Maximize Small-Space Storage

Use cabinets and shelving in smart ways to create storage in your small spaces.

Built in storage system

Maximize Small-Space Storage

Photography by Maria Alexandra Vettese; Styling by Hilary Horvath

Compact rooms can feel cluttered and overwhelming without proper organization. Two of the best storage options for small spaces are cabinets and shelving, which provide open and closed storage for all your essentials.

"Open shelves give you easy access to items and I think they work well for a small home office or for decorative items you want to see and enjoy," says professional organizer Janine Sarna-Jones, president of Organize Me Inc. "When used properly, closed cabinets are a way to have less visual noise in a bedroom or living room."

9 Ways to Stretch Your Storage

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Grab Wasted Space

Look to the Corner

Go Vertical

Build It In

Raise the Bar

Think Creatively

Take Storage to the Next Level

California Closets

Divide Space

Reach Overhead

The important thing, says Sarna-Jones, is to consider how your cabinets will be used and what will be stored in them. Whenever possible, go for cabinets with adjustable shelves so you can customize the storage as your needs change. Use plastic bins or drawers to keep small items from being lost or forgotten in the cabinet. Remember out of sight means out of mind. For some people, open storage and shelving may be an easier way to keep track of things.

No matter the cabinet or shelving you choose, designer Matthew Dickamore, vice president of Interior Design for Denton House Design Studio, says make it user friendly. Avoid the mistake of placing too many items on one shelf, have designated areas for specific items and be creative with your storage.

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"Let your storage be a design element in your space," says Dickamore. "You can find interesting brackets at a flea market to dress up your shelves and the architecture of your kitchen. Stacking a collection of white bowls or plates on a shelf in your kitchen can really look cool. I also love the idea of using decorative items to hold smaller things, like a basket on a shelf in a mudroom for garden tools or a vase that once held flowers to store wooden spoons in the kitchen."

You also want to go vertical in small spaces. Use a tall vanity to increase storage in a small bathroom, or choose a tall dresser over a short one that takes up valuable floor space in a tight bedroom. "I always tell clients vertical lines will make a space feel taller," says Dickamore. "If you can go tall, do it."

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