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Storage Solution for Small Houses: Useful Examples

Storage Solution for Small Houses: Useful Examples

Dense cities mean small homes. With more and more frequency we are forced to adapt to spaces within which some elements simply do not fit. As architects, these restrictions actually provide us with opportunities and remind us that our goal is to give precise solutions to specific problems. Designing with infinite number square meters and/or an unlimited budget is practically unheard of.

What's the key to accommodating everything? Let's review some effective storage solutions for minimum, tight spaces.

END THE ROC / nook architects. Image © Yago Partal Bazillion / YCL Studio. Image © Leonas Garbačauskas HB6B / Karin Matz. Image Cortesía de Karin Matz Gorki / Ruetemple. Image Cortesía de Ruetemple + 33

Combine Storage With Indispensable Furniture

A good strategy can be to merge storage spaces with pieces of furniture that are essential to each room and adapting them to fulfill several functions at the same time.

Make A Closet Under The Bed

The bed is crucial in a bedroom and we can’t (and probably shouldn't) reduce its standard size. In a small room without built-in cabinets or a closet, the free space under the bed –generally under-used and difficult to clean– can help us avoid having to add new furniture that obstructs the passage or eats up valuable space in the room.

If you have the necessary ceiling height, the bed can be raised to incorporate a bar for clothes hangers, in addition to drawers and shelves with a large storage capacity. If you want something discreet, the drawers can be lower and go completely unnoticed, or be covered with attractive materials that match the style of the room.

HB6B / Karin Matz. Image Cortesía de Karin Matz
HB6B / Karin Matz. Image Cortesía de Karin Matz
HB6B / Karin Matz. Image Cortesía de Karin Matz
HB6B / Karin Matz. Image Cortesía de Karin Matz
Tsukiji Room H / Yuichi Yoshida & associates. Image © Katsumi Hirabayashi
Tsukiji Room H / Yuichi Yoshida & associates. Image © Katsumi Hirabayashi

For a more informal style, it's possible to design the base of the bed as a series of open drawers, leaving the objects exposed and integrating them into the general image of the space. The drawers can even be mobile and use sliding, folding, removable, or hinged opening systems.

Posibilidades de abertura y iipos de cajones. Guía para el diseño de cocinas / Häfele. Image Cortesía de Häfele
Posibilidades de abertura y iipos de cajones. Guía para el diseño de cocinas / Häfele. Image Cortesía de Häfele
COBS Year-Round Micro Cabins / Colorado Building Workshop. Image © Jesse Kuroiwa
COBS Year-Round Micro Cabins / Colorado Building Workshop. Image © Jesse Kuroiwa
Rolling Huts / Olson Kundig. Image © Tim Bies / Olson Kundig
Rolling Huts / Olson Kundig. Image © Tim Bies / Olson Kundig

These same operations can be repeated in a living room, designing seating structures that can also provide storage space underneath.

Fujigaoka M / Sinato. Image © Toshiyuki Yano
Fujigaoka M / Sinato. Image © Toshiyuki Yano
Moonlight Cabin / Jackson Clements Burrows. Image © Jeremy Weihrauch-Gollings Studio
Moonlight Cabin / Jackson Clements Burrows. Image © Jeremy Weihrauch-Gollings Studio

Use Unexpected Residual Spaces And Take Advantage Of The Building’s Structure

With a few square meters, all space is worth using, whether it be the awkward corner between two kitchen cabinets, the space left over inside the drawers, the width of the walls, or the structure of a staircase. With enough creativity, everything can become a useful space for storage.

Multiply The Capacity of Drawers

Most of the time, the interior space of drawers is not used at its maximum potential. If we design each drawer with precision and according to the exact measurements of the objects and utensils that will be stored inside it, we can accommodate everything in a better, more efficient way.

In addition, there are a number of hidden drawers, space subdividers, and other technologies on the market that allow for a better use of previously discarded areas, such as hard-to-reach zones in kitchen cabinets or excess space under a dishwasher. For example, tilting or revolving trays allow you to take advantage of the corners of the furniture.

