10 Clever Ways to Sneak Storage Into Your Renovation

By Jennifer Baum Lagdameo / Published by Dwell
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If you're aiming to live a minimalist lifestyle, hidden storage is an absolute must.

If you're planning on renovating, take it as an opportunity to optimize your space and build some custom storage options that are both sleek and valuable. Here are 10 thoughtful ways to squeeze in some extra storage without sacrificing your vision.


Staircase Cabinets

For this project in Fukushima Prefecture, Japanese architect Kotaro Anzai took inspiration from a centuries-old design concept—creating a custom-built kaidan dansu, or staircase cabinet, to connect the living room to the second story of this 1,078-square-foot home. 

 In traditional Japanese houses, clever carpenters often combine staircases with storage to maximize living space. 

 In traditional Japanese houses, clever carpenters often combine staircases with storage to maximize living space. 

Photo by Osamu Abe

A Wall of Storage

Designer Vicki Simon’s gut renovation of a 912-foot vacation loft in Lake Tahoe’s Squaw Valley resulted in a bright, airy, and lighthearted space that’s filled with smart built-in storage elements. 

The custom cabinetry is made with bleached rift-cut white oak and finished with mirror pulls. Created by David Amble Cabinetry, the cabinets were designed to be put to serious use—one holds extra folding dining chairs while another hides a Murphy bed.

The custom cabinetry is made with bleached rift-cut white oak and finished with mirror pulls. Created by David Amble Cabinetry, the cabinets were designed to be put to serious use—one holds extra folding dining chairs while another hides a Murphy bed.

Photo by Kat Alves

A "Box" Divider With Hidden Storage

The Islington Maisonette is a minimal home located in London and was designed by Larissa Johnston Architects. The large, open-plan living, kitchen, and dining area on the lower floor was carefully designed with a linear plywood ‘box’ inserted into the main space—containing the kitchen, stairs, and a series of storage units and shelves. 

Clean lines, plywood, and ample hidden storage give this home a sleek and contemporary look. 

Clean lines, plywood, and ample hidden storage give this home a sleek and contemporary look. 

Courtesy of Larissa Johnston Architects

A Raised Platform of Storage

Reminiscent of under-the-bed storage, this Japanese home was designed with  a raised platform offering ample storage space.

This Japanese home features a clever built in storage design—a "hidden space," under a raised platform.

This Japanese home features a clever built in storage design—a "hidden space," under a raised platform.

Angled Storage wall

With clever storage and a retractable skylight, this London apartment feels much larger than its 576 square feet.

Additional storage was built along one angled wall of the bedroom loft and beneath the skylight.

Additional storage was built along one angled wall of the bedroom loft and beneath the skylight.

bPhoto by Joakim Blockstrom/b

Go Vertical

In New York City, space is at a premium—so when this couple decided to stay in their existing 620-square-foot one-bedroom apartment and renovate to accommodate their growing family instead of moving, they gave their children the one bedroom, turning their main living space into both their bedroom and family room. The redesign by Ferda Kolatan and Erich Schoenenberger of su11 architecture+design included many clever storage solutions.

Seldom-needed stuff (luggage, winter clothes, etc.) is stashed in high built-in storage cabinets in the childrens' bedroom.

Seldom-needed stuff (luggage, winter clothes, etc.) is stashed in high built-in storage cabinets in the childrens' bedroom.

Photo by David Allee

Streamline Everything

This San Francisco renovation by architect Cary Bernstein is full of smart storage solutions, which keep the home clutter-free and let the structure shine. 

In the entryway, drawers tuck under the mezzanine, niches hold artwork, and speakers are built in-line with the cabinets.

In the entryway, drawers tuck under the mezzanine, niches hold artwork, and speakers are built in-line with the cabinets.

Photo by Aaron Wojack

A Hidden Bar

If you can squeeze it in, a hidden bar can be your secret weapon when  entertaining. 

The wall beneath the stairs of this Beverly Hills home holds hidden storage, which includes an Enomatic wine dispenser and Sub-Zero refrigerated drawers.

The wall beneath the stairs of this Beverly Hills home holds hidden storage, which includes an Enomatic wine dispenser and Sub-Zero refrigerated drawers.

Photo by José Mandojana

Entryway Shoe Storage

Generous shoe storage can be the key to an uncluttered setup in your entryway.

The base of the stairwell includes a hidden compartment to conveniently store shoes.

The base of the stairwell includes a hidden compartment to conveniently store shoes.

Photo by Jack Hobhouse

Unexpected Bathroom Storage

Fitting hidden storage into a bathroom renovation couldn’t be more convenient. Instead of storing towels in a hall closet that can be used for something else, check if there's any unused space in the bathroom walls. Carly Moeller of Unpatterned realized there was some depth left from an old linen storage that she could implement into the new medicine cabinet.

This renovation preserved the depth behind the medicine cabinets for some substantial storage space. 

This renovation preserved the depth behind the medicine cabinets for some substantial storage space. 

Photo by Mike Kaskel

Jennifer Baum Lagdameo

@jennifer_lagdameo

Jennifer Baum Lagdameo is a freelance design writer who has lived in Washington DC, Brooklyn, Tokyo and Manila. She is currently exploring the Pacific Northwest from her home base in Portland, OR. Follow her on Instagram @jenniferlagdameo

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