One of the challenges when downsizing your small house is storage. It often takes some creativity to sneak storage into a small apartment, enabling you to live without too much visible clutter.
We have tried to gather some ideas for small houses/apartments, to show how you can implement storage in even very tiny spaces.
A bespoke closet solution with extra height
Most closets leave an open space above them, and when stacking boxes and storage on top of them, closets often end up looking messy, and you feel like things might fall down on you.
A better way is to custom build a closet, that goes all the way to the ceiling.
This way you can utilize that extra space above the closet – without it looking cluttered or messy. Here’s an example from our own apartment, where we are currently in the process of building a closet like that:
The closet still needs a front, and we will put in drawers in the bottom section. This closet will hold all of our clothes.
You can see more about our Murphy bed with storage here (video).
The Murphy Bed is built with the same depth as the closet, so there’s a lot of storage space between the bed and the wall. We have made our Murphy bed extra high, so it also goes all the way up to the ceiling.
That leaves some storage space beneath it. Here we have my guitars and some other good stuff.
Storage space beneath stairs (and inside stairs)
There are a lot of creative ways to utilize the space surrounding a staircase.
This is a great example of a tiny house. Storage has been built into the stairs, which double function as drawers for clothes. Very original and creative.
Check out this page also with Genious loft space ideas here.
I love the way every inch of the space here is utilized, and this is an idea I would love to build into a house of my own one day!
This bunk bed also has hidden storage inside the stairs:
A nice way to build storage into an otherwise ordinary piece of furniture. Below the bed, you also find a lot of storage space in the drawers, where you can keep extra bed linens for guests or toys.
Bunk beds with a slide are always a fun way to save some space inside a tiny house or small apartment. A great solution for families living in small apartments.
Tiny Shelves for storing books etc.
People often think of shelves as big furniture units like ordinary bookshelves, but they can also be smaller, and made to fit almost anywhere.
This solution is homemade with cheap shelving parts from Ikea, which we have decorated to make them unique and a little more stylish.
We have used some old tattoo and fashion magazines, to decorate the shelves. The shelves have also been lacquered, so they will last a long time.
The shelves are placed behind a door. A place you normally wouldn’t put storage. It’s all about finding the small spaces here and there, to put a little storage without it creating clutter.
Shelves above doors
Entries can be hard to keep tidy and clean, especially if you have children. Stuff seems to add up, and all of a sudden you have too many shoes that you don’t even use on a monthly basis.
Shelves above a door can be a good solution to get some clutter away from the floor:
This shelf is placed just above our entrance door, and we use it to store winter boots, summer sandals and other seasonal footwear.
You don’t really notice it on a daily basis, because the shelf is placed so high. You will have to consciously look up to notice it.
TIP: You could make it blend in better if you paint the shelf and boxes the same colour as the walls / ceiling.
An Ottoman puff with storage
We have also found a little storage space inside an ottoman puff we use for foot support. It also doubles as an extra seat, whenever we have guests over, and you can use it when you need to reach something on top of our tiny shelves.
We have put it on castors, to make it as easy as possible to move around and clean under. The castors have a locking mechanism, to prevent accidents when we stand on it.
This one held all our DVD’s before we went paperless and digitized all documents, music, movies etc.
Coffee table with storage
Another good place for storage is inside the coffee table. This coffee table is basically a trunk, and it looks very nice with the old-style design. It can hold a lot of stuff.
The living room and sofa area is a typical space for clutter to build up, and therefore a very good place to enable some storage close by, so you don’t have to move the things to put them in the right place.
With a table like this, you have an optimal place for magazines, work stuff, games, comforters and other good stuff, you normally need around your sofa and living room.
Space saving ideas for the living room
Whether you dream of a Scandinavian, Bohemian or industrial styled living room, you have plenty of opportunities to create smart and beautiful spaces, with lots of hidden storage.
If you prefer not to go completely digital with books etc. we have found a couple of cool storage solutions for you, in order to keep your books and magazines.
Design your own bookshelf, to optimize the corners of the room.
Corners areas are often overlooked. A corner next to a door is a good place to put bookshelves.
These tiny shelves are from our own living room:
It can be a good idea to extend the shelving area all the way from the floor to the ceiling. It rarely looks cluttered, and it gives you that extra space.
You can also go for a cheaper solution by setting up shelves
There are many great interior design ideas when it comes to corner shelves:
In small living rooms with lots of corners, you can work creatively with the corner areas, by using shelving systems specifically designed for corners.
We really love these beautiful shelves from Expand Furniture:
Sofa tables with storage
Most sofa tables don’t do much in terms of space saving and storage options.
These sofa tables will help you keep it all organized.
The tables below can fold up to give you a better position for working. If you work from home like us, you know how important it is to design for good comfort and good ergonomic support.
These tables also offer lots of storage space for work-related stuff, books etc.
When they are folded down, they look like ordinary sofa tables.
Sofas with double function for storage
If you need extra storage space in your living room, you will love these storage sofas.
The space below the sofa is often left unused.
It’s really one of the best places to store stuff. As mentioned earlier it can be hard to find a good spot for books in a tiny space, and why not store them inside the sitting module, where you will use them anyway?
This is also a good place to store your art and craft stuff.
If your sofa is low and doesn’t contain storage space, you can choose to put another piece of furniture (preferably on wheels) besides the sofa.
An ottoman is also a good place for storage.
You can buy these kinds of ottoman build for it, or you can make your own.
This is our own (cheap) version of the Ottoman, where we store DVDs.
Its the perfect spot for blankets and books as well.
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Morten is the founder of GoDownsize. He has filmed and interviewed people living in tiny houses and RVs since 2011. He grew up on the coast where his dad took him boating from a young age. He has completely rebuilt two RVs in which he travels with his family for months at the time. Read more about Morten here.