20 Storage Ideas for Small Spaces

When you don’t have a lot of storage space available, you have to get creative with your storage ideas for small spaces. No matter if this is in  your home or garden shed, being organized and thinking outside of the box are the two biggest gifts you can give yourself. However, thanks to the rise in popularity of tiny homes, you now have a host of storage ideas for small spaces available to you. Some will require a professional to help you, but you can’t overstate how powerful a well-made built-in unit is in your home. 

Some of the storage ideas for small spaces on this list are as simple as rearranging key items in your home, and you can do this yourself in a few hours. Below, we’ll show you our favorite storage ideas for small spaces, and they may even inspire you to up your game and incorporate a few of them into your own home, workshop, or garden shed to keep everything neat, organized, and clutter-free. 

1. Use a Fold Down Desk

You need a desk but you have absolutely no spare room for said desk. What do you do? Normally, the answer would be to go without, but this storage idea for small spaces can help solve your problems. All you’ll have to do is be prepared to buy or build a fold-down desk. The concept behind this piece of furniture is very simple, but it’ll create a sturdy surface to work on when you need it. 

These types of desks fold down from their spot on the wall when you need them. When you’re finished, you’ll fold the desk back up flat against the wall to free up your space. This storage idea for small spaces gives you the best of both worlds. You could even double it as a shelving unit if you get a smaller fold-down desk so it’s useful 24/7 and not just when you need it. 

1 Fold Down Desk
Desk by phil_fry / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

2. Kitchen Island Storage Space

When you think of a kitchen island, chances are,  you’re thinking about a solid piece of cabinetry with a heavy-duty countertop. However, you can easily transform your kitchen island into extra space for storage with this storage idea for small spaces. If you’re going to buy an island, look for one that has cupboards and drawers built into the base. This will give you room to store your pots, pans, cleaning, products, or whatever you want in them. You could even find space for your garbage can. 

If you’re going to build a kitchen island, you have more flexibility with the design and your storage solutions. This is a good idea if you’re looking for a few storage ideas for small spaces. You can add as many compartments as you’d like in the design, and this can help free up some valuable counter or cabinet space around your kitchen’s perimeter. 

2 Kitchen Island
Still: Kitchen by Dru Bloomfield / CC BY 2.0

3. Create a Pegboard Wall

Creating a pegboard wall is an easy way to give yourself a flexible storage idea for small spaces. For example, you could put one up in the kitchen for your smaller appliances, cooking utensils, or even your pots and pans if you don’t have the cabinet space. It works well for knick-knacks in the living room or in the kid’s rooms too if they have a lot of stuff that doesn’t have a dedicated space.

This is a flexible storage idea for small areas because it’s easy to move the pegs on the pegboard to support different-sized items. You could put shelving up on them too if you need a sturdier base for your heavier items. Pegboard is also relatively cheap to buy, or you could make it by drilling holes in sheets of plywood and sticking wooden pegs into the holes. Just make sure you give yourself enough space for all of the items you want to store. 

3 Pegboard Wall
Framing a Pegboard With Moulding by sk / CC BY-ND 2.0

4. Take Advantage of Storage Under the Stairs.

Think about the space under the stairs. Do you have anything there or is it dead space? For most people, the answer would be that it’s dead space. This storage idea for small spaces proposes that you take advantage of this space in any way you can. You may want to bring in a professional for this project, or you can add it in if you’re adding a new staircase to your home. 

You can design a small closet for this storage idea for small spaces, or you can have a host of drawers, cabinets, and a larger storage space all neatly lined under your stairs. Depending on how large your stairs are, you could get ample room out of this transformation. Also, you can make the doors or drawers blend into your existing design aesthetic to create a chic look. Just remember to routinely sort through the stuff you put in this space and rearrange it as needed. 

4 Staircase Storage
wrought_iron_baluster_staircase_remodel (15) by The Finishing Company Richmond Va / CC BY 2.0

5. Ceiling Shelving

Most people have unused space 12 to 14-inches from their ceiling that is just there. It’s too high for conventional shelves because you won’t be able to reach whatever you store there unless you get out a step stool, and this can be a hassle. This storage idea for small spaces will help give all of your little souvenirs or knick-knacks around the room so you can still see them but they’re out of your direct way. 

