Steal This Home's Clever Built-In Ideas to Maximize Storage

See how these savvy homeowners worked with a designer to add smart, built-in storage that enhances every room of their house.

Monica and Curtis Garner's 1980s-era house in Bellevue, Washington, was functional, but it lacked the charm they desired for their family space. They turned to JAS Design Build to help them add built-in storage and fresh character. In the casual dining area this meant installing a new banquette with cabinets on both ends that hold cookbooks and serving pieces. Bright orange chairs lend a fun, youthful excitement to the otherwise neutral space.

In the basement family room a new long cabinet behind the sofa offers plenty of storage and display space. Drawers hold gift wrap and supplies and holiday decorations. Open shelves in the middle for board games lighten the overall look.

When guests gather in the adjoining kitchen, Monica can hide the television in the formal living area behind punched-metal screen doors. The coffee table has a lift-up top for easy access to stored blankets, and includes drawers for magazines so they don't pile up on its surface. Chairs and sofa face in towards each other to encourage conversation over electronics.

In the farmhouse-style kitchen glass-front cabinet doors and open shelves break up walls of white cabinetry and put dishes and vintage-style glass canisters on display. The island, painted a soft blue, features open shelving on the working side to ensure that the cook has easy access to pots and pans. Stools on the opposite side create a casual eating spot.


A quiet spot on a large stair landing area just off the playroom now serves as a cozy work and reading zone. A shallow built-in cabinet stows office supplies and snacks, open shelves display reading materials, and a built-in bench sports a cheery cushioned seat. This creative use of a commonly-forgotten space makes all the difference for a family with limited square footage.


At the other end of the bench, a narrow table forms a desk for the computer so one person can work while another relaxes with a favorite book. This desk stretches over the bench to meet the wall, creating more tabletop space. The sacrifice of bench seating is well worth the trouble of doubling the desk size.

Drawers along one wall of the primary bedroom feature dividers for organizing belts, scarves, and jewelry. The storage nook also includes a mirror to act as a standing vanity, when needed. Having built-in drawers keeps the flow of the small bedroom uninterrupted.


Floating nightstands on both sides of the bed include an electrical outlet at the back and are big enough for a tablet to fit inside. A hole on top allows Monica and Curtis to pull cords through so phones can be used while charging.

"Everyone walks around their house saying, 'I wish I had a place for this.' Write down your ideas and communicate them to your designer," said Monica.

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