A clutter-free home will always feel more relaxed and look more spacious than an untidy one. Although it’s true that you can never have too much storage space, you need to think carefully about the type of storage that will work and look best, as well as the amount you require.
Cupboards are ideal for storing big items and anything you want to keep out of sight. Fixed to the wall, they can also keep floor space free. If your walls are uneven, a cupboard won’t sit straight, so hang one on adjustable brackets or timber battens fixed to the wall. With suitable fixings, cupboards can cope with quite weighty loads but you need to make sure that they are loaded evenly, storing the heavier items at the bottom, rather than all to one side. Ensure that the top shelf is easily accessible and the contents can be seen and reached easily.
Drawers are often more convenient than cupboards because they open to give you a clear view of the contents. The most versatile units are those that offer different depths of drawer. Avoid storing heavy items in a drawer, unless the base and runners are sturdy.
Wall-mounted shelving is very versatile, particularly if it is adjustable. Floor-standing shelves can be moved around as required and can usually cope with heavy loads. If unevenly loaded, a tall floor-standing unit can be pulled over, so use discreet angle brackets to secure it to the wall. Shelves less than 200mm (8in) deep are generally suitable only for display purposes or toiletries. Heavy items like books will require shelves at least 18mm and preferably 25mm (1 in) thick.
Hooks and Rails
A peg rail or one with hooks and a narrow shelf offer handy hanging space for anything from coats to pairs of shoes, toys or sports gear. In children’s rooms and hallways make sure the rails are low enough to be reached easily.
Invest in furniture that will do two jobs in one. A blanket box or a chest make good alternatives to a coffee table or a bedroom chair. They can be used for books, bedding or bulky sweaters, while a window seat could double as a spacious cupboard.
Cupboards, drawers and fitted wardrobes are more versatile if the inside is organised to suit your needs. Fitting a second, lower rail in a wardrobe that is used only for shirts and trousers instantly doubles the hanging space, or you could take advantage of the spare space by installing a bank of drawers. Complete systems of shelf units and hanging rails are available for transforming fitted wardrobes into fully functional storage.
Items stored at the back of floor-standing cupboards can be hard to reach but wirework systems (designed for kitchen cupboards but no less useful elsewhere) will convert the space and bring the contents closer to you.
Drawer organisers and trays ensure the contents are filed neatly and don’t get mixed up; they are most useful for stationery, cosmetics and underwear.