Start by measuring 12 to 14-inches from the ceiling with this storage idea for small spaces and mark this point on the walls. Get brackets and shelving and hang them up on your marks. You can have this shelving unit run around your entire room if you like, and it can hold a decent amount of items. You do want to remember to go up and dust it periodically though because a lot of dust will settle up here. 

5 Ceiling Shelves
Recycled Wood Flooring by Jeremy Levine / CC BY 2.0

6. Entryway Shelving Units

It’s so easy for your entryway to look and feel very cluttered, and this is especially true if you have kids running around or you like to entertain guests. This storage idea for small spaces allows you to remove some of the clutter while keeping the items you need in easy reach. All you’ll need to complete it is some brackets, shelves, small wicker baskets, cordless drill, screws, and a little know-how. 

Start by deciding where you want to hang your shelving units for this storage idea for small spaces. How far you separate them will depend on how large the items are you want to store. Put your shelving units up and stack the wicker baskets in a row on the lowest shelf. This will give you space to put each person’s shoes or outdoor gear out of your sight. You can even label each basket with a person’s name to help keep them separate. 

6 Entryway Storage
The entryway by AlisaRyan / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

7. Hidden Furniture Storage

Today, a lot of furniture doubles up as storage ideas for small spaces since the manufacturers understand that space is at a premium. These furniture pieces flip open on hinges to reveal small compartments under the seating area of the furniture. You can easily put blankets, throw pillows, or other smaller items here before closing the lid and covering these compartments. This gives you a very neat and tidy look for your room. 

You can also create these storage ideas for small spaces if you are handy enough to create pallet furniture. End tables, coffee tables, couches, and even chairs can all have hidden storage compartments inside them that allows you to keep your items close without too much clutter. Making them is more time-consuming than buying them, but it allows you to personalize how it looks and ensure that it matches the rest of your decor and design aesthetic. 

7 Furniture Storage
IMG_7516 by bradleypjohnson / CC BY 2.0

8. Consider a Built-In Bookcase

It is possible to create a built-in bookcase all on your own, but you have to ensure that you’re not working on a load-bearing wall in your home. You’ll take out part of your wall, build shelving units, and push them back into the space you created in the first step of this storage idea for small spaces. This way, the unit doesn’t stick out into the room and eat up valuable floor space. 

You can have these built-in bookshelves be as large as the whole wall, or you can build them to run around things like your fireplace or in your kid’s room around their bunk beds. You could even create moveable shelves that allow you to decide how much space you want for certain shelves and less for the others to maximize your storage capabilities. You will want to stain, seal, or paint the shelving units before you use them to help improve how long they last. 

8 Built In Bookcase
Beautiful Library by Primary Alliance / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

9. Add Incremental Storage

Incremental storage is a storage idea for small spaces that takes advantage of the smaller areas of dead space in your existing interior design. One popular place to practice this type of storage solution is in the kitchen. If you have a more open design, all you have to do is set up small shelving units 8 to 10-inches from the top of the counter. You can adjust this height as you need so you don’t run into your cabinetry. 

Once you get the shelves up, this storage idea for small spaces allows you to almost double your storage room. You can now set glass jars full of baking items or cooking items, utensils, and more on the shelves to keep them off of the counters. In turn, this frees up your counter space while ensuring that all of your items stay close to the area where you need them the most. This works better in open designs, but you can make it work in almost any design.

9 Incremental Storage
Retro Kitchen by Michael Coghlan / CC BY-SA 2.0

10. Look for Helpful Add-Ons

An add-on is something small that you can attach to an existing area of your home to hold something to keep it out of your way. So, for this storage idea for small spaces, we’re going to look at the bathroom. Think of  your bulky hair dryer, makeup bag, or any larger item you use frequently but don’t really have the space to store it. All you’ll need is to research a hanger for that specific item. For example, a simple hook system could work for your makeup bag, but you’ll need a different hanger for your hair dryer. 

