what can you actually do? Here in a dense urban environment such as Seattle, there are still lots of options. (And, that's aside from paying for a storage unit, which many of you probably already have done!)

Here are a few tricks we like to recommend to gain additional storage space in your home.

  1. Go for a custom shed. Urban lots often don’t have room for those cheap pre-fabricated sheds you see at big box home stores.

    Capitol Hill Landscape – Capitol Hill Craftsman – Board & Vellum
    Capitol Hill Craftsman Landscape Design

    Photo by Derek Reeves.

    So, instead, building out a shed that specifically fits your property is a great way of making something work while also accommodating storage for lots of your yard supplies.

  2. Look under your stairs. There is plenty of usable storage under your stairs. Whether you go with built-in drawers or just a simple closet door to access the space under there, there’s often enough room to creatively store your holiday decorations or random seasonal items.

    Light-Filled Basement Remodel – Den with Built-In TV and storage under stairs.
    Light-Filled Basement Remodel

    Photo by John G Wilbanks.

    Try and plan for a full height door if you can, even if that means opening the door and seeing the side of the stair stringer beyond. It’ll generally look better than a half-height door.

  3. Build storage up to the kitchen ceiling. There’s a lot of stuff in your kitchen you may only use a few times a year. Storage cabinets that go right to the ceiling are great ways to capture additional storage for those rarely used items.

    Modern Kitchen in a Craftsman Home – Board & Vellum
    Modern Kitchen in a Craftsman Home

    Photo by Andrew Giammarco.

    It also looks better than an open space above your cabinets (or a drywall soffit up there) and helps visually raise the height of the space as well.

  4. Build out some custom casework. Custom casework is often very comparable to good furniture and can allow you to really maximize the space you have.

    Woodinville Pivot – Modern Interior Design – Board & Vellum
    Woodinville Pivot

    Photo by Travis Peterson.

    In lieu of a little desk, how about a floor to ceiling mini-home office to sort mail, store your keys, and charge your phone?

  5. Creative furniture solutions can solve all sorts of problems. Sometimes, it isn’t the big stuff you need to store but the little things. Where do your remotes go, or coffee table books?

    Crow's Nest Cottage – City Cottage – Board &  Vellum Interior Design FF&E
    Crow’s Nest Cottage

    Photo by Andrew Giammarco.

    In this example, a custom coffee table needed to fold down to clear a lowered murphy bed. That would mean having to clear the coffee table each night. Instead, the center ring of this table is lowered so things like remotes and magazines can stay put while the furniture drops down.

  6. Your mechanical equipment is probably taking up too much space. Older mechanical equipment takes up a lot of space. There are often massive mechanical rooms in older houses around here, which are opportunities to grab some square footage for storage. Not only will you get a greatly needed and beneficial upgrade to your home’s mechanical system, but you can often grab a lot more square footage. You can often even put your hot water on demand system outside, freeing up the room where the former hot water tank was.

  7. Look under your porch or deck. Our decks and porches have ugly undersides. Why not capture the space under that for storage? In my own front porch, there was about 3’ of vertical space under the porch. I located an access hatch on the side so it isn’t visible from the street, poured some concrete down there and suddenly I have a nice spot for kids bikes and our tandem wagon we use to wheel the kids down to the park in.

  8. Don’t forget storage space under your eaves! Second or third-floor spaces here in Seattle often have rooflines which come down low. Capture that triangle of space at the perimeter of your home for storage or a fun little space for kids.

    Addition to a Craftsman home. – Craftsman in Blue – Board & Vellum
    Craftsman in Blue

    Photo by Travis Peterson.

    In this bedroom, the built-in shelf you see is actually a hidden door to a fun little kid space!

  9. Your seat is often a great place to store things. A built-in bench not only makes for a smaller footprint needed for a dining area (as there’s no need to allocate space to walk behind the seating), but also gives you an opportunity to store things underneath the seat!

    Woodinville Pivot – Modern Interior Design – Board & Vellum
    Woodinville Pivot

    Photo by Travis Peterson.

    Hide the hinged bench top under a cushion and it’ll be stealth storage.

  10. Better shelving will solve more problems than you think. Sometimes, you don’t even need to go for any of the solutions above. A good modular and adjustable shelving system can be installed in the space you have and you’ll be surprised at how much additional storage you can get when you organize your space vertically as well.

All of us may not be able to let go of a lot of the things in our lives no matter how hard we try. There’s a lot of joy to be sparked, apparently. So, if you find yourself in that position, we hope you feel empowered to think creatively about your existing space and think of creative design solutions to max out the space you have now.

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