A Way to Display

Savvy and stylish solutions for maximizing home storage

Written by Wendy Bowman | Photos Courtesy of Closet Factory

An increasing number of homeowners are choosing to downsize these days, whether it’s to focus on growing a career, save money or simply escape the clutter. With the switch to smaller homes, however, comes a specific challenge: fitting a mound of existing stuff into less space. The solution? Maximizing the potential of small spaces to enable free movement, individual decorating and staying organized. In other words, squeezing every square inch of real estate out of the nooks and crannies around your home.

According to Dan Moyer Jr., national director of social media for L.A.- headquartered Closet Factory (ClosetFactory.com)—which develops custom storage solutions via a network of 45 franchise sites nationwide— there are numerous ways to get the most out of your space. One method is to create separate zones that give small spaces, such as mudrooms, a purpose.

For example, the addition of a small bench, cubicles and a cabinet near a front door or garage entrance can subtly offer each family member their own zone, keeping them organized on their way in and out of the house.

When it comes to maximizing small spaces, adding flexible furnishings with multiple functions is a great idea. Case in point: wall beds that can be folded up to free valuable floor space during the day, then folded down to serve as a guest bed at night, complete with special touches such as LED lighting, built-in cabinetry, kitchenettes and small reading desks. Window seats and benches also are ideal for turning hallways and other small spaces into multipurpose hangouts. “From reading nooks to dens, every home has the potential to incorporate at least one window seat,” says Moyer. “This adds style to an existing space and practical storage for the entire family.”

Multipurpose spaces are particularly appealing to first-time homebuyers who want to feel confident that they’re getting the most out of every square inch of their new house. Take, for example, a space designed by Closet Factory’s vice president of digital marketing, Paris Bernhardt, that includes a wood-grain entertainment center with hidden storage for cable equipment and movie collections, along with slide-out desks that can be used as business or homework stations.

Meanwhile, Moyer finds that more people are customizing their closets to create additional space in their bedrooms. “This is because custom closets are specially designed to fit your space, angled ceiling and all, and can take advantage of wasted areas like corners,” he says.

“In fact, think of all the dead space that exists in your average closet, where all you have is a single rod and shelf. That space between the floor and the tails of your clothes goes to waste, and inevitably items like shoes and accessories just end up in one big pile.” One caveat to keep in mind when augmenting valuable space: Resist the urge to display things. “Over the years, we acquire stuff; that’s life,” says Moyer. “Some things have sentimental value, while others are just for show. If your main focus is creating as much usable space around the house as possible, then there’s no need to fill every inch with home decor, especially on open elements like shelves.” For those who just can’t live without displaying miscellaneous trinkets, he advises grouping similar items together to create breathing room on bookcases and built-in wall units.

With so many creative ways to maximize space, now’s the time to start filling your entire home with style.

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