Flat-Pack Drying Rack
If you have a spacious, dedicated laundry room, congratulations: You're a rare breed. For everyone else whose washer and dryer live in a small or multifunctional room, the goal is space efficiency. A drop-down drying rack like this one is perfect for tiny quarters. It flips open and shut as needed, and because it's designed to hang from a door, you don't even need to sacrifice wall space for it.
Store and Roll
Installing a kitchen island is a smart move to increase work space and storage capacity. If your kitchen is large enough that it can accommodate a standard kitchen island, you're best off choosing a stationary model—perhaps even one with a built-in sink or appliances. But if you require more flexibility, consider a portable island like this one. Pivot it into place when prepping a big meal, then wipe it down and roll it next to a wall to serve as a drink or dessert station.
Clipped and Clean
A full freezer is the sign of a prepared home cook. But if yours is filled to the brim with frozen fruits, meats, vegetables, and TV dinners, try freeing up extra space with smarter storage tricks. Here’s an idea: Use binder clips to hang bags of food from wire freezer racks. This vertical setup is more efficient than stacking items, and it allows you to see everything in your freezer—no more digging through the icy chamber for that half bag of peas!
Space-Smart Door Rack
Cluttered counters make a tiny bathroom seem even smaller. Here, Rachel Denbow from A Beautiful Mess transforms a Satsumas plant stand from IKEA into a clever vertical storage solution. Each pot holds the toiletries for a different member of the family, with the youngest on bottom and oldest on top. Not only does the rack streamline the bathroom, it also prevents youngsters from reaching off-limits items that may be stored in the uppermost pots.
Related: 25 Tiny Bathrooms We Love
Removing or downsizing furniture is a great way to free up space and gain some breathing room. Yet it's not always a foolproof or practical solution—sometimes, you need the extra surface space. Nesting tables (like these dressed-up versions of the IKEA Rissna) offer almost twice the amount of work surface without making you commit to the square footage. Keep one tucked tidily under the other until you need an extra surface for spreading out work, resting coffee cups, or setting out a serving platter for guests.
Related: 14 New IKEA Hacks to Try in 2018
Think about it for a moment: If your queen-size mattress is currently low to the ground, elevating it by even 10 inches opens up a little more than 33 square feet of unused storage space. Bed risers can add some height, but do-it-yourselfers with basic woodworking skills can do better than that by building a seamless frame with integrated storage. Cubbies like the ones on this DIY platform bed developed by Chatfield Court's blogger, Kristi, can hold anything from baskets of shoes to a collection of books.
No matter how big your closet is, you could always use a little extra space. One of the smartest ways to maximize storage in a tiny closet is to expand vertically. You could pay to install a fancy storage system that implements this philosophy, or you can create your own using soda tabs. Simply slide the hook of a hanger through one hole of a soda tab, then slip another hanger through the bottom hole. Voilà—you just doubled your storage space! If you need even more space, you can even add a tab to the lower hanger.
Related: 21 Big Ideas for Small Closets
YouTube via HackCollege
If your home lacks storage space, chances are it's also tight on square footage. So, even if you brought in an extra bookcase or chest to hold your stuff, the new piece probably wouldn't fit in the room. If that's the case, or if you simply prefer a more minimalist aesthetic, look for double-duty furniture that can provide seating and storage in one unit. Alternatively, you can make your own, as did the blogger at Melodrama. By turning a Kallax shelf into a comfortable seat, she created a no-brainer bench for the entryway or the perfect banquette for the breakfast nook.
Will it add any actual space or storage to your room? No. But simply putting up a mirror will trick the eye into thinking the space is bigger by reflecting light around the room. Assemble a gallery wall by hanging several mirrors, or prop a large one up against a wall to create the illusion of depth in a tiny room.
Rack It Up
If your kitchen cabinets are crammed, look up for extra storage. You may just find the perfect spot to hang a DIY pot rack from the ceiling, with simple S-hooks to hold cookware. The benefit is twofold: The rack keeps pots and pans within easy reach and frees up cabinets to hold other kitchenware.
You know you have a lid for that pot—somewhere. You've got two choices: You can continue to dig around for it in a dark cabinet, or you can improve your storage system and clear out that crowded cabinet. The latter can be easily accomplished by sticking removable hooks to the interiors of cabinet doors to hang lids. That way you'll always know where to find each lid and where to put it back.
The Great Indoors
Large windows and glass doors are amazing for making a small space seem larger than it actually is. Of course, if your home doesn't currently have large windows and doors, you'll need to do some construction to get that airy look. If you'd rather not attempt a major renovation, consider addressing only the front or back doors by adding a glass storm door over your existing wood or fiberglass door. When you need a little extra visual space, open your front door, leaving the storm door closed, and let the light shine in.
Narrow gaps, like those between the fridge and the wall, waste precious space in the home. Although they may seem like dead space, even the slimmest spots can be put to good use. To take advantage of every nook and cranny, create custom storage to perfectly fit your unique situation, as Simply Designing did with this skinny craft cart.
Just Around the Corner
Even awkward corners can be capitalized on to create more storage space. Although they pose a decorating challenge—few furniture pieces are made to fit into the corner—they're a natural place to make a statement, as the bloggers at A Beautiful Mess prove with these simple floating shelves.
A Different Door
Even when it's open, a standard interior door can block the flow of a room and create clutter. For truly tight quarters, homeowners should consider alternatives to the traditional door, such as pocket doors. These sliding doors offer flexibility by rolling open and shut and concealing neatly within the wall when open.
Zillow Digs home in Baltimore, MD
At the Ready
If you have a small kitchen, you may not have as much cabinet or counter space as you'd like, but if you have some spare wall space, you can carve out more storage with pegboard. Hang a pegboard on a kitchen wall, then add hooks and shelves to create a custom organizer for your most frequently used items.
Even if your home doesn't sit on acres of land, there’s no reason why you shouldn't have the garden you want. A yard with little space or soil can still accommodate a vertical garden like this one, made of repurposed lengths of gutters. Add as many levels as your vertical space will allow for a flower or herb garden that can rival anything grown in a traditional bed or planter box.
Streamline furniture to create more space in a room. The area will inevitably feel less crowded if you rely on pieces that have multiple purposes. Case in point: This DIY bench from A Beautiful Mess keeps stored items out of sight while also providing a place to sit and read or tie your shoes.
Hide and Seek
Freeing up floor space and eliminating visual clutter—these are central tenets of faking space, and this one clever cabinet succeeds in both. The unit mounts directly to the wall, and in true space-saving fashion, it extends just inches into the living area. Meanwhile, it offers plenty of shelf space, and everything stays hidden when the door is closed. Even better, you don't need much to build your own: just basic tools, stock lumber, and experience using a chop saw.
If you don't love the look of your laundry area—and if you hate not having a suitable work surface for separating and folding clothes—get a load of this. Simply by adding a butcher-block countertop, Kristine of The Painted Hive managed to convert a disjointed, impractical dead zone into a picture-perfect example of space-smart efficiency. The pièce de résistance? Concealing the washer behind a set of decorative mini barn doors. To find out exactly how she did it, and why—click here.
Bigger and Better
Want a cleaner, tidier, more organized home? Sign up for the Clean Sweep newsletter to receive weekly tips, tools, and bright ideas that will help you maximize your next cleaning session.