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.
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.
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.
Narrow Shoe Cabinet
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
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.
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!
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.
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 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
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.
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…
However, I say go big or go home!
Courtesy of IKEA
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.
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?
We are smack dab in the middle of back-to-school season and with it always comes the need to start fresh with organization. It is time to get back to daily routines, lunch packing and nightly homework, which I always find a bit welcoming after a few months of lazy yet playful summer days.
Back-to-school season typically comes with a bit of shopping for new supplies, clothing and gear to ensure everyone is well equipped for a successful year. However, all of that shopping can get expensive, and when it comes to finding ways to organize the papers and schedules, I like to try my hand at some creative DIY solutions. Often times, there are fun crafts and activities that can be done with the kids to be sure everyone is involved and on the same organizing page.
Here is a lovely round-up of DIY school related projects that are sure to help your family transition into the best school year yet.
Courtesy of Centsational Girl
Grab a quart of paint and give a dated piece of furniture a whole new life and function. Above, an old media cabinet was transformed into a functional homework station complete with paper, supplies, a computer and calendar. Homework stations create a cozy and consistent place to focus on daily studies, keeping all of the essentials within reach.
Courtesy of Fynes Designs
If you don’t have a specific homework station carved out, this DIY caddy is a fantastic alternate solution. Fill it with tubes and jars with daily homework essentials such as pens, pencils, highlighters, glue, scissors, etc… and you have yourself a portable homework station that can be used at the dining table or kitchen counter.
Courtesy of IHeart Organizing
Who knew dish racks could be so versatile? Sure, they are great for drying your daily dinnerware, however, they can also double as file storage and as the sweetest book organizer around.
Courtesy of The 36th Avenue
School and busy schedules go hand-in-hand. Keep the entire family on the same page by creating a large DIY calendar. Whether you utilize dry erase paint or a chalkboard decal, by creating an oversized version that can be mounted in a centralized location, everyone will know when baseball practice lands and what day the final exam takes place.
Courtesy of IHeart Organizing
Another way to manage daily homework assignments and chores, is to install a roll of paper on a towel bar just above their desk. By adding chalkboard clips, your child can easily check off his or her daily tasks.
Manage the morning mad dash to the bus by being prepared a few days ahead of time. Day-of-the-week clothing dividers can be made from cereal box cardboard to organize pre-planned clothing attire.
Courtesy of IHeart Organizing
Looking for more ways to re-use empty food packaging? These colorful DIY drawer dividers will keep daily school supplies nice and tidy.
Courtesy of The Purl Bee
These DIY lunch bags are sure to be the talk of the lunch table! And although we are talking back-to-school, I am about to sew one for myself because they are just so charming!
Courtesy of Kireei
Small zippered pouches offer endless versatility and can store everything from charging cables to coloring pencils and work wonders for keeping a backpack organized. And bonus, they are something that you can make at home with your sewing machine!
Courtesy of Crazy Little Projects
How about creating a portable desk with the help of some fabric and elastic? This DIY on-the-go organizer has the ability to hold a phone or calculator, notes, pens, a tablet and paper! This little setup is fantastic for students studying at home, at school and even in the car or bus.
Courtesy of Paper & Pin
For those of you that prefer lighter DIY projects, these little paperclip flags may be just what you are looking for. Simply pair washi tape with paper clips and you will create some very functional yet fancy page markers.
Courtesy of The Crafted Life
Another charming and simple way to dress up everyday school supplies is with a little craft paint!
Courtesy of The House of Wood
And last but not least, these stunning DIY wall pockets are the perfect solution for managing the abundance of papers and books that come home from school each day.
How are you getting creative with your back-to-school organization this year?
I love baskets. They can help turn a messy storage spot into well organized and pretty space. Baskets can be expensive if you buy them new at the store, so I typically buy mine at thrift shops (I never spend more than $10 on a basket). I’ve been on the search for a lovely little tabletop basket that could hold any items that I am using that day for a project. I had no luck finding exactly what I needed, so I made my own. This easy woven rope basket DIY is exactly what I needed, plus it’s cute.
- 1/4 inch x 100 feet natural sisal rope
- a lot of embroidery thread (white, black, and any other color you want)
- large embroidery needle
- a small amount of yarn
1) Let’s get started on the base of the basket. Thread about a yard of embroidery floss onto the needle and tie a knot at the end. Important note: don’t cut the sisal rope. It will work out much better if the rope is one continuous piece.
- a. Grab the sisal rope and twist it into a little roll (about 1.5 inches wide).
- b. Push the embroidery floss through the side of the rope roll a couple of times to secure the roll.
- c. Wrap a stitch around one section of rope, and instead of pushing the stitch through the gap in the rope, catch a bit of the rope section next to the piece you’re wrapping the stitch around. Note: catching a bit of rope will make the basket stronger.
