10 clever ways to squeeze extra storage from homes with a small footprint

PHOTO: Upstairs

Ample storage space tops the ranks of the most desired features for homeowners, especially in Singapore, where living spaces are always at a premium. Afterall, the residential interior design is, basically, all about creating a proper storage space for your life.

The best home storage solutions are always tailored to the homeowners’ needs and habits. In the hands of resourceful homeowners and designers, a home with a small footprint is an opportunity to get creative and discover innovative ways to incorporate storage spaces that maximise the nooks and crannies.

Here are 10 ways to get extra storage in your small home. 

Raised your platform and store things underneath it

Raised platforms are excellent to gain extra storage space, and to demarcate areas in your home without having to build walls, leaving the space open to feel more spacious.

Depending on how high is your ceiling, you can bump the platform up by 15-20cm to get drawer-size storage for linens and documents, or up to 60-75cm to store bulkier items like suitcases. 

Turn your vertical spaces into two-dimensional storage 

Just like you stick notes to the wall or corkboard and magnet to the fridge, you can stick small and two-dimensional items onto designated vertical surfaces.

Montana magnetic board. Price by request, available at Pomelo Home and Danish Design Co. PHOTO: Pomelo Home and Danish Design Co

Kungsfors magnetic knife board. $21.90. PHOTO: Ikea

Mount your ceiling with storage 

The ceiling is often dubbed as the fifth wall, which is often underutilised. Ask your interior designer for custom ceiling mounted storage.

Make it opaque to hide the content or take a cue from the overhead racks in bars and make it open to display its content. You can also DIY ceiling mounted storage with items like Ikea’s Mulig clothes bar. Hide it from plain sight with curtains.

Get furniture pieces that double up as storage 

Furniture with solid bases like benches, sofa and bed frame are good to pull double duty as storage spaces. This is a well-known strategy in retail to store some inventory on the shop floor. At home, this type of storage eliminates clutter and keeps items within reach.

Domo foldable storage bench ottoman. $39.90. PHOTO: Hipvan. 

Turn your staircase into the ultimate storage 

PHOTO: Kotaro Anzai of ADX

The staircase presents the biggest opportunity for storage. The triangular space beneath it is a classic example of awkward angle storage while its risers can double as pull-out drawers.

And this applies not only for full-fledged stairs in multi-storey homes, but also for the fewer steps in split level homes or mezzanine platforms. This home in Japan designed by architect Kotaro Anzai of ADX takes it up a notch with its custom carpentry staircase drawers.

Set up a perimeter storage

Imagine your eye level as a radar. Keep the area near this ‘radar’ free and open to create a breathable room and use the areas below and above it for perimeter storage, which is a storage that runs the length of the wall.

PHOTO: Emma Chapman

Perimeter storage includes shelves along the wall above door height like the living room by Emma Chapman above, the bay window nook, and the area closest to the floor.

Round off spaces with awkward angle ABD get extra storage 

Leftover spaces happen, and sometimes they are not clean-cut, perpendicular spaces you can easily slot something in. Custom carpentry is a great way to visually tidy up these spaces, rounding off the room nicely while turning the awkward space into storage for small items.

You can also find storage spaces designed specifically for awkward angles in the market.

Kesseboehmer Tandem Diagonal storage, price by request, available in Singapore Q1 2021 from Hafele. PHOTO: Hafele

Platsa wardrobe, $705. PHOTO: Ikea.

Turn your bed headboard into storage

Your bed headboard can be more than a decorative element. Ask your designer to integrate some storage compartments into your headboard.

This will eliminate the need for sideboards and free up the space in your bedroom. Or simply choose one of bed frames with built-in storage headboard that are available in the market.

Brimnes bed frame. $699. PHOTO: Ikea. 

Install pop-up mechanism in deep storage space 

Like those pop-up books that wowed you in your childhood, some storage systems come with an extended structure that pops out and presents its content to you for easier access. This mechanism is especially useful when dealing with cramped or deep storage space.

Build a feature wall storage 

PHOTO: Upstairs 

The storage space that hides in plain sight, feature wall storage serves as a storage, space divider and architectural centrepiece of the home.

The Crate Apartment by Upstairs above places its feature wall-cum-storage as the centrepiece of the design.

PHOTO: Spatial Anatomy

If you’re feeling adventurous, take the cue from the Corridor Apartment by Spatial Anatomy above and ask your interior designer to do away with all your non-structural walls and replace them with storage walls.

This article was first published in Home & Decor.