Outdoor Storage Solutions
Hang 'Em High
Don't overlook the vertical space on a porch or patio -- it's ripe with storage possibilities. Both high and low shelves made of weatherproof wood and metal stack scads of bulky items outside. A jaunty clothesline lifts bags and other lightweight gear so the items catch the breeze.
Vintage locker bins, readily available at antiques malls and thrift stores, are no strangers to use and abuse, making them ideal storage containers for slipping beneath an outdoor bench.
This gorgeous bank of built-in cabinetry (complete with a sink and scads of storage) resembles an old-fashioned butler's pantry, but it was crafted specially for a sheltered patio rather than an indoor kitchen. Barn-style hinges and hardware, plus a slate countertop -- impervious to moisture and abuse -- nod toward the pantry's rustic function, and a pair of doors can enclose the area to protect it from inclement weather.
Carved into a massive limestone block and capped with a removable teak lid, this rugged outdoor coffee table hides a delightful surprise inside: a drink cooler! No wonder the sofa and chairs are gathered around -- it’s party central.
Nubby baskets with handles serve the same purpose outside as they do in: carrying items from one spot to another and corralling bulky pieces so they stay tidy. This big basket collects cushions and throws for cozying up on a couch or chair. Because they are susceptible to rain, keep baskets in a sheltered spot, such as a covered porch or patio.
A tall kitchen hutch needs only a tweak or two to be suitable for the outdoors: a coat of exterior paint (the zanier the color combination, the better!) and a chicken-wire inset (rather than glass) in one cabinet door. Hooks on the doors and inside the cabinet extend the hutch's usefulness to hang gloves and hand tools, while a large base shelf stows a big metal bin of potting soil and tall rain boots.
Just about every surface of this hutch is put to use. On the side, two metal coat hooks tame an unruly garden hose.
Hide and Seat
This cheerful bench -- softened by a striped cushion -- provides more than a burst of bright color and a comfy seat on the deck. Its hinged top allows bulky outdoor items, such as garden tools and potting soil, to be stored inside.
This dinette set does double duty: The chairs scoot right into the table when not in use, so it looks and functions like a buffet.
At Your Service
As well-appointed as an indoor kitchen island, this outdoor version features everything an active family needs for alfresco dining: plastic cups, plates, and silverware; napkins and towels; and bins for trash and recycling.
Cart It Outside
Furniture meant for indoors can easily transition to the deck. This kitchen cart -- with its waterproof granite top and a coat of outdoor sealer -- transforms into a potting bench once outside, even providing hooks for garden tools and a bottom shelf for pots and drainage trays.
On the Move
Worn and Weathered
An antique buffet might be too shabby for the breakfast nook, but its chipped paint and warped boards feel right at home on a patio. Plates and dishes of food cluster on its tabletop, while the lower shelf holds baskets filled with other essentials.
The garage often collects overflow from both the house and yard, so it's essential that this transitional space be tidy and organized. Modular storage units -- with a mix of closed-door cabinets, open shelves, and sliding drawers -- gather indoor and outdoor necessities in one compact space. Slat-wall paneling, often used in retail stores to display merchandise up high, puts an otherwise blank stretch of wall to good use holding hand tools and extension cords.
Off the Wall
Inexpensive rubber-coated hooks elevate folding chairs and plastic buckets for handy -- and eye-catching -- storage in the garage.
Grab a Cold One
A kitchen cart goes outside with ease thanks to rolling casters. An insulated cooler fits perfectly inside, keeping icy-cold drinks within reach, while open slots at the base stash bottles and plates. The cart is sized to snug under the outdoor kitchen's countertop, where a spritely curtain conceals it from view.
Tote-able Garden Tools
A humble plastic bucket blossoms into an indispensible garden caddy with the addition of an oilcloth apron wrapped around its rim. A hand shovel and other small supplies slip into the pockets, while items with long handles and more bulk cluster inside the bucket.
Perfect for Potting
A potting bench crafted of reclaimed, weathered wood offers a work surface for gardening tasks, such as repotting plants or starting seeds.