A small footprint can mean big storage issues. With limited floor space, it pays to look up to your "air space." By thinking vertically, you'll find a whole world of opportunities for stowing items, saving the floor for essential furniture and traffic movement. Check out these nine ideas that find room up high in tight spaces.
1. Reach the Upper Echelons
In an ideal world, there would be no out-of-reach cabinetry. But there's an awful lot of wasted space up there, so don't dismiss it. Many of our items go untouched during the course of a week, a day or even months, so keep these seldom-used items up top. When needed, a stepladder or basketball player will come in handy. Store the rest at human height.
Tip: Leave top-level compartments open for easy access and visibility, and label them to avoid fruitless climbs.
2. Get Your Hooks In
The hook is the savior of the spatially challenged -- didn't someone once say, "You can't be too thin or have too many hooks"? Embrace the hook all over the house -- hallway, kitchen, bathroom, laundry room, playroom, bedroom, living areas -- to add heaps of handy storage. This entrance forgoes a space-hogging cupboard or shelving unit in favor of hooks, a big basket and a couple of chairs for taking off shoes.
Tip: When using multiple levels of hooks, stagger them to keep items clear of one another.
3. Stay on the Straight and Narrow
These merest slivers of a wall are fitted with narrow built-in shelves and cavities for books and wine. In-wall storage like this provides some insulation for your precious vintages, makes an interesting entrance to the room and creates a spot to pause while browsing cookbooks or choosing a bottle to open with dinner.
4. Get Behind
The back of a door is underused real estate. In a child's bedroom, toys can be tucked away in bags or baskets, ready to be unhooked at playtime. It's also a good place to keep a ready-packed child's travel bag to grab and go when you're in a hurry. It's a nifty idea for craft supplies, and in the bathroom, a spacious bag or basket can hold towels, cleaning gear and larger bath items.
Tip: Make sure there's enough clearance behind the door -- a rubber stopper may be needed.
5. Hit the High Spots With Shelves
Open shelves that start just below the ceiling double as storage and as a visual trick to give the illusion of a larger room. If you want to minimize the shelves, paint them the same color as the wall or use tempered glass. For more impact, use a contrasting color or wood that matches other wood in the room.
6. Try a Line
Bulky armoires crowd small bedrooms. Little people's clothes are ... little, and also light, so a rail suspended from the ceiling should hold a chunk of their items. It's also colorful and cute.
7. Give Your Books Air
Bookworms face the inevitability of their book collection reaching critical mass. Short of culling -- something bookworms hate to do -- you can gain space by floating your shelves. This clever curve leaves room for a small desk and handy storage tubs and holds the same number of books as a hefty floor-standing case.
8. Me and My Caddy
A small, cheap and often overlooked means of freeing up floor space is the caddy. Not only does it score you more room for bigger items, but you can keep counters clear of fruit bowls, herb pots, cloths and utensils. Countertop ends are a perfect spot for these catchall containers.
Tip: Use caddies for potatoes and onions, which don't need refrigeration and benefit from the circulating air.
9. Grow a High Garden
Vertical gardens are a growing trend. Even a postage-stamp-size outdoor space offers a chance to try your green thumb. Use fences, hangers or wooden frames to get your garden off the ground and double your growing area. Herbs, vegetables and flowers will enjoy the rarified atmosphere above the crawling bugs and are at a perfect height for picking.
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