- d. Continue stitching along the rope and adding more coiling to the roll as you stitch. Note: if you’re planning on putting heavy items in this basket, I suggest randomly stitching over TWO sections of rope instead of the one as you go along.
2) How to end and add a new piece of embroidery floss.
- e. When you reach the end of a piece of embroidery floss, thread the needle through the side stitch and knot it onto another stitch.
- f. Thread the tail from the knot through the side stitches.
- g. To add another piece of embroidery floss, thread the needle through the side stitches and knot it onto another stitch.
- h. Continue stitching along with your new embroidery floss piece.
3) Continue on with the rope coil. It’s time to stop when you reach the width you’d like your basket to be (since this is the base of your basket). My width is 9.5 inches wide.
4) How to create the sides of the basket.
- j & k. When you’re happy with the width of the base, stack the rope on top of the outside piece of rope and continue with your stitching.
5) Add some pops of color with little sections of yarn.
- l. When you’re ready to add some color, knot a bit of yarn over some rope (before you stitch it onto the basket). Wrap that yarn tightly around the rope until it’s about 1.5 inches wide. Tie the end of that yarn to the rope piece, then continue stitching along the rope OVER the yarn. Keep adding rows of rope until you’re happy with the height of the basket. I stopped at 4 inches (and I used about 75% of the rope I purchased). Note: I created a little pattern with my yarn. I spaced the yarn by 6 stitches, and left a space of one rope coil in between.
6) How to add the basket handles and end secure the end of the rope to the basket.
- m. To add the handle, stitch about 4 wraps of embroidery floss over the rope and secure onto the rope section below.
- n. Push out the rope a bit to create the handle shape, then secure that end as you did to start the handle. Repeat the handle steps on the opposite side. To secure the end of the rope, roll it into a tiny roll and stitch onto the inside of the basket.
Total cost: $9 (the only thing I had to buy for this project was the rope, since I had all the other materials).
If you create this DIY, I’d love to see it! You can share a link in the comments below, or tag me in Instagram with a photo (my username is @thepapermama).
- Chelsey, The Paper Mama
Do you ever wish that you had more storage? I think we all have at some point in time as having proper storage typically relates to a clean and orderly space. Home storage closets and cabinets are commonly referred to as “prime real estate”. It can feel unfortunate when your home doesn’t boast the amount of storage you are after, but the bright side is that just about any piece of furniture can be altered to pack quite a bit of storage punch.
The bedroom is one area of the home that can often times be limiting in the storage department. Clothing, linens, pillows, seasonal items, shoes and books are just a select number of the items that are generally living inside of bedroom closets and wardrobes. If your bedroom doesn’t offer the amount of built-in storage you are after, there are many exciting ways that you can modify your bed to achieve maximum bedroom organization. Here are a few examples of how your existing bed can store more!
By lining the wall behind the bed with a row of bookcases, you are making the most of the vertical space and dramatically increasing storage for books, baskets and treasures. The shelving can also double as a nightstand in rooms that are too narrow to accommodate the extra furniture.
2. Floating Shelves
Another option is to stretch a piece of shelving from wall-to-wall to create modern and simplified “built-in” storage. This option also doubles as a place to set a glass of water and your favorite bedtime reading material.
3. Built-In Bed
Modular storage units can be pieced together around the perimeter of the headboard to create a custom wall of built-ins. The image above incorporated the nightstands right into the design which really makes the most of the wall space. To go the extra mile, consider lining the bookcases with a decorative paper or fabric and capping the furniture with a piece of decorative crown moulding.
4. Create a Closet
Apartments and homes that don’t offer any type of closet space in the bedroom can be especially tricky. How about framing out the bed with a custom wardrobe? By placing the nightstands and bed on rolling casters, you can provide easier access to the clothing and accessories being stored behind the bed. This is a prime solution to fitting an entire bedroom on a single wall.
5. Divide & Conquer
It is a headboard in the front and a clothing closet in the back! Such a sweet and simple solution to not only act as a beautiful room divider, but to also provide concealed wardrobe organization in a studio space.
6. Under-Bed Drawers
As important as it is to utilize the vertical space in the bedroom, it is equally as important to make the most of the space below the bed. There are a variety of options for adding drawers under a bed; casters can be added to crates or old dresser drawers or the drawers can be built right into the bed frame for a seamless look. Under-bed drawers are ideal for stashing away bulky bed linens and off-season clothing.
7. Basket Case
Not only do over-sized baskets provide a bounty of concealed underbed storage, they also give the room decorative character.
8. Under-Bed Storage Bins
The easiest way to utilize the area under the bed is with rolling totes that are designed specifically for under-bed organization. These bins are lightweight, compact, roll, are easy-to-clean and are readily available at most home department stores. You can really maximize their storage capacity by pairing them with expandable drawer organizers.
