Storage wars: how to create useful, versatile and stylish storage

PUBLISHED: 14:11 21 October 2016

Raskog Trolley, £49; Knuff Magazine File - Set of 2, £7; Fladis Basket, £16; Skubbare Basket, £8; Valje Wall Cabinet, £17, Ikea (ikea.com). PA Photo/Handout

Raskog Trolley, £49; Knuff Magazine File - Set of 2, £7; Fladis Basket, £16; Skubbare Basket, £8; Valje Wall Cabinet, £17, Ikea (ikea.com). PA Photo/Handout


Living space comes at a premium, and if you’ve been hoarding all summer then autumn’s the perfect time to declutter and make space for the things that will not only complement your lifestyle, but create a sense of order.

The Fleetwood Three Seat Storage Sofa Bed in Slate Highland Tweed, £980. PA Photo/HandoutThe Fleetwood Three Seat Storage Sofa Bed in Slate Highland Tweed, £980. PA Photo/Handout

Storage solutions come in all shapes and sizes, and once you get over the horror (and chore) of having a good clear-out (do you really need those broken appliances, old magazines, clothes that no longer fit?), creating clever storage ideas can be an imaginative process that will reward you with a stylish and functional home.

Show time

“Don’t just think of storage as tidying away, it’s also an opportunity for you to display the things you love,” says Myriam Ruffo, business leader for Ikea UK & Ireland. “ The Kallax range is a perfect example of this, and can serve as somewhere to store and display your things.”

Northgate Flip-Top Storage Bench, £199, Store – A Place For Everything. PA Photo/HandoutNorthgate Flip-Top Storage Bench, £199, Store – A Place For Everything. PA Photo/Handout

Along with wall units and cabinets, the range includes a work station which not only helps squeeze in extra storage but can serve as a room divider and looks good from every angle. Available in white with a funky green trim, which can be colour co-ordinated with magazine files, house plants and decos, it also comes in piano black and a birch effect, to channel some Nordic charm.

“We’re continuing to see a growing trend for Scandi-inspired interiors,” says Simon Glanville, managing director at Store - A Place For Everything.

“The Scandinavian home is known for its simplicity of design, beautiful utility and pared back colours, so to get the style, look for pieces in white and birch wood that can elegantly store away your everyday items. This can be easily achieved in the kitchen or hallway, two areas which tend to become cluttered quite easily.”

Kreisdesign Peg It All: Pegboard In Natural Birch Plywood, £175-£195, The Maker Place. PA Photo/HandoutKreisdesign Peg It All: Pegboard In Natural Birch Plywood, £175-£195, The Maker Place. PA Photo/Handout

Fit for purpose

“Storage needs to be practical, but there’s no reason why it can’t also be a beautiful addition to your room,” says Molly Park, a designer at Oliver Bonas. “Transform your clutter into a decorative feature with roomy storage baskets – we have some woven from sea grass with a geometric print - to combine style with function.”

Another problem-solver is to make something out of nothing, such as the space under the stairs. Trolleys on wheels can easily slide into nooks, and graduated shelving units can become an extension of the stairs. You can even create a bookcase – and still have room for a storage basket.

Banisters can be a lovely decorative feature, but if you’re guilty of using them to drape your jackets over, a stylish coat peg with a shelf above will provide a tidy home for gloves, hats, shopping bags, dog leads and outdoor attire.

New order

With the change in seasons, it’s definitely time to pack away your summer wardrobe. If there’s space under the bed, now’s the time to utilise it.

“By using under-bed storage bags or boxes, you can easily store out-of-season clothing and blankets, or other seldom-used items,” says decluttering expert Suzanne Baker, The Holding Company. “Most wardrobe spaces are poorly planned, so don’t be limited by the standard hanging bar and shelf; install additional rods or purchase stackable shelves.

“In the living room, look for a solution that features shelving or drawers above or below, to really maximise vertical space. Shelving solutions are available in attractive finishes, and to create clever storage solutions, think vertically.

“Another way to increase storage capacity is to purchase end tables or ottomans that double as storage areas.”

Wondering what to style next to your ottoman, or need a seat that can double up and offer greater storage capacity? Investing in a storage sofa bed might be an idea.

“Clever storage solutions are worth their weight in gold,” says Vanessa Hurley-Perera, chief product officer at Sofa.com.

“Our Fleetwood sofa bed is a three-in-one multifunctional piece of furniture, working as a comfortable perch by day and spacious guest bed by night, with the added bonus of having clever storage space that’s ideal for extra bed linen, towels or your summer wardrobe.”

And if you find yourself struggling to find homes for all the smaller bits and pieces, Ikea has a wide range of storage accessories, available in a choice of styles.

“It’s easy for spaces to be become cluttered and messy if you don’t have an organised structure in place - we all know the feeling where we avoid putting something away because we just don’t know where to put it,” says Jill Reedman, interior design manager for Ikea UK & Ireland. “Boxes, files and in-drawer dividers can help to create organisation in any room.”

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