In my fantasy world, I have acres and acres of storage in my home. Nothing is packed into too-small spaces, and I have scads of open drawers and cabinets in which to effortlessly organize my essentials. But in the real world, I live in a bungalow with very little storage. So I have found creative ways to not only store and stash stuff, but to also add to the look of my decor in the process.

If you live in a home without a lot of dedicated storage space, the secret to fitting in all your stuff is to select furnishings that not only bump up the style of your rooms, but also have the horsepower to double as storage containers.

Creative cubbies

Organization has gotten to be an art form. Designers are creating furniture that makes our daily lives easier by giving us fabulous tools. Cubbies are an awesome addition to just about any room in the house:

By the back door. We all need a good organization tool by the door we go out and in every day. Fill the cubes with all the stuff you need during the day: kids' backpacks, your purse, books to go back to the library, outgoing mail.

In the kitchen. This is a great way to not only store but also display pretty pots, pans, serving pieces, stacks of dishes, cookbooks.

The nursery, child’s room or playroom. First, anchor the chest to the wall to make it safe. Then fill it with stuff like diapers, books, clothing, toys.

Laundry room. This is one of the hardest-working rooms in the house, and you probably need a spot to stash soap, the iron, folded clean clothes.

Craft room. Crafters always need spots for stuff like pretty paper, fabrics and all the tools.

Repurposing furniture

Just about every room, whether it’s small or large, can use the drama of a large bookcase, hutch or sideboard. These bold pieces anchor a room, give it lots of character and offer tons and tons of storage.

Bookcases are one of my favorite organizational tools. I like to mix a variety of items on the shelves, not just books. Fill a shelf about half full, then create a display in the open area using items you need to store, like pretty serving dishes. Tuck in an attractive basket full of items you need to store, like photos and papers or extra table linens.

We dish addicts are always looking for spots to display our dishes and store others. Nothing works better than a hutch. I love them in traditional spots, like your dining room or kitchen, or in surprising places, like a hallway or living room. How about putting one in your bathroom to hold towels and bath products, or in the laundry room, filled with supplies?

I like to liberate chests of drawers from the bedroom and use them in more public rooms, treating them as storage containers.

Sideboards or buffets are a natural in your dining room, where they can hold spare dishes, silver and linens. But they also are a great pick for other rooms where you need storage. Put one in your family room to hold the TV, filling the cabinet below with DVDs or video games.


If your home has built-in bookcases and drawers, fabulous. If not, consider adding them.

In our little dining space, right off our kitchen, we built a row of drawers under the bookcases and a little window seat, where we could stash more stuff.

More built-in ideas: a rising line of bookshelves along the outside of a stairwell, under-window cabinets, a mudroom bench, or columned room dividers. See suggestions at