Ample storage – with dedicated places for all your belongings – really is key to achieving a clutter-free home, and one in which you feel relaxed and organised (rather than in a perpetual mood to tidy up). Here are some ideas which are great to factor in at design stage.
Utilise Awkward Spaces
Lofty, vaulted ceilings feature high on the briefs of many self builders and renovators, but these architecturally interesting spaces often result in a very practical problem: with little to no loft space, just where do you put the Christmas tree, suitcases, the kids’ toys you can’t bear to throw away? Or, take loft conversions — they add another room, but also rob the house of valuable storage.
So when the loft loses out to high ceilings, planning in storage and utilising ‘wasted’ space under the eaves (3) is a wise idea from the outset. There’s a couple of ways to go about it — you can make a feature of it with a bespoke display (4), it can be an integral part of your interior scheme (2), or it can discreetly blend in with walls (3).
Another issue faced by renovators of old homes is tall ceilings, which often dwarf off-the-shelf wardrobes and freestanding furniture. This is where bespoke fitted furniture comes into its own. Not only is every inch of available space put to good use, but furniture designed specifically for a room always tends to be much more pleasing to the eye (5).
1. Fitted wardrobes by Barbara Genda Bespoke Furniture
2. Walnut veneered bathroom cupboards by Woodstock Furniture
3. Under eaves storage by Barbara Genda Bespoke Furniture
4. Bespoke built in storage by Neville Johnson
5. Sharps‘ Sherbourne fitted furniture
Build Around Doors and Windows
Features such as radiators, doors and windows can render an entire wall unusable for storage. One solution is designing it to sit around such features — perfectly demonstrated by this wall of bedroom storage (3 – below), which cleverly conceals the door to an en suite, in a project by Granit Architects.
While building a bookcase around a picture window is not only a good means of framing a stunning view (1 by WT Architecture), it also provides scope for a window seat (4, as this project, again by Granit Architects, goes to show).
Taken to the extreme, an entire hall and staircase can double as a library and office — this stunning example (2) by Platform 5 Architects is a case in point.
Space Beneath the Stairs
It was once home to the broom cupboard, or used as overflow for the pantry, then it became ‘the spot’ for a downstairs loo. The space beneath the stairs in the British home has fulfilled many uses over the years. But, with the staircase typically located in falling distance of the front door, we’re cottoning on to the potential of this area for hanging coats and hiding away outdoor shoes — particularly useful if you do not have the space for a dedicated bootroom.
What’s more, storage is no longer in the form of a cupboard with a couple of hooks. Following on from trends seen in the kitchen and bathroom, where drawer organisers have gone from strength to strength, these bespoke examples provide a home for every item.
The ‘StairStore’ solution (5), from staircase specialist James Grace, can provide up to 2.3m² of usable space, while this solution from Barbara Genda Bespoke Furniture (6) makes the most of an awkwardly shaped space.
Think about innovative storage in the Kitchen
Fitted units are the go-to option for kitchen storage, but a built-in design can offer a far sleeker look — not to mention make a small room look bigger.
In this SieMatic kitchen (7), a contemporary wall of glass-faced units is ideal to display wares, whereas concealed built-in storage – conveniently located to either side of the cooker – provides a home for ingredients. Just make sure you plan for built-in furniture at an early stage of your project.