10 Ways to Solve Storage Problems in Small Spaces

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By Wright / Published by Dwell
Downsizing your life in order to live small sometimes requires creative ninja moves to find adequate storage.

Having spaces to stow away belongings in underutilized areas is critical to maintaining one's sanity in cramped quarters. Luckily, there are plenty of clever furnishings that do double duty as storage. Finding areas within framed building elements can also be instrumental in carving out space—from storage under stairs to bookshelves built into walls. The following is a collection of space saving ideas to employ when every inch of living space is critical. 

10 Ways to Solve Storage Problems in Small Spaces - Photo 1 of 10 - Begin by reviewing your space for any possible storage tricks. Thinking outside of the box allows you to find overlooked creative solutions, such as shallow rolling drawers under beds or floors—such as in this example.  

Begin by reviewing your space for any possible storage tricks. Thinking outside of the box allows you to find overlooked creative solutions, such as shallow rolling drawers under beds or floors—such as in this example.  

10 Ways to Solve Storage Problems in Small Spaces - Photo 2 of 10 - Finding a place to store larger items that are used daily is challenging. Thankfully, a beautifully crafted shelf like this from Knife and Saw elevates (both literally and figuratively) your commuter bike to the realm of sculptural art. It also provides room for your coffee table books.  

Finding a place to store larger items that are used daily is challenging. Thankfully, a beautifully crafted shelf like this from Knife and Saw elevates (both literally and figuratively) your commuter bike to the realm of sculptural art. It also provides room for your coffee table books.  


10 Ways to Solve Storage Problems in Small Spaces - Photo 3 of 10 - There's typically a lot of wasted space beneath stairs. With some proper forethought, the framing can be placed in such a way to allow installation of recessed shelves, which showcase the homeowner's colorful collection of midcentury kitchen items. 

There's typically a lot of wasted space beneath stairs. With some proper forethought, the framing can be placed in such a way to allow installation of recessed shelves, which showcase the homeowner's colorful collection of midcentury kitchen items. 

10 Ways to Solve Storage Problems in Small Spaces - Photo 4 of 10 - Utilize areas for storage that need to get built anyway, like the front of a mezzanine or loft. In this home, the main living/dining room was designed as a double-height space to increase its perceived volume, which also afforded this family some high cubbies for extra storage. 

Utilize areas for storage that need to get built anyway, like the front of a mezzanine or loft. In this home, the main living/dining room was designed as a double-height space to increase its perceived volume, which also afforded this family some high cubbies for extra storage. 

10 Ways to Solve Storage Problems in Small Spaces - Photo 5 of 10 - If your space permits and you have high ceilings, consider the area all the way to the ceiling as usable design. This California couple built this wooden structure in their tight, but tall apartment. The wooden box is as functional as it is finely crafted, with room for clothes up top. Each niche holds treasures from travels, family keepsakes, books, and more.

If your space permits and you have high ceilings, consider the area all the way to the ceiling as usable design. This California couple built this wooden structure in their tight, but tall apartment. The wooden box is as functional as it is finely crafted, with room for clothes up top. Each niche holds treasures from travels, family keepsakes, books, and more.

10 Ways to Solve Storage Problems in Small Spaces - Photo 6 of 10 - The wooden box features hidden storage.

The wooden box features hidden storage.

10 Ways to Solve Storage Problems in Small Spaces - Photo 7 of 10 - If you're a collector, find a way to highlight your passion without impeding on space. In this example, the residents' book collection resides in a wall of built-in shelving running the length of the room. The additional thickness of the bookshelves and the books provide acoustic separation between the hustle and bustle of the kitchen and the bedrooms. 

If you're a collector, find a way to highlight your passion without impeding on space. In this example, the residents' book collection resides in a wall of built-in shelving running the length of the room. The additional thickness of the bookshelves and the books provide acoustic separation between the hustle and bustle of the kitchen and the bedrooms. 

10 Ways to Solve Storage Problems in Small Spaces - Photo 8 of 10 - Sometimes you need to think outside of the box and invest in some serious hardware. Actor Vincent Kartheiser's home in Hollywood is only 580 square feet. In an effort to free up floor area for entertaining, the bed is hung from the ceiling and moves up and down by way of a durable pulley system. The pulley is counterbalanced by a 300-pound weight! 

Sometimes you need to think outside of the box and invest in some serious hardware. Actor Vincent Kartheiser's home in Hollywood is only 580 square feet. In an effort to free up floor area for entertaining, the bed is hung from the ceiling and moves up and down by way of a durable pulley system. The pulley is counterbalanced by a 300-pound weight! 

10 Ways to Solve Storage Problems in Small Spaces - Photo 9 of 10 - Here, homeowner Vincent Kartheiser is seated in his kitchen. Behind him, you can see the bed raised to the ceiling and the huge slab of redwood that served as a headboard, is now flipped down to create a bar-height desk. Making key elements to double duty, such as the head board/desk, are trademark qualities of small spaces done right. 

Here, homeowner Vincent Kartheiser is seated in his kitchen. Behind him, you can see the bed raised to the ceiling and the huge slab of redwood that served as a headboard, is now flipped down to create a bar-height desk. Making key elements to double duty, such as the head board/desk, are trademark qualities of small spaces done right. 

10 Ways to Solve Storage Problems in Small Spaces - Photo 10 of 10 - Be flexible about your layout to accommodate reality. If there's a need for dedicated space for a home office or nursery, consider repurposing a closet. Limiting the elements to those most necessary may not take up as much space as you think. Plus, it can always go back to its previous life later, if necessary.

Be flexible about your layout to accommodate reality. If there's a need for dedicated space for a home office or nursery, consider repurposing a closet. Limiting the elements to those most necessary may not take up as much space as you think. Plus, it can always go back to its previous life later, if necessary.