Once you find the right add-ons, install them on the backs of your cabinet doors. Most of these storage ideas for small spaces are unobtrusive enough that you won’t know they’re there until you look. It can help get bulky items out of your way while freeing up space for more things to take their place. In a tiny bathroom, this can be a huge improvement. 

10 Add Ons
Hair by Shannon / CC BY 2.0

11. Take Advantage of Vertical Space

When you think about it, you have tons of vertical space in almost any room in your house that is sitting unused. The backs of doors are a huge one, and this storage idea for small spaces takes advantage of them. You will need to build or buy a long and slender storage rack that fits snugly to the interior side of whichever door you want to hang it on. You can even get a few different ones for different-sized doors. 

When you get your storage racks, hang them on the door so that they face the interior side. Designate one shelf in each rack to like items. You could have one shelf for cleaning items, one for laundry items, one for utensils, etc. Put everything away according to your organizational setup and close the door. You’ve most likely cleared away a decent amount of items while keeping them in the general area for when you need them. 

11 Vertical Space
Shoes by Sarah Sphar / CC BY-ND 2.0

12. Hanging Jewelry Storage

Your flashy jewelry pieces can double as fun and whimsical apartment or home decor with this storage idea for small spaces. As a bonus, this storage idea can also keep everything organized, neat, and tangle-free until you’re ready to use it. You’ll need a few small pieces of corkboard, push pins, and you can add a frame to make it look more like a traditional picture. 

Choose areas in your bathroom or bedroom where you can easily get to your jewelry when you need it. Frame your cork board and hang it up on the wall. Get your push pins and create areas to attach your necklaces, bracelets, rings, earrings, or whatever else you may wear. The jewelry will attach firmly to the board with the pins, so you won’t have to worry about them falling and getting lost. You also don’t have to worry about space for a jewelry box.

12 Hanging Jewelry Storage
After: A decorative jewelry display / organizer by Jane H / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

13. Don’t Ignore Your Corners

A lot of people make the mistake of only putting shelving in long, straight areas of their rooms. While this will open up your storage space, it leaves your corner areas very unused. This storage idea for small spaces incorporates corner shelving units to help take advantage of all of the space you have available to you in each room of your home. You can also hang shelves in tighter areas of your home. 

It’s easy to make corner shelving units  on your own using a few scrap pieces of wood, a saw, sander, and screws with a screw gun. You can also buy them from almost any store. Once you get them, all you have to do is attach them to the wall and place your items on them. You can make them run from the ceiling down to the floor if you like.

13 Corner Shelves
Front room / 02 by maura / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

14. Baskets Under the Bed

Do you use the area under your bed for anything? If not, you’re missing out on valuable storage space. You could create a whole new bed frame with ample storage compartments inside, or you can just purchase a few totes or baskets and use your existing frame. This is a great way to store seasonal items like your heavier blankets, clothing, and boots when it’s warm outside. It also works well for garments or craft items that you don’t have space for. 

If you decide to purchase the baskets or totes, measure first and make sure that they’ll fit under your bed. This storage idea for small spaces works on all size beds, as long as you have an open frame on it. If you don’t, you won’t be able to use it unless you get a new frame. Label the ends of your totes or baskets so you can tell what they are at a glance and you don’t have to pull them all out to find one item.

14 Under Bed Storage
Flex Tote – 1K50 – Small – Underbed 1 by Rubbermaid Products / CC BY 2.0

15. Towel Hooks

A lot of bathrooms have small storage spaces for towels, but this can quickly get cramped if you are trying to fit hand towels, washcloths, and beach towels all in one area. So, this storage idea for small spaces will allow you to free up some cabinet space in your bathroom. It can also help ensure you always have a towel in reach when you get out of the bath or shower so you don’t have to walk across a wet floor to get one. 

All you’ll need for this storage idea for small spaces is a few towel hooks. If you don’t want to screw them into the wall, you can make a whole towel rack using a scrap piece of lumber and a few hooks. Start by sealing or painting your lumber pieces before screwing your towel hooks into place. Attach this piece to the wall by the shower or bath. Hang up a few towels to keep them handy.

