In today’s ultra-competitive housing market, the square footage of the average starter home is declining, along with the average real estate commission. According to one recent report, the average square footage of a new single-family home has dropped 10% since 2018, while the average number of people living in a household has increased.
As buyers look for small homes to meet their budgets, a lot of homeowners are in need of creative solutions for storing their stuff. The good news is that it’s not difficult. It just takes a little ingenuity, vision, and a few items you probably already have laying around the house.
Finding storage solutions for your small home is as much about making your home more pleasant and livable as it is about finding space for your stuff. A space-efficient home that’s not enjoyable to look at won’t be a pleasant place to live, and before long, you’ll probably find yourself offloading the property in a quick sale to a cash buyer.
Sacrificing quality of life considerations to brute efficiency is rarely a good idea. Here are 14 ways to creatively maximize your space.
When you’re maximizing a small space, one of the keys is to figure out a way to use areas that are normally ignored. Windowsills are a perfect example. The flat horizontal spaces work perfectly as makeshift shelves for books, candles, or plants.
You're probably not using the space at the top of your walls. Installing shelves anywhere above eye level can give you a lot of storage space you didn’t even know you had.
Another way to use vertical space is to use the tops of cabinets and appliances for storage. Trays and baskets are an inexpensive and aesthetically pleasing way to turn these low-traffic areas into valuable storage. Tuck enough baskets around the house, and you might avoid shelling out the money for a storage unit for all your stuff.
If you neglected to measure your new home’s closets or simply have more stuff than you realized, you may discover that you don't have nearly enough closet space when the moving company drops off your boxes.
One easy way to manage your wardrobe in a small space is to install a series of coat hooks on your walls, doors, wardrobes, or other areas. Each hook can hold multiple items or pieces of clothing. If you’re a renter who’s hesitant to start drilling holes in the walls, there are adhesive-backed hooks that can be cleanly removed.
There are two ways to utilize your under-the-bed space. The first is to get flat, rolling bins that fit underneath your bedframe. The second is to get a bedframe with integrated drawers. Either way, you’ll dramatically increase your bedroom storage space.
Putting a custom-made shelf or metal enclosure over your radiator serves dual purposes. It turns the top into usable space, and it’s an inexpensive way to beautify your less-than-attractive radiator. As a bonus, it can also enhance safety if you have small children in the house who could get burned.
A fold-down desk can give you writing or reading space when you need it. When you're finished, it can easily disappear. The same applies to fold-down benches and seats, which can quickly be folded into the wall to clear up much-needed floor space. If you’re really invested in the concept, a murphy bed can be folded into the wall each morning.
A multitier, over-the-toilet shelving unit is an inexpensive way to instantly give you a ton of storage space for toiletries, cosmetics, soaps, or whatever else you keep in the bathroom. If you’re handy, you can even mount shelves to the wall with just a few screws or nails.
That awkward wedge of space under your stairs can be converted into an under-the-stairs closet or custom shelf area. If you don’t feel confident building it yourself, it’s a relatively small job for a qualified handyman or carpenter.
A pot rack suspended from your kitchen ceiling is an ingenious and nice-looking way to store your pots and pans. You can even construct one yourself with hooks and a simple rack or metal ring. To make it even more efficient, hang some small storage bins from the rack to hold spices or utensils.
A ladder can be easily repurposed into a stylish, multitiered plant shelf or bookshelf, especially if you paint or stain it. Just make sure you secure it to the wall or floor so it doesn’t fall. Old milk or wooden crates can also be used as all-purpose storage items that are also aesthetically pleasing.
A simple piece of pegboard mounted on your kitchen wall or the back of the kitchen door can provide stylish, easy storage for all your utensils, towels, and other miscellaneous kitchen items.
If floor space is scarce, don’t waste it with bulky floor lamps. Mount sconces on the wall instead. Many can be plugged into the wall if you don’t want to hardwire them. There are also some very stylish wall-mounted lamps on extendable arms.
The kitchen is the least space-efficient room in the house, especially if you don’t cook a lot. For starters, you can probably downsize your four-burner stove to a two-burner stove or a small combination convection and microwave oven. You could also swap out your full-sized refrigerator for a more compact dorm-sized fridge. At the same time, a kitchen island with lower cabinets can give you much-needed counter space and storage space.
If you’re in a studio or loft space, use freestanding shelves instead of room dividers to delineate your sleeping, living, and eating spaces. The borders will be just as clear, and you’ll get a bunch of storage out of it.