Interior Storage

11 Ways to Gain Square Footage Without Changing the Floor Plan

With a few simple, creative hacks, you can maximize space in your home without knocking down walls. If you’ve been daydreaming about additional square footage, check out these 11 ways to get more without moving or having to splurge on an addition!
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Maximize Your Space

When you first moved into your home or apartment, you probably thought you had plenty of space. Now you’re wondering why on earth you thought you could get by with so little. You may not be keen on moving or renovating, but something has to give. The good news is that it’s entirely possible to gain square footage by making a few adjustments, no addition required!

Invest in a Murphy Bed

Dedicating a room to guests who come only once or twice a year can really eat up vital space. But if you install a Murphy bed—a bed that pulls down from the wall—in your spare room, you won’t have to lose all that space to a bed that almost never gets slept in, Today’s Murphy beds can often be pulled out with just one hand and can be folded up fully sheeted. It’s a win-win: You gain back an entire room, and you’ll still be ready for guests at a moment’s notice. Pro tip: You can also put in a table or desk that folds out from the wall to create an on-demand office or eating space.

Fill Up Some Storage Totes

Storage totes can get items off your floor and into traditionally underused spaces—think top-of-the-closet shelves and the dead space under the bed. Totes don’t have to be unsightly: A dust ruffle easily hides underbed storage containers, and if you don’t like the look of plastic boxes in your closet, opt instead for stylish baskets or fabric totes. Pro tip: You can open up even more space by using your stored suitcases to hold seasonal or rarely worn clothing.

Related: Underbed Storage: 8 Helpers to Buy or DIY

Don’t Ignore Vertical Space

Vertical space is often overlooked when it comes to maximizing square footage in the home. Closet and pantry walls offer excellent storage opportunities and can easily be outfitted with shelves and other organizational units. Pro tip: Consider arranging items in baskets or totes before stashing them on shelves. To make things easier to find, label the totes or use clear plastic containers.

Go Custom for Your Closet

Sure, your reach-in closet may not seem like a storage powerhouse, but the truth is that it holds untapped potential. Investing in a custom system for your closet, whether it’s a walk-in or reach-in, can help you squeeze every inch of storage out of the space. Pro tip: If you can’t afford a professionally installed system, you can DIY one with custom components.

Related: 10 Closet Cures That Cost Less Than $100

Let the Ottoman (or Bench) Do the Work

Ottomans and benches are multifunctional additions to your home that can double as storage spaces, ideal for stowing blankets, pillows, shoes, or anything you like! Pro tip: Ottomans are great for flexible seating in living rooms and entertaining spaces, while a bench works wonders in an entryway or closet to hold shoes and other items and provide a perch for taking off boots. 

Related: Storage Ottomans: Clear Clutter Quickly, Easily, and with Style

Say Hello to Hooks and Racks

Well-placed hooks can be lifesavers when it comes to getting things off the floor. You can hang bikes, tools, purses, backpacks, and anything else that would otherwise be taking up valuable floor space in your closet, entryway, or garage. Pro tip: If you’re not allowed to—or don’t want to—damage walls with permanent hooks, purchase removable hanging strips that will come off cleanly when it’s time to move, or if you simply want to rearrange your storage space.

Incorporate a Headboard with Storage

A well-designed headboard with built-in shelves can take the place of nightstands on either side of the bed, saving space in your bedroom while giving you easy access to everything you need—with no more knocking things off the nightstand! Pro tip: If you like your electronics nearby at night, opt for a headboard with an open space in the back to accommodate cables, a practical touch that keeps things tidy.

Try a Bunk Bed and Desk Combo

Kids are the undisputed champions of hogging up space. Their school supplies, clothes, toys, and other must-haves tend to colonize the entire house. Rein things back in with a bunk bed and desk combination, which will free up floor space in the kids’ room and create more possibilities for efficient storage. Pro tip: This arrangement can also work in a studio apartment where square footage is tight.

Put Shelves Everywhere

Shelving can save square footage like no other hack, and you’d be surprised by the number of sneaky places where you can squeeze in a shelf or two. Corner shelves are practical and stylish, narrow shelves work fine in that awkward spot behind doors, and you can even mount shelves in the dead space above a door. The more shelves, the more opportunities you have for getting things off the floor. Pro tip: Shelves are particularly handy by the entryway to hold purses, shoes, keys, gloves, and so much more.

Get Creative with the Space Beneath the Stairs

Even if you don’t have a Harry Potter-style cupboard under your stairs, you just might be able to carve out space for a beautiful bookshelf, shoe cubbies, or some other storage solution that will allow you to get rid of floor-hogging furniture or space-stealing clutter. Pro tip: This notoriously underused area can even incorporate a bench for putting on shoes, a mini playroom for the kids, or a spot for your pooch’s bed!

Related: 17 Clever Uses for the Space Under the Stairs

Spring for Custom Cabinetry

Not only can custom cabinetry integrate seamlessly with your home, but it can also provide an insane range of storage options. Custom units can serve as entertainment centers, dividing walls with benefits, and streamlined entryways, providing clean, uncluttered storage within a small footprint. Pro tip: Don’t limit yourself to custom cabinets. Instead, think about your specific storage needs and aim for a custom storage system that will maximize your use of space.