19 Creative Storage Ideas to Solve Your Small-Space Problems

black and white kitchen open wooden shelf
Photo: Brie Williams

Living in tight quarters shouldn't hold you back from meeting your storage needs. With the right strategies, it's easy to live small and store well. We'll show you how to organize your home with creative storage ideas for small spaces.

01 of 18

Substitute Closet Space

Living room with wooden shelves filled with décor
Kat Teutsch

Many small homes lack sufficient closet space, which can make entryway storage, in particular, quite the challenge. To make up for a storage scarcity around your front door, outfit the space with a variety of hooks and open shelves to create a customized dropzone that works for your family. Use bins or baskets on the shelves to sort belongings by family member or type of item.

02 of 18

Hide Your Storage

blue red decorated living room furniture and art
Annie Schlechter

Not all items are pretty enough to be stored in clear view. To maintain a cleaner look, utilize hidden storage that keeps things out of sight but still accessible. Furniture tricks, like this flip-top upholstered storage bench, can stylishly disguise items you'd rather not display.

03 of 18

Add Incremental Storage

White shelving holding jars
Stacey Brandford

To gain more storage out of small spaces, consider simple add-ons to basic storage solutions. Take this narrow shelf addition, for example. This small, notched-back shelf offers just enough room for glass canisters that store oft-used items close at hand.

04 of 18

Don't Ignore Nooks

black and white kitchen open wooden shelf
Brie Williams

Shelves don't need to take up long expanses of horizontal space to be useful. Especially in small spaces, a short length of shelves can efficiently meet your storage needs. Here, a narrow stretch of wall with open shelves provides easy-access storage for dishes and cooking essentials that are used most often.

05 of 18

Clear off the Floor

Bedroom with box shelves on wall
Greg Scheidemann

Clutter can be a constant battle in small spaces, but clever storage solutions can help keep your rooms clean and calm. Try the strategy used here to gain valuable spots to stash essentials: Mount small cubes or rectangular shelf units on the wall for open storage. With no doors to open and close, you don't need to leave extra clearance space around the units. A wall-mounted light fixture keeps the tabletop surface free for books, glasses, and more.

06 of 18

Stagger Shelves

ladder shelf with plants and blue decor

Uniform, boxy shelving units can overpower a small room and make it feel smaller than it really is. Instead, look for ladder-style pieces with shelves that get narrower toward the top. This can help lighten a room's look and feel, as well as provide useful storage for items in various sizes.

07 of 18

Scale Down Shelves

soft taupe bathroom with white towels hanging and folded on taupe shelf
John Bessler

Small spaces don't offer a lot of room for overly large furniture, especially small bathrooms. Look for sized-down pieces that still offer plenty of storage potential, like this open three-shelf unit. It offers just enough space for extra towels and toiletries, as well as pretty display space.

08 of 18

Include Out-in-the-Open Storage

Blue shelf with wire storage
Blaine Moats

Closed doors and drawers aren't the only way to effectively store items. Smaller spaces may necessitate using spots that are in plain view. Consider grouping same-size items—here, rolls of essential kitchen papers and wraps—in a decorative storage piece that blends with the style of the room. A mesh file keeps aluminum foil, parchment paper, and other cooking items at hand.

09 of 18

Rely on Double-Duty Furniture

Computer desk made out of shelving
John Granen

Pieces that can work in a variety of ways are a great fit for small-space storage. Home offices, for example, can be difficult to create out of limited square footage, but strategically placed bookshelves can serve as storage and desk space. Here, a small stool tucks under the work surface, while small bins and baskets keep necessities stylishly contained.

10 of 18

Research Helpful Add-ons

Hair dryer hanging on inside shelf
Jacob Fox

Cleverly designed products can solve a variety of storage woes, and many of them work wonders in small spaces to keep clutter at bay. Look for single-storage items that can help you find homes for those things that are used daily but can easily live out of the way. Hairdryer holders that mount inside cabinet doors and specialized clothes bins are just a few helpful examples.

11 of 18

Combine Cabinet Types

black and white bathroom counter with mirror
Adam Albright

Not all storage works the same: Cabinets, drawers, and open shelves each serve a purpose to stash different types of items. Especially in heavy-traffic areas such as bathrooms, mixing up your options can help you store things more effectively. Varying your storage solutions in small spaces allows you to make the most of every inch.

12 of 18

Use Vertical Spaces

Closet door with hanging storage racks
Marshall Johnson

Utilizing vertical space, like behind-the-door storage, is a smart solution for tight quarters. Those precious square feet can be put to good use, especially for storing small items that would otherwise clutter up rooms. A variety of slim wire baskets—better to keep contents in view—lines the back of this door to corral gift-wrapping essentials.

13 of 18

Pare Down

Towels stored in shelf
Adam Albright

Living in a small space can encourage you to get back to basics and edit your stuff down to the essentials. With fewer items to store, you can avoid overcrowding and use limited space much more effectively. Declutter your home by storing only what is necessary for your family—a set or two of towels, for example—and replacing items as they get worn or damaged. For the items you decide to keep, maintain easy access by subdividing open spaces for better organization.

14 of 18

Open Up Storage

White shelves against black brick
Philip Harvey

Cabinet doors take up square feet that may not be available in small spaces. Instead, opt for narrow open shelves to gain extra surfaces to store frequently used items, like plates and glasses. To keep the shelves looking tidy, be strategic about what you store there and leave plenty of open space between stacks of items.

15 of 18

Smarter Jewelry Storage

Magnetic board and board storing jewelry on wall
Adam Albright

Small items, like jewelry and makeup, can be difficult to store even in larger spaces. Because these items typically include a range of pieces in various sizes, an organizer with uniformly sized compartments may not be the best solution. To save valuable drawer and shelf space, look to walls for extra storage areas. Outfit an empty frame with a piece of cork or a metal sheet with decorative holes, and use pins or hooks to hang necklaces and bracelets. For makeup, attach magnets to the back of each product and store them vertically on a framed magnetic board.

16 of 18

Don't Discard Potential Storage

White drawer in bathroom
Michael Partenio

To maximize small-space storage, choose furniture pieces that provide hidden storage in unexpected ways. Here, a bathroom stool isn't just a spot to sit. It also features a bottom drawer that pulls out to reveal extra towels, washcloths, and bath products.

17 of 18

Hide Electronics

Drawer in furniture with pillows
Greg Scheidemann

For small rooms, countertop and work-surface space come at a premium, so you need to be strategic about what you store out in the open versus tucked away somewhere. When stored out on the desktop or counter, large tech pieces, like printers and scanners, can take up a lot of real estate that could be better used for items you use more frequently. Put these electronics away inside right-sized drawers to keep them out of the way until you actually need them.

18 of 18

Use Your Windows

Kitchen with shelves over windows
John Granen

Natural light helps brighten dark corners and make tight rooms feel bigger. But windows can also gobble up walls that could otherwise serve as potential storage spots. To maximize both light and storage capacity, consider hanging shelves or racks across windows to keep pots, pans, and everyday dishes accessible.

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