Bandejas Basculantes y Giratorias. Guía para el diseño de cocinas / Häfele. Image Cortesía de Häfele
Bandejas Basculantes y Giratorias. Guía para el diseño de cocinas / Häfele. Image Cortesía de Häfele
Bandejas Basculantes / Häfele. Image Cortesía de Häfele
Bandejas Basculantes / Häfele. Image Cortesía de Häfele
Cajones de alta gama Moovit / Häfele. Image Cortesía de Häfele
Cajones de alta gama Moovit / Häfele. Image Cortesía de Häfele
Cabin Kvitfjell / Lund Hagem Architects. Image © Marc Goodwin
Cabin Kvitfjell / Lund Hagem Architects. Image © Marc Goodwin
Old Town Restoration / Habitan Architecture. Image © Alicia Alcaide
Old Town Restoration / Habitan Architecture. Image © Alicia Alcaide

Create Multipurpose Stairs

Stairs are ripe to be used for these purposes, becoming sculptural bookcases or useful small warehouses. Their location –usually central– make them good places to store bulky household objects of recurrent use. In this way, its steps can function as drawers, or the space below them can be adapted as side access shelves.

Studio Li / Anne Rolland Architecte. Image © Jérôme Fleurier
Studio Li / Anne Rolland Architecte. Image © Jérôme Fleurier
Raval Hideout / Eva Cotman. Image © Eva Cotman & María Ceballos
Raval Hideout / Eva Cotman. Image © Eva Cotman & María Ceballos
29sqm / Ewa Czerny. Image © S.Zajaczkowski
29sqm / Ewa Czerny. Image © S.Zajaczkowski
Slow Town Tiny House / The Plus Partners + DNC Architects. Image © Moobum Jang
Slow Town Tiny House / The Plus Partners + DNC Architects. Image © Moobum Jang

Walls Thickness Is Not Dead Space

If we add some extra centimeters to the width of the walls of our projects, we can gain valuable storage spaces and allow the structure of a building to serve a secondary function. The depth will determine the type of object that can be stored, and the spaces can either be hidden and/or left completely exposed. The material used can facilitate this objective, for example, by extracting or adding some bricks, or by creatively organizing the different layers of laminated wood.

In some renovation projects, the walls are dismantled to expand the space and allow the passage of natural light. In these cases, their exposed beams and pillars can also be reused to function as shelves.

ZTUDIO / mfrmgr
ZTUDIO / mfrmgr
ZTUDIO / mfrmgr. Image © Grzegorz Sztybel
ZTUDIO / mfrmgr. Image © Grzegorz Sztybel
Riviera Cabin / llabb. Image © Anna Positano
Riviera Cabin / llabb. Image © Anna Positano
Bazillion / YCL Studio. Image © Leonas Garbačauskas
Bazillion / YCL Studio. Image © Leonas Garbačauskas
Darlinghurst Apartment / Brad Swartz Architect. Image © Katherine Lu
Darlinghurst Apartment / Brad Swartz Architect. Image © Katherine Lu
COBS Year-Round Micro Cabins / Colorado Building Workshop. Image © Jesse Kuroiwa
COBS Year-Round Micro Cabins / Colorado Building Workshop. Image © Jesse Kuroiwa
Montmartre Apartment / SWAN Architectes. Image © Maxime Vantorre
Montmartre Apartment / SWAN Architectes. Image © Maxime Vantorre
Studentboende: Student Unit / Tengbom. Image © Bertil Hertzberg
Studentboende: Student Unit / Tengbom. Image © Bertil Hertzberg

Creatively Use The Space’s Height

Tall ceilings always add value, and in small houses or apartments you can feel it even more. These high level storage areas can be very effective in helping to free up the living space below, and their design can contribute to the overall image of the house and give a sense of ample space.

When arranged on a different level from the rest of the elements, shelves at this height could even cover a large part of the space without affecting its use, and adapting their appearance according to the style and function of the room.

END THE ROC / nook architects
END THE ROC / nook architects
END THE ROC / nook architects. Image © Yago Partal
END THE ROC / nook architects. Image © Yago Partal
Cazo Apartment / Estúdio BRA. Image © Maíra Acayaba
Cazo Apartment / Estúdio BRA. Image © Maíra Acayaba
22m2 Apartment in Taiwan / A Little Design. Image © Hey! Cheese
22m2 Apartment in Taiwan / A Little Design. Image © Hey! Cheese
Tsukiji Room H / Yuichi Yoshida & associates. Image © Katsumi Hirabayashi
Tsukiji Room H / Yuichi Yoshida & associates. Image © Katsumi Hirabayashi
Gorki / Ruetemple. Image Cortesía de Ruetemple
Gorki / Ruetemple. Image Cortesía de Ruetemple
About this author
Cite: Franco, José Tomás. "Storage Solution for Small Houses: Useful Examples" [Almacenamiento para casas pequeñas: soluciones y ejemplos útiles ] 18 Mar 2019. ArchDaily. Accessed . <https://www.archdaily.com/913132/storage-solution-for-small-houses-useful-examples/> ISSN 0719-8884
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Cabin on the Border / SO? Architecture&Ideas. Image Cortesía de SO?

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