15 Towel Hooks
Towel hooks are up! By Peter Wood / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

16. Hang Up Your Pots and Pans

Pots and pans can take up a huge amount of space in your kitchen cabinets, especially if you have a larger family that requires you to have more pots and pans on-hand. It can also be frustrating to try and dig one pot or pan out of the stack and have them all avalanch out. This storage idea for small spaces removes the pots and pans from their traditional spot stacked in your cabinets and puts them out into plain view.

This storage idea for small spaces does require that you build or buy a rack to hang your items on. Metal works nice in the kitchen. You’ll suspend this rack out of your way to hang your pots and pans on. A lot of people hang them over an island or by their sinks. Get sturdy metal “S” hooks and attach them to your rack. Thread the hole on the pot or pan handle through the other end of the hook and hang them up. 

16 Pot and Pan Hanger
Kitchen Island Hanging Rack by Chalon Handmade / CC BY 2.0

17. Raised Platform

If you have tall ceilings or an open space above your staircase, consider using this storage idea for small spaces and adding a platform. You should contact a professional for help with this because you want it to be extremely sturdy. The last thing you want is to have it collapse under the weight of your items and injure someone who is walking or sitting by it. Start by measuring the space and deciding how large your platform will be. 

You’ll build out this platform to your desired size. When it’s done, you can easily stack all of your unused items on it. Switch out your seasonal stuff as you cycle through the seasons or put your kid’s items up there as they grow out of them until you’re ready to sell. Just make sure everything is neat if you put this over your stairs because you can look out from the second floor and see this storage idea for small spaces. 

17 Loft
Loft gable by Laura LaVoie / CC BY 2.0

18. Wall-Mounted Seating

Seating can easily take up a large portion of your floor space, and it can make it difficult to move around your room or home. One way you can minimize this is to use this storage idea for small spaces. You’ll create a simple seat out of scrap lumber you have around your home. When you finish it, you can use brackets and sturdy screws to attach it to the wall. 

If you do it right, this storage idea for small spaces will look like it’s floating off the floor. You can dress it up with pillows or a throw blanket to make it more comfortable. As a bonus, it doubles as extra shelving space when no one is using it as a seat. Just be aware that the seat portion will stick out from the wall into the room you install it in. However, you’ll get more floor space overall.

18 Chair
1800 chair with neo-classical decoration by Thomas Quine / CC BY 2.0

19. Tiered Shelving

You don’t have to attach every shelf you have to the wall, contrary to popular belief. Instead, this storage idea for small spaces involves finding or making a tiered shelf that sits on the floor. You can have it out in the room or tucked neatly against the wall. The tiers will have different heights and widths to them, and this allows you to add a lot of items to it to get them off the floor or coffee table. 

You do want to make sure that whatever tiered shelving unit you get can support the weight you need it to hold, and it shouldn’t take up a huge amount of storage space. Getting a smaller plant stand for this storage idea for small spaces will allow you to have several shelves in varying heights on the same unit. They’re also usually extremely stable so you don’t have to worry about it tipping over. 

19 Tiered Shelving Unit
Projects : Corner stand upcycle by Christina Greengrass / CC BY-ND 2.0

20. Consider Open Storage

This storage idea for small spaces uses the concept that traditional storage solutions with doors tend to take up much more space then they necessarily need to. For example, when you swing the cabinet doors open, do you have enough space to move? If you don’t, this could be a nice option to incorporate into your design next time to take on a remodeling project

Install narrow, open shelves in the place of traditional cabinets. You want them wide enough to support your plates and bowls, but they shouldn’t be so wide that they get in your way. Dedicated one shelf to each type of item. For coffee mugs, you can hang them on hooks with this storage idea for small spaces. All you have to do is grab them and go.

20 Open Shelving
Kitchen by sunshine coast botanical garden / CC BY-NC 2.0

Bottom Line

These 20 storage ideas for small spaces can help ensure that you get enough storage areas throughout your home to help keep everything organized, neat, and uncluttered. Depending on your needs, you can incorporate one or more of these ideas into your own home and see how they help transform the space into an open, airy, and inviting one. 

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