18 Big Storage Ideas to Steal from Tiny Homes

The tiny-house movement has much to teach us about living simply and with minimal environmental impact—and about how to stow stuff when space is extremely tight. If you’re perennially short on storage, borrow these 18 ingenious strategies from homeowners who’ve learned to live well without living large.

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  1. Try Hide-and-Seek Furnishings


    In this utterly ingenious little homemade camper, morning begins by folding the bed back and popping the table up to create a dining area for breakfast time. It’s idea that can be swiped for small apartments—just look for an inexpensive murphy bed or an adjustable height table that can be stashed away (or used as a coffee table) after meals are done.

    Related: Home, Home on the Road- 10 Houses on Wheels


  2. Take Advantage of Architectural Elements


    Reimagine the space between studs or exposed ceiling beams as storage opportunities. In this completely sweet tiny house, beams become shelves and brackets for wine glasses, paper towels, and more.

    Related: Get Custom Kitchen Cabinets with 7 Easy Installs


  3. Build In a Bit of Bathroom Storage


    Tiny houses have even tinier bathrooms, so owners have to get really clever about where to put the necessities. Here, an easy DIY—requiring just a couple of boards and a couple of nails—creates an over-the-toilet shelf that’s a perfect fit for extra shampoo, soap, or a decorative plant.

    Related: 17 Tiny Bathrooms We Love


  4. Max Out Space Above Windows and Doors


    For even more shelving, look up above the openings in your home. Those precious inches between the top frame of your windows and doors can be the perfect spot for hanging a bracketed shelf and stowing tableware, books, or knick-knacks.

    Related: Renovating a Small Kitchen? 10 Questions to Ask Before You Begin


  5. Step It Up


    Many tiny houses have stairs leading to a bedroom loft, and these present interesting storage options. Here, a narrow shelf is tucked into the tiny space at the foot of the stairs, but it’s possible you can carve out space beneath the stairs as well.

    Related: 15 Clever Uses for the Space Under the Stairs


  6. Be Proud of Your Pots


    A pot rack is a time-honored storage trick for a small kitchen, saving on cabinet space and keeping the cookware within easy, instant reach. Add some hanging containers and you can even rack up flatware, spices, or fresh herbs.

    Related: Buy or DIY - 8 Clever Solutions for Storing Pots and Pans

    Zillow Digs home in Towson, MD

  7. Repurpose Some Multi-Tiered Finds


    Keep your eye open for creative ways to reuse old stuff, and you’ll have added storage for very little cost. Try leaning a ladder against an empty wall for hanging towels, or add a crate, with a few hooks screwed in underneath, for a multitasking spot for kitchenware, or just about anything else.

    Related: Library Ladders - Reaching New Heights at Home


  8. Go For Flexible Furniture


    Furniture that can shrink or expand with use is the ultimate practical choice for a small space. Folding chairs can be stashed when not in use, while an old-fashioned secretary is a classic choice for a disappearing desk space that hides the clutter when work-time ends.

    Related: Buy or DIY - 8 Instant Seating Ideas for a Full House


  9. Peg Your Culinary Tools


    This kitchen trick was good enough for Julia Child! Steal this idea, hang a sheet of pegboard above your stovetop or behind a door, and add a slew of storage for everything from measuring cups to tea towels.

    Related: 9 Ways to Get on Board With Pegboard


  10. Look for Nooks


    That awkward little spaces in the corners and crannies of any room might just be your home’s coolest assets. With simple built-in shelves, inexpensive lighting, and the right furniture, an alcove can be transformed into the coziest reading or sleeping nook ever.

    Related: 10 Nice Nooks - They’re Not Just for Breakfast Anymore

    Design by Sullivan Building & Design Group; photography by Kathleen Connelly

  11. Paint It to Match


    A monochromatic color scheme is a sneaky way to trick the eye and make a room look and feels larger. Choose furnishings that blend with the walls, and, when adding shelving, brush on a coat of paint that matches the walls for a seamless, built-in look.

    Related: The Only Colors You Should Use in a Small Space


  12. Get Reflective


    Whether in the halls of Versailles or your grandma’s dining room, a well-placed mirror is the easiest way to add light and a feeling of openness to any space. Try suspending a pair in a tight bedroom, as shown here, or cover the whole wall of a teensy bathroom with a collection of small framed looking glasses.

    Related: 8 Classic Ways to Make a Small Room Look Big

    Zillow Digs home in Eagle, ID

  13. Light It Right


    Floor space at a premium? Hang your light fixtures on the wall instead of using standing or table lamps. Sconces or reading lights provide lots of atmosphere and style, and can be hard-wired right into the walls or simply plugged into an outlet.

    Related: The 9 Best Lighting Picks for Your Bedroom

    Zillow Digs home in Brooklyn, NY

  14. Make Multi-Tasking Rooms


    In a small home, every inch of space needs to work as hard as possible. With no spot for a laundry room, this homeowner tucked a pair of stacked machines into the klutzy corner of a bathroom.

    Related: How to Make Any Room Into a Laundry Room

    Zillow Digs home in Minneapolis, MN

  15. Invest in a Compact Kitchen


    Want to find extra room in your cramped house? Ditch the dedicated kitchen and install an all-in-one unit instead. This amazing British model features a two-burner induction stovetop, a sink, a microwave, and a mini fridge.

    Related: The Tiniest Kitchen Appliances You Never Knew Existed


  16. Try Translucence


    Translucent furnishings and finishes allow light to bounce around and create a sense of openness and depth. Frosted-panel cabinet doors , glass canisters, and plexiglass furnishings are all clever and practical choices for small-space living.

    Related: 11 Inspiring Kitchens That Defy Their Small Size

    Zillow Digs home in New York, NY

  17. Use Your Headroom


    Let furniture climb the walls to make the most of your vertical space. Use high loft beds and floor-to-ceiling shelving to pack in functionality while leaving floor areas clear. A ladder, painted to match the furniture, will keep it all within reach.

    Related: 15 Storage Ideas to Help Corral Your Kids Clutter

    Zillow Digs home in New York, NY

  18. Go Mini


    If you order out just as much as you cook in, why give over acres of space to a space-hogging kitchen range? Take a cue from this minimalist kitchen , and swap that four-burner beast for a streamlined, up-to-date hotplate and a small convection oven or microwave.

    Related: 9 Bad Habits That Are Killing Your Appliances


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