7 Stylish Storage Trends That Make Getting Organized Easier Than Ever

Experts share the latest storage solutions making homes more efficient in 2021.

Following a year filled with new routines and unexpected at-home activities (think: school, work, exercise, entertainment, et al.), the storage capacity of our homes has been pushed to the limit. We asked industry experts about the storage problems people are most looking to solve in 2021, plus the storage solutions they expect to see stick around in the future. This year, it's all about finding ways to hit refresh and help our homes work harder so we don't have to.

large mudroom with geometric floor
Nathan Schroder

1. Personalized Mudroom Storage

Mudrooms will continue to be in high demand in the coming year, according to Lee Crowder, national director of design & model experience at Taylor Morrison. More than just a drop zone, mudrooms are evolving to include dedicated storage for each member of the household. "Rather than having everyone's shoes end up in a giant basket where you can't find anything, give every family member their own hook and basket to store their items," says Crowder. Cubbies, bins, lockers, crates, and hangers also do the job, as long as they're marked for the intended user. Labels, color coding, or photos help identify storage and keep everyone on track. This individualized approach not only contributes to peace of mind, says Crowder, but it also helps everyone get out the door more efficiently when it's time to leave.

Bedroom with ottoman and windows
Brie Passano

2. Furniture That Pulls Double-Duty

"Multi-functional, multi-use pieces of furniture are a must going forward," says Marissa Whitley Tago, interior designer and owner of The Whitley Co. These items make the most of space already in use—a real bonus when major renovations or small floor-plan changes aren't in the cards. For example, an ottoman with storage at the foot of the bed instead of a bench, or a desk with drawers rather than a simple desktop, can go a long way toward increasing a room's storage and organization capabilities. Tago also suggests taking advantage of vertical space: Think traditional bookshelves, wall-mount vanities that free up floor space, and mirrors with hidden storage.

kitchen open cupboards basket storage
Robert Brinson

3. Nature-Inspired Colors and Materials

The great outdoors continues to influence home design, inspiring everything from a newly popular organic kitchen style to 2021 paint color forecasts. It's also impacting storage in many ways. For starters, natural materials like rattan, jute, and leather are wildly popular materials for baskets and other furnishings that help corral clutter. "Incorporating as many natural elements in your space remains a big feature that adds beautiful texture and an organically appealing warmth to any room," says Tago. Following a year with so many unknowns, it's no surprise homeowners are turning to these calming, nature-inspired textures for a bit of contemplative order.

This organic influence also impacts one of the biggest storage components of the home: cabinetry. "With people spending more time at home, they are craving opportunities to spend time outdoors and are therefore bringing inspiration from nature into their spaces," says Stephanie Pierce, director of design and trends for MasterBrand. "What is exciting is that this industry is finally seeing color on cabinetry as a positive enhancement again." According to Pierce, deep forest greens, murky whites, and statement grays—all hues that are naturally found in nature—will continue to grow in popularity.

artwork on display in playroom
David Tsay

4. Kid-Friendly Solutions

Between remote schooling and having to spend the better part of a year staying active and entertained at home, it's no surprise storage is adapting to accommodate children. Britt Blackwelder, owner of The Brittish Way professional organizing service, has seen an uptick in households looking for easily-accessible snack areas for kids. "With kids being home a lot more, having easy-to-reach, parent-approved snacks makes everyone's lives easier," she says. "In pantries, I recommend deep drawer bins on low shelves, especially on deep shelving. They function like drawers and are clear so the contents are easy to see."

Toy boxes and organizers are also hot storage picks for 2021, according to Wayfair. "As families are still spending a lot of time at home, the need for more organization around everyday playware has increased," says Katie Campbell, senior manager of storage and organization. One noteworthy toy solution: Take advantage of vertical space and compact layouts by tucking toys into a corner.

White cube organizer shelf
Ann VanderWiel Wilde

5. Shelving Room Dividers

"Because many of us are manipulating our current living situations to adjust to work from home and virtual school, being able to add a floating shelving unit to divide a living space into a living/workspace is very popular," says Crowder. Freestanding shelving, like bookshelves or cube storage units, is available in many shapes and sizes to accommodate almost any space and style. It can be used to physically and visually delineate areas while also adding at-hand storage. Wall-mount shelving can also work along long walls common in large, open concept homes. Incorporate a mix of closed storage and display space for a streamlined look.

workspace with olive green cabinets
Blaine Moats

6. Return to Closed Storage

Open shelving is still popular and will likely never go out of style, but closed storage solutions are growing in popularity thanks to their ability to combat the visual and physical clutter resulting from spending so much time at home. "Clearing clutter and maintaining some organization amidst chaotic days is good for your health in more ways than one," says Tago. Utilize closed storage if working from home to help put assignments out of sight and mind at the end of the day or workweek. During the day, closed storage helps keep distractions away from the work area.

Closet offices, or "cloffices," are a trendy, small-space home office solution that work much the same way. These spare closets boast a small workspace that can be hidden at the end of the day by simply shutting the door.

But closed storage isn't all filing cabinets and media consoles. Those bigger pieces can be expensive to replace and harder to fit into an already full room. Instead, smaller, portable storage solutions like lidded baskets and boxes can reduce clutter on open shelving and tuck away neatly under side tables and next to sofas. According to Tago, this variety is key for both style and function. "Oversized woven baskets, large mixed metal bins, and uniquely shaped and colorful storage compliments will give your space a pop of visual interest as well as a place to keep your stuff hidden," she says.

fridge filled with food
Cameron Sadeghpour

7. Efficient Food Organization

Life in 2020 strongly impacted the kitchen, inspiring bigger islands and more freezer space—big-ticket storage upgrades that are altering home layouts. This year, however, is all about creating efficient food storage. "Spice organization is a common request," says Blackwelder. "I've been converting a lot of spice cabinets to spice drawers—things are easier to see and access, and you don't knock all your spices over when you try to grab the one in the back."

Clear storage containers also assist in food prep. "The trend toward having clear containers to store food items instead of storing them in their original packaging became even more popular during the pandemic because we were worried about bringing contaminated items into our home," says Crowder. Such practical changes have long-lasting appeal, in part because they make cooking and snack-hunting easier. But there's an underlying driver connected here as well: sustainability. "We know customers are becoming increasingly conscious of their consumption habits and trying to live a more sustainable lifestyle," says Campbell. Employing more efficient storage solutions, including adding organizers and replacing ineffective food storage containers, keeps food fresher for longer and makes us more aware of the contents of our pantries and fridges.

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