Tips for more efficient and elegant storage

Storage isn't just about where you put the winter skis and summer clothes. Houses abound with storage spaces, from kitchen tools to bookshelves. Whether designing for luxury or small house plans, here are two tips to get the most out of your storage space. 

Any space can store
When people think of storage they probably conjure up images of freestanding cabinets and shelving units. However, you can use space more efficiently by reimagining what can work as storage, according to Better Homes and Gardens. Many functional furnishings can double as a storage unit. A kitchen island can be transformed into additional storage for everything from telephones and stereos to wine bottles and kitchen equipment. It's even possible to convert a kitchen island into a mini refrigerator or a wine cooling unit. L- or U-shaped couches in the living room can be designed to include drawers underneath the seats. The space under the stairwell can also house shelving units.

You may even want to reconsider how cabinets are designed. Custom cabinets can be made to house specific items in the kitchen, such as mixers and blenders. Instead of storing items above or below the counter, create a small storage unit that runs the length of the counter for housing commonly used or heavy kitchen equipment. 

Use storage as decoration
You will probably still need shelves in order to store all of your things. These units can serve as a design element in the home rather than just as a utilitarian feature. Book shelves are a classic example of how storage can be used to decorate a home. Elegant stand-alone bookshelves suggest grandeur, but consider wall-mounted shelves as an alternative. You can get classic lacquered wood shelves or more modern units that arrange the books at different heights and angles. Some minimalist designs make the shelf practically invisible, so that the items on display are the only decoration. Many wall-mounted shelves come as separate units, allowing for a highly customized arrangement. 

Great rooms such as the one featured in HHF-7139 provide enough wall space for artfully arranging shelves. The smaller each individual shelf, the more freedom you have in arranging them in patterns on the wall. Mixing and matching the size of shelves can be used for beautiful asymmetry. For example, you can have a single shelf running the length of one wall, and then a series of smaller units stacked atop one another on one side. This approach to shelving can easily be applied to other rooms in the house, as well as hallways and stairwells.