Creativity is the answer to many of life’s problems, especially when it comes to the home. There are only so many places you can put things, so the more you can think outside of the box within your walls, the better. If KonMari-ing or major decluttering were easy, we would all do it. But since stuff—at least some of it— is important, most of us have to find solutions for storage.
Small space dwellers are the best people to steal ideas from, since the struggle is particularly real for them. So, we looked to a few of our favorite tiny house and apartment tours to bring you some ideas and products you can use to be stealth about storage in your space.
1. Rethink your bedside table
Traditional nightstands usually have a shelf and maybe a drawer or two in them. Not bad in terms of storage, but you often find small space dwellers eschewing bedside tables entirely or using a chair or wall-mounted shelf instead. Well, if you’re trying to sneak in storage, here’s a bold move: Why not use an actual shelving unit? Yes, it takes up more square footage, but the ROI might be worth it for you. Choose an airy style like this, and it won’t look visually heavy. You can even throw some baskets on there for closed storage to keep the piece looking extra organized.
2. Camouflage with curtains
No proper closet? No problem. Curtains are the genius product hack here. You can install shelves, racks, and bins galore right onto your wall and then just use curtains on a tension rod to hide the evidence of this makeshift wardrobe. Visual clutter—gone in a second! These homeowners also tucked items like bags and such behind the long draperies on their windowsills. This is a great way to find space without looking like a total hoarder. You gotta do what you gotta do in tight quarters.
3. Hang hooks
It sounds simple, but have you mounted hooks anywhere yet? This homeowner here has maxed out her vertical space by mounting hooks—right on a piece of furniture! Walls obviously work too. You can also grab space on the back of a door. And if you can’t or don’t want to make holes in your walls, opt for a removable, self-adhesive option
4. In a corner
The inconspicuous hooks in this cool and eccentric New York apartment make corner storage so simple and much less obvious than when using a stool, rack, or table. You can hang up purses, coats, and umbrellas, and save yourself the precious floor space.
5. Select seating that also serves another function
Chests and benches with hidden compartments are your best friends for stashing all sorts of stuff—and providing seats for friends and guests. Any time you can find something that has a dual purpose, all the better.
6. Repurpose a dresser as a media console
There’s no rule that says you have to use an actual media console or entertainment center for your television. In fact, those pieces tend to be low slung and designed for holding electronics. A dresser like this IKEA hack situation here is a far better solution. Theoretically, one of these guys could take up the same amount of floor space but pack way more heat in the storage department, since it’s taller. Maybe you could keep kitchen stuff here or even off-season clothing?
7. Turn an accent wall into a storage wall
Yeah, it’d be cool if you could paint a geometric mural on a wall—or wallpaper it—and just bask in the graphic impact of it all. But in a small space, you can’t afford to leave all that wall blank. If you have a small, somewhat awkward uninterrupted stretch of drywall, try to find a storage unit that you can squeeze in there as tightly as possible. You’re basically faking a built-in, kinda like this couple did with these cubbies. It’s a pantry, buffet for serving pieces, and a record shelf all in one. And if you wanted an extra pop of color, you could add colored bins or shop for colorful pieces or books.
8. Up above the sofa
Prints, postcards, and photos look great hung up, but sometimes putting a bunch of holes into your walls for a gallery style arrangement isn’t an option. If that’s the case, stick to a simple shelf for all of your artwork displaying needs. A prime example of this can be found in this chic Los Angeles rental, which used a barely-there ledge to store and display a variety of framed pieces and a small sculpture. This kind of setup also makes it super easy to switch out items in a growing collection.
9. Boost your bed’s storage potential
Most mattresses are wide and long enough that you should really be utilizing the space underneath them. If you’re fancy, get a custom-made platform bed as seen here. For a more middle-of-the-road solution, try a bed frame with under bed drawers. The budget solution: Risers from your college dorm days and long, flat bins. It still works.
10. Go vertical with shoe storage
When you’re spatially challenged, you don’t always have the bandwidth to be cute with your storage pieces. Over-the-door shoe racks are by no means chic, but they get the job done and use dead space in a constructive, creative way. You don’t have to put one of these on every door. Your bedroom or closet doors are probably enough, but you might also try an over-the-door towel rack in your bathroom, too.
11. Give stairs a secret feature
This isn’t a product, per se, but if you can do any construction at all in your home, consider rebuilding your stairs or a stair landing to include pull-out drawers. How James Bond of you!
12. Above the cabinets
Sure, a random assortment of items on top of your cabinets can look cool, but it can also very easily veer into cluttered territory. Instead, take inspiration from this petite London flat, which placed baskets atop a pantry cupboard to make storing items appear neat, intentional, and orderly.
13. Beautify your radiator
With a wooden slab-style shelf and a few decorative accents, you can transform an ugly radiator into a perfect little display shelfie, similar to what this cozy Seattle apartment dweller has done. While it doesn’t make the radiator completely disappear, it does help disguise it—and lets you find a prime spot for some special pieces in the process.
14. Along your door moldings
Every home can have houseplants, no matter how small, especially with this sneaky trick. Above a door frame in a charming San Francisco apartment, you’ll find the perfect spot for a mini indoor garden, and this idea can be replicated anywhere you have an interior door or wall cut-out. This solution takes advantage of wasted space and still enables you to enjoy your plant babies—though you might have to get on a step-stool to water them!