"There probably isn't a room in the house where we don't store something," writes Mervyn Kaufman in his new book, Store It!, from Filipacchi Publishing. "Lack of space is certainly a challenge, but it is superseded in every instance by how best to use that space."
But before adding or rearranging storage in any room, Kaufman suggests you examine and evaluate. Keep what's needed. Then, begin your space-saving journey. Consider the following creative tips for practical yet beautiful ways to increase storage potential throughout your home.
First impressions are lasting ones so if totes and umbrellas, shoes and boots are cluttering the entrance of your home, make them disappear without becoming inaccessible. Consider a bench with added storage space under a lift-up seat as a convenient clutter catcher, complete with niches for stashing caps, gloves and scarves yet a handy spot for shoe-boot exchanges. Splurge on a wall mounted hardwood cabinet or a handsome hardwood storage piece to hide keys, garage door openers, newspapers and mail, keeping them out of sight yet close at hand as needed.
Don't let the idea of a formal living room dissuade you from making it a storage workhorse. A coffee table with an open shelf or shallow drawers can be more than an elegant surface for coffee service or a floral arrangement. Corners and wall space between and around windows cry out for hardwood chests and unique built-ins to display collectibles or stash coasters, cocktail napkins and other entertaining essentials. And the warm colors and unique grain patterns of hardwoods are guaranteed to enhance your room décor.
Add greater functionality to your kitchen by incorporating hardwood cabinets with accessories that remove clutter and make neatness second nature – wooden dividers to organize drawers, carousel shelving so nothing gets buried in corner cabinets, deep cabinet drawers to store cookware or stacked dinnerware. And be creative. Fill unused space between base cabinets with retractable kitchen-towel bars or narrow pull-out spice drawers. Even install a shallow tilt-out drawer in front of your sink for sponges or small-scale cleaning tools.
Today's dining rooms double as libraries, music rooms or places to do homework or crafts. If cramped for storage, look for a dining table – new or heirloom – with drawers beneath its top surface. Beautiful hardwood storage – a hutch, sideboard or breakfront-lends practicality; warmth and style as long as it complements the look of your dining table and chairs. A wall of books, whether in fine hardwood furniture or built-in shelving, exploits wall space and adds character.
Hardwood cabinet options abound as you look to increase the functionality of your family room. Near the TV, stereo or beside the kids' play area, consider freestanding hardwood storage - a hutch, entertainment center, a clutch of bookcases. And utilize overlooked spaces by adding a low cupboard under a window-ideal for spare pillows and throws; building a window seat - either with drawers or a hinged top; placing a low bookcase against the back of a sofa. Simply organize and store essentials according to where you'll use them.
Why not establish a unique "floating" home office? It doesn't matter where you place it. What'll make it work is where you "float" it and how you store what you want to keep there. Find and refinish a hardwood secretary then give it wheels and let it "float." It'll be handy for bill-paying when the desk folds down and a decorative accent piece when not in use. Or mobilize a stylish hardwood desk or table, add detachable storage shelves; then get to work. As room requirements change, "float" the workstation to its new home – a kitchen corner or family room niche – whatever the situation will allow.
And finally, end those bedroom blahs by eliminating clutter. Hardwood dressers with deep drawers increase storage efficiency. Nightstands with niches or shallow drawers are great for glasses, remote controls and reading material. Open shelving with pull-out baskets can store socks, hose, scarves and undergarments. And consider adding a window seat to store extra quilts and linens. True, only you may see the room, but an uncluttered bedroom-yours or your kids'-is the most livable one.
As author Kaufman suggests, "Even the most practical storage solutions can be attractive and appealing." Beautifully thought-out cabinetry made of U.S. hardwoods will enhance every room in your home while providing stunning storage space for all the important 'things' in your life.
Photograph by Alexandra Rowley, from Store It! (Filipacchi Publishing)