BHG Style Spotters

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I recently had the opportunity to help a friend move her daughter to college and set up her new shared dorm room. I was really excited to take on the challenge of making half of a room function as big as an entire apartment. Working is such a small space required me to:

  • Think Vertically – The number one way to maximize any small space situation is to utilize every ounce of space between the floor and the ceiling.
  • Think Twice – Anything that could do double duty and offer multiple uses/functions was a huge win.
  • Think Creatively – Just because something was given a single function, does not mean that is the only function. It also helped to mix and match multiple types of storage items together to create something even better in the end.

All of the small space organizing got me thinking… What every day furniture and storage pieces are ideal for making the most of a home? Here are a few ways to get a big bang out of common home furnishings.


Bookcase Organization Storage

Bookcases are probably the most versatile piece of storage furniture on the market. They work in makeshift entryways for shoes, handbags and outerwear. Pop one in the bathroom for towels and toiletries (many are slim enough to fit behind a door) or place one in your dining room to act as a bar, china storage as well as a small serving station.

Storage Ottomans

Filing Cabinet Ottoman

What makes storage ottomans so great is their triple duty flexibility. Seating? Check. Coffee table? Check. Concealed storage for variety of items? Check. Ottomans are a must in any small space as they offer the ability to keep everyday essentials neatly tucked away in most rooms throughout the home. Use them for filing, holding children’s toys, for storing games and blankets and even as amazing shoe storage in either an entryway or at the end of the bed.

Shoe Storage Ottoman

Narrow Shoe Cabinet

Shoe Storage Furniture

Courtesy of IKEA

When items flip out instead of pull out, you are instantly saving space. This shoe cabinet is a prime example of a very narrow piece of furniture that is able to handle your toughest daily clutter. Although ideal for shoes, feel free to toss your handbag, sweaters and outerwear into the mix.

Wall Mounted Cabinet

Jewelry/Vanity Flip Open Furniture

Once again, a narrow piece that flips open to offer more. The small box floats on a wall and opens up to create a multipurpose work surface. The piece acts wonderfully as a small vanity or desk, but also makes a fabulous minibar or entryway drop zone hot spot.

Flip Down Desk


Shelf Desk

Shelving is a prime way to make the most of your vertical space, but how else can shelving hit a home run? Add a few brackets for stability and you have yourself a mighty space saving desk!

Wine Racks

Wine Rack Storage

Although everyone loves a fully stocked wine rack, they are not solely made for wining and dining. Wine racks are big winners in the bathroom for organizing hair tools and towels, in an office for rolls of gift wrap and yarn and in the kitchen for holding water bottles and table linens.

Storage Hutch

Storage Hutch

Hutches are not just for desks, although, they really do add a lot of real estate value in a small home office space. Search your local thrift stores and Craigslist for a hutch to re-purpose in the kitchen as an appliance garage and dish storage.

Towel Bars & Hooks

Towel Bars

Towel bars are nice and slim yet can take on the toughest organizing tasks. Primarily found in a bathroom or kitchen, but don’t forget they can also be installed on the backs of closet doors and cabinets. When paired with hooks, there isn’t much these little superstars can’t handle.

Hooks & Baskets

Basket on Hooks

Just like towel bars, hooks function fabulously all on their own. However, add a basket to the mix and suddenly you have tripled your storage power.

Basket on Hooks

Bedside Storage Manners

Beds tend to take up more floor space than any other piece of furniture, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t make the most of the space below the sleeping surface. Drawers are the most common solution when it comes to adding storage in a bedroom…

Bed With Drawers

However, I say go big or go home!

Storage Bed

Courtesy of IKEA

Compact Table


Courtesy of IKEA

There are a few tables on the market that condense to narrow console surfaces by day, and dining for four to six by night. These tables are also magical for individuals who love to sew and craft, yet have no space for a dedicated crafting room.


Dresser Update

Although bookcases tend to be my “go to” piece of furniture, dressers come in as a close second. They look good in any space and conceal clutter like no other piece of furniture can. But a little creativity will take you even further in the world of dressers. Hinge a drawer front to create flip down access to the contents (think bar or home office), and install a few hooks and rails to add extra storage on the side of the piece. The opportunities truly are endless.

I would love to know, what are your favorite furniture pieces for small space living?

Stylish small spaces are defined by not only being stylish, but knowing how to make the most of small space so that it actually feels roomy and luxurious. To get this effect there are six things you should know:


1. Always include something big. Small spaces will actually feel smaller if you make everything tiny, so by placing at least one surprising, oversized object into the room (artwork or lighting are good choices) you will create a pleasing contrast that will help the room to feel much bigger.

2. Use the walls. Utilizing your walls for extra storage space is a must. Bookcases, hooks, shelves, wall mount lights and tall slim cabinets that rise up your walls will allow you to keep your floors open.

3. But don’t use ALL of your walls. If you want a room to feel open visually be sparing in your coverage of the walls you don’t use for storage. Cutting down on hanging art and clustering storage along one wall will cut down on visual clutter. A nice coat of paint is just as good as a piece of interesting art in a small room.


4. Use off whites for color and brightness. White paint on your walls will reflect more light and make your space expand visually, BUT off-whites (with a touch of color) are far more interesting and stylish.

5. Turn up the lights. Shadows caused by underlighting will contract even the best of rooms and make any space feel smaller, so always have at least three points of light in every room. For really tight spaces small scale track lighting is a great way to boost the light and uplights set in the corners are a great way to illuminate your walls and make them seem taller.


6. Paint or stain your floor dark. While going light and bright with walls and ceilings helps to expand a room upward, going dark on the floor creates a crisp contrast that also makes your floors disappear beneath your feet.

Good chic furniture that will optimize a small space without looking awful is also important, and because you need so little, splurging makes sense. Here are my top choices that I’ve used again and again:

  • Stanley Console by Gus Modern. With only two legs and a slim surface this is the perfect piece for a hard working entryway.
  • Elfa Shelving. Well priced, stylishly designed and with many options for wood color and depth, this is my go to source for quick wall storage.
  • Ercol Bar Stools. Handmade in England, this simple beautiful design now comes in colors to make the most of a bar area in the smallest amount of space.
  • IKEA Gulliver Crib. If you’re putting together a baby’s nursery, this is the slimmest, nicest thing you can buy.
  • West Elm Tripod table. Round always wins and three legs is better than four. This is a perfect small table for a kitchen.
  • Hailo Big Box Trash Can. Attractive slim trash cans are hard to find. This one is top of its class.

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