It can be difficult to make room for all of your stuff when you’re working with small spaces. If you’ve got a lot of small items that need a place to go, you might find yourself forced between living in chaos and having an apartment full of unsightly boxes and containers. Fortunately, there is a third option – hidden storage.
Having secret containers, shelves, and cabinets to hold your things is the easiest way to stay true to your style and be organized all at once. The greatest part, however? Using your hidden storage feels totally cool. Here are five hidden storage ideas to get you started:
1. BENEATH THE SURFACE
You’re probably already making use of the space beneath your bed, but what about underneath other pieces of furniture in your apartment? For example, many people never think to use the space underneath their couches for storage. Provided there’s a decent amount of room under it, there’s no reason to dedicate the space beneath your couch to dust bunnies and lost hair ties.
A storage container tucked beneath the sofa or loveseat is a great place to store blankets, for example. When it’s cold, simply slide the box out, grab a blanket, and snuggle up. If your couch doesn’t have a flap to cover the space beneath it, you can get a couch cover that extends all the way to the floor. This way your guests will never know.
The couch isn’t the only thing you can keep things beneath, either. Any piece of furniture that has a small gap beneath the bottom and the floor can be used to store easily flattened items. If it’s a very thin space, use it to store the sheets and comforters you’re not using. Get vacuum bags, suction out all the air so they’re nice and flat, and simply slip them out of sight.
There are some spaces in your apartment that aren’t technically designed for storage – but that doesn’t mean you can’t store things there. For example, your oven is a great place to store any piece of oven-safe cooking equipment.
Obviously you’ll have to remove your tins and cookie sheets when it’s actually time to cook. When the oven is cool, however, it only makes sense to use that space. Only use this for things that can’t melt or burn, in case you forget to remove them before preheating.
You can also use your microwave the same way. Since you’ll always be opening your microwave before you use it, you shouldn’t have to worry about accidentally nuking your stored items. Still, it’s best not to keep anything metal in there, just in case.
3. DOUBLE USAGE
When you’re figuring out how to use small spaces, you need to think of function when choosing furniture. Anything that can serve as storage while still fitting your style will be your best bet. If you need a coffee table, try to find a cool, vintage trunk. Not only will the trunk look good, but you can use the space inside to hold any number of items.
Old dressers can work well as media centers. Drill holes in the back, and keep your DVD player or other electronics inside the drawers. Use the other drawers to hold your movies, CDs, and video games.
4. BUILT IN
If you’d rather have an actual coffee table or media center, try to find something with built-in storage. Furniture makers understand that people need storage space, and many items are now designed with drawers and compartments.
When you’re looking at these pieces of furniture, make sure you have a good idea for how to use the storage. Some compartments are awkwardly sized and only there for show – unless you really know how you’ll use it, skip it for something more functional.
To really give your apartment that mystery-movie feel, make disguised storage spaces. Find an old medicine cabinet, and adhere a painting or picture to the door. Then you can mount the medicine cabinet on your wall and use it to hold small items. No one will ever know unless you open it in front of them, and then they’ll be totally wowed.
You can also make a hollow book by simply cutting out a section in the middle and gluing the edges of the pages together. You can use this to be secretive, or you can use it to give your decor a fun touch– one cute idea is to store remotes in a hollow book that sits on your coffee table. For the best effect, use a book that has a cool cover design.
Have extra room on your bookshelf? Pick up a bunch of old books from a secondhand store. Lay them face up, and use a saw to make a vertical cut that removes most of the books from their spines. You should shoot to have about half an inch of book still attached to each spine. Next, glue the spines to the side of an open box. When you have the side of the box totally covered, you have a super secretive container you can put right on the shelf.