Having newly decorated a room, do you ever feel you don’t want to bring all the clutter back in? Not many of us can completely refurnish every time we give the house a makeover, but we can change how we store and display things, which makes possessions feel fresh again.
Adopt the Zoning Principle
Dividing rooms or areas within the house into different, distinct ‘zones’ helps with both interior design and storage. It’s a relatively simple way to make sure everything is where you need it.
- Meal times: Whether you have family meals or not, a table in the kitchen or a breakfast bar encourages dining in one place. It makes it much easier to clear up afterwards and helps prevent stray mugs and plates appearing around the house.
- Play zones for children: These could be in the bedroom for older children who like their own space, or in the living room for toddlers or pre-schoolers. Ideas include a toy box for loose items, a quiet corner with small bookshelves and a beanbag, and plenty of plastic tubs for small bits like building blocks or crayons. Of course, items will stray out of the area, but when toys are kept in one place it’s easier to encourage kids to tidy up.
- Business areas: somewhere to place the computer where kids can do homework or adults can get on with business. Have shelves or a cabinet close by to hold paper, pens, notebooks or textbooks so you don’t have to search every time you need something.
Maximise Furnishings Storage
Storage furniture goes beyond sideboards, bookcases or wall units. Instead of going for the standard type of end or coffee table, look for ones that have storage built-in. With drawers or shelves, there’s somewhere to hide the gadgets, magazines or newspaper that otherwise clutter up surfaces.
Bedrooms too need extra storage. If there’s space in the wardrobe, a small chest of drawers you can slot in provides additional, hidden storage for clothing or shoes. As they’re hidden from view, inexpensive plastic drawer towers work well. They’re also handy for craft or hobby supplies.
In children’s bedrooms, raised beds are an ideal way of incorporating additional storage without taking up floor space. The bonus is that kids tend to love them, making bedtime a bit of an adventure.
Make Storage a Design Feature
Shelving matches all types of decor, from floating shelves with invisible support to industrial-looking racking and ornate worked metal. Shelving also has the advantage of not being on the floor, so again it takes up no space you could use for seating. The spaces above head height are rarely used to advantage, yet offer lots of storage space for ornaments or books.
The hidden spaces in houses, such as those under the stairs or beneath kitchen cabinets, are also underused. Shelves, small chests, hooks or shoe racks under the stairs help to keep the hallway clear, while lift up or sliding doors on the narrow spaces under kitchen units can be used for many things from baking trays to board game boxes.
Clear Out What You Don’t Use
If you have furniture you don’t want to part with but also don’t use at home, consider storage units. Inexpensive and convenient, they offer a way to preserve treasured items without having them underfoot (you can also store small amounts in lockers). It’s also a handy way to store those items you don’t use very often, such as spare beds or clothes and tools that are out of season.
What’s on show, how the house is furnished, and how items are displayed are as important to decor as choice of colour or fabric. By getting clever with storage, sophisticated decor is easier to achieve.