What is your favorite way to create bedroom storage where there once was none?
Trend: 15 Small Baby Room Solutions
Back in May my husband and I got a bit of a surprise, we’re expecting our second child! We are beyond thrilled and can’t wait to bring this little love into the world, but we are also realizing that we don’t actually have anywhere to put this new baby. Whoops! Our home is 950 square feet and has exactly 2 small bedrooms. Our first daughter is 5 years old and we feel bad putting a little baby into her room, so we came up with an idea: we will turn our tiny kitchen nook into the smallest of bedrooms, ever. It’s so small, but perfect for a little baby/little kid. We just need to build a wall and door, and we are done.
Since this room is so small my husband and I will need to get a bit creative with how we arrange the room and what we put in it. Below you’ll find 15 Small Baby Room Solutions that have really inspired me to get started on my little baby’s room. Enjoy!
Closets turned into baby rooms:
1) This is inspiring. This 25 square foot closet was turned into the perfect little baby nook. Talk about using the space you have, from Apartment Therapy.
2) I’ve been admiring this little crib in a closet space for years now. So lovely, from Apartment Therapy.
3) If your closet isn’t long enough for a full size crib, buy a mini crib for your small closet, from Lovely Morning.
4) This shared bedroom is so lovely and Melissa shares where most of these items came from (if they were DIY or purchased), from Melissa Esplin.
5) This shared space is so simple and lovely, from Bleubird.
6) I love almost anything Joni does, but this small shared baby and kid room is the best, from Lay Baby Lay.
7) This open closet set up is lovely and perfect for a small space nursery, from Project Nursery.
8) Use all the space in your closet with hanging shelves on the back of the doors, from The Avid Appetite.
9) Maximize your closet space by installing cubbies and drawers, from Project Nursery.
10) Turn a small closet space into the whole diaper changing space, along with other baby storage, from BHG.
11) This changing table is actually a rolling tool cart… so cool. Just roll this thing around as you need it, from Apartment Therapy.
12) When you have a baby there are diapers EVERYwhere. I love this Ikea wall shelf turned diaper storage, from Our Dream Foreclosure.
13) Add wheels to some old drawers and they can sit under the crib full of toys, from Oleander and Palm.
14) Use removable baskets to organize your baby’s dresser drawers, from I Heart Organizing.
15) Make these small space wall bookshelves for under $30, from Just a Girl Blog.
I hope you’re having a wonderful week!
- Chelsey, The Paper Mama
It is no secret that pegboard is about as versatile as it gets when it comes to storage and organization. Most commonly found in the garage for storing tools; it typically comes with a reputation of being basic and unnatractive. However, any kitchen can benefit from the endless variety of organizing options that pegboard offers.
Pegboard is slender, can be customized with pegs, hooks and baskets and takes advantage of vertical space. In fact, pegboard is a prime solution for small kitchen spaces and even rental homes. I am here today to convince you that pegboard in the kitchen can be fabulous, beautiful and endlessly functional.
Paint it! Just because pegboard comes in a white and brown finish, does not mean it has to stay that way. A quick coat of paint and it becomes a shining storage star.
Another painting option is to do a chalkboard finish. This allows you to trace the items you are storing to be sure everything finds a way back home.
Frame it! By adding decorative moulding to the outside of pegboard, it offers a nice finished edge and instantly becomes artwork that doubles as storage.
Don’t be afraid to tuck small pieces of pegboard in small nooks and crannies to truly maximize your storage opportunities. Think about the backs of bookcases, behind shelving, on the sides of cabinets and behind doors.
Bring the kids into the kitchen by installing a wall of pegboard paired with pockets, baskets and organizers to create the ultimate crafting zone.
Are you a big coffee drinker like I am? I love the idea of adding pegboard to display mugs above a kitchen coffee station.
Selecting pegboard with larger pegs and holes creates an entirely different feel, yet still offers the same amount of storage and flexibility.
If you are still not convinced that you love the look of pegboard out in the open, consider adding small pieces to the interior of your cabinets. This is a great solution for creating hidden memo stations, hanging keys or storing small baking tools.
Another way to conceal pegboard is to put it on casters and create a tucked away rolling system. It slides out when you need to access your items, and then hides away in-between uses.
Pegboard really does make the most of wall and cabinet space, but did you know it can also maximize your drawer storage? Add pegboard to the floor of the drawer and when paired with pegs, you can create an endless combination of drawer organizers.
Cleaning is chore enough! Adding pegboard to your kitchen cleaning closet will keep all of your supplies right within reach each day.
So what do you think, are you ready to add some colorful pegboard storage to your kitchen space?