A favourite in replay:
It’s the issue most of us want (or best, have to) resolve, and one of those issues we try to avoid or postpone, as we find that we cannot easily stumble on solutions, or we don’t have the time to deal with it. I’m talking about storage of course, the ‘menace’ of our modern times and another outcome of our steady stride towards living in smaller and slighter spaces.
Whether we live in a flat or a house, it doesn’t make much difference, except perhaps the fact that, if you live in a house or a ground floor flat, you may be able to use outside areas, such as a garage, for additional storage. The focus seems however to be more on the location and the beauty of the home rather than our comfort and the functionality of the space. This is mostly dictated by property prices, which, in cities mostly, send us straight living in modest spaces without much storage.
So what is one to do to ease, if not resolve, the issue of not having sufficient space to put our things away from view? The list of solutions is long, but, whether you can find a solution to your storage problem or not, primarily depends on your home’s space in footage and its interior design. If the interior of your home allows it, in terms of space and design, you can either choose to alter the space to fit in bespoke storage, change your furniture layout to create more space for storage, or you can purchase and try to fit in storage furniture, making the best of the space you already have.
This is I guess the point where, as an interior designer, I feel like stressing out the importance of your serious involvement in the preparation of your home floor plans from the very beginning. Referring to potential home buyers, it is imperative that you make storage a serious contender in your home’s design, saying no to anyone who tries to convince you to sacrifice storage for beauty. Spend time with an interior designer to help you see all of the potential of the property you intend to buy, and demand that storage finds its place in every one of your rooms.
Moving on to those who have already bought a property in which storage is not enough for their needs, a good first step is to unearth those floor plans again, and seek help to see if you can create some storage space by altering your furniture layout. Looking on the plans rather than trying to estimate by just looking, will make possible the use of even the last foot or meter that you have, for storage. Not to mention that you will avoid errors such as buying furniture that do not fit in your space. Yes, with a different furniture layout, it is possible that you will need a smaller budget to create storage, before you resolve to structural or bespoke changes or assault the shops (and your bank account) looking for storage furniture.
Now that you have changed the furniture layout, you have an idea of how much space you have to use for storage solutions. But before you hit the shops, and in order to have more storage options, remember to consider your wall space for storage too, not only the floor, as well as to be creative with your ceiling height. Here is what I mean. Our walls can be used for wall mounted adjustable shelving, cabinets, and, height allowing, these can reach the ceiling, instantly giving you extra storage space. Height and space allowing, you could also store above the curtain rails or create a mezzanine space, which you can dedicate as that so much needed storage part of the house.
More you can do now that you know how much space you have available for storage solutions, and before you spend nonstop hours to find the storage furniture fitting your space, is to hire an interior designer to create bespoke storage solutions for you, and recommend a good joiner to create your dream solutions. This is in fact the ultimate you can do to maximise your space for storage, since this way you will be taking advantage of the entire footage you have. This solution also allows you to choose the material you want your storage to be made of, as well as the colour, to match the colour scheme you have in the area.
Creating bespoke storage solutions also provides ways to keep the flow of movement in rooms easy and continual, a very important aspect of a good interior design plan. Fitting purchased storage furniture in spaces in which they may not fit precisely, not only poses the danger of injury when passing by, but also they may destroy every effort that you have made to create harmony and balance in your interiors. Rather than buying and installing little pieces of storage furniture then, try to create your storage in fitting ways with the rest of the house.
Needless to say, we speak in this article of storage solutions inside every room of the house, including basements. But do not forget that there is external storage as well, if you live in a house or a ground floor flat. There is the garage, where you can use the walls for wall mounted shelving to keep your tools and other storage items that you can move from the house. And you also have the outdoor storage furniture option, the easiest kind of storage cabinets you can easily find in the market. This latter solution would of course force you to choose wisely what to store outside, as weather or humidity conditions may cause damage to your stored items. And lastly you have the option of creating bespoke external storage, using weather-proof materials.
There is a myriad of storage solutions out there; in this article we certainly have not exhausted the list. The secret is to discover the potential of your space first, and find out how to take advantage of every inch of it. Remember to create storage solutions that are lasting, complimentary of the home design and colour scheme of your home, and, at all times, a reflection of your personality rather than that of necessity.
Photo: Interior architectural designer Anna Hansson for Obbard Ltd