When you’re planning a project for your home, it’s a good idea to think about storage right from the start. We asked three architects to give us their top tips for ensuring that a redesign includes plenty of places to store your belongings.
CWB ArchitectsThink Ahead
Before you plan any shelves, cupboards or drawers, it’s important to know exactly what you need to store. “The first thing to do is make sure you’re not wasting your time and money creating storage for things you don’t really love or need,” Jane Leach says.
Nimi Attanayake highlights the importance of speaking to your architect about storage from the outset. “A good team will offer practical solutions to the challenges of construction,” she says. “At the early stages, your architect can plan the overall spatial strategy alongside the storage.”
Davey McEathron ArchitectureTailor It to Fit
Once you’ve identified the items you want to keep, you can start planning the storage for them. “Group like with like and decide in which part of your home it makes sense to store each category,”Leach says. “Consider what you do in each room and what you need nearby to support your use of that space.”
“Work out what you need the storage unit to contain and design it accordingly,” Attanayake says. “Think about the details. For example, work desks and TV units need a lot of cables, so it’s often neater to locate the cable route and drill holes into the storage to conceal them.”
“Consider ergonomics, especially your own physical needs,” Leach says. “A height of between 31 inches and 71 inches is easiest for most adults to access. If you struggle to crouch down, you can use drawers for lower storage to make it easier to get to things, especially at the back.”
Beausoleil ArchitectsRemember the Details
“Think about materials, colors and whether you want the storage to stand out or blend in with the space,” Attanayake says. “The material should be suited to the space.” For example, bathroom storage is best made from water-resistant materials. She also notes that you can save money with clever planning. “The door materials could be different, with more cost-effective surfaces used for the carcasses,” she says.
fiftypointeight Architecture + InteriorsAdapt for an Open-Plan Room
Many people want a home with an open-plan layout, which provides a lovely feeling of space and connection. However, such a design does present some issues. “The loss of wall space results in a loss of storage space,” Angus Eitel says.
His solution is to merge storage in the different zones to create a harmonious look. “Using kitchen cabinets in the adjacent living space makes perfect sense,” he says. Here, for example, large kitchen cabinets are positioned at the back of the living room to create a wall of storage.
“Island units are another solution,” Eitel says.
Jeff Jordan Architects LLCGet Creative
“Consider the house as a volume, not just a floor plan,” Eitel says. “Use every bit of space you can, including those hard-to-reach spots, such as under the stairs. It may be that some clever tricks can be employed by a designer to provide easy access.
Silu – Interior design and branding“The bathroom, for example, is an area where some simple advance planning can make all the difference,” Eitel says. “Incorporate storage in false walls that conceal pipework and the toilet tank.”
Tribe Studio ArchitectsGo to New Levels
“Look high for places to add storage,” Leach says. In a kitchen, for instance, cabinets can be extended all the way to the ceiling. “You can add more cabinets on top of wall cupboards so they use the full height of the room.
“Consider, also, storage solutions that hang from the ceiling that you can drop down, then raise again using a pulley system,” Leach suggests. “You can do this with all sorts of things. Typically, traditional clothes airers used this system, but it works for storing bikes or even a bed.”
UserExploit the Eaves
An attic conversion provides a good opportunity to edit your possessions. These projects “result in the loss of a significant amount of storage, which offers the opportunity to undertake some serious decluttering,” Eitel says.
“However, there are certain items that can’t be sent to recycling, such as suitcases and Christmas decorations, so it’s important to ensure that any [attic] conversion makes good use of the total volume,” he says.
Emilie Fournet InteriorsSqueeze In a Utility Area
It’s worth asking an architect to try to incorporate a separate storage zone away from the kitchen, our experts say.
“We often recommend a small utility-type space adjacent to a kitchen, which can double as a mudroom or yard access,” Eitel says. “With efficient space planning, you can house a significant amount of stuff in a tight spot.”
Beau Clowney ArchitectsMake Designs Dual-Purpose
“Before you look at building extra storage, consider ways you can make the most of the space you have,” Leach says. “The easiest solution is to have dual-purpose furniture that doubles as storage. Pieces can often incorporate drawers or compartments.”
GK Architects LimitedAnother suggestion is to create a raised platform by building up a higher level of floor. “You’ll need a few steps to get onto it,” Leach says. “Then, within the depth of the platform, you can conceal all sorts of storage solutions. It’s a good way to hide a bed or kids toys — or anything really.”
Fearins | Welch Interior DesignWork In Display Space
Our experts recommend having both concealed and open storage in your home. “When briefing a designer, make sure you mention any objects or collections you’d like to display from the outset,” Eitel says. “A full-height bookshelf can be incorporated into a design very easily and can house a significant number of books or collectibles.”
“If you want your space to look more designed,” Leach says, “make sure you curate the visible objects and hide the rest away. You could select the display items based on color, texture, shape or style to give a cohesive look.”
Jeff Jordan Architects LLCTell us: Where do you plan to include storage in your project? Share your thoughts in the Comments.