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