Built-in storage will give you more for your money


The key to a well-functioning home is good storage. Not only will the right kind of storage bring order to your home but it can also be an attractive feature in a room creating a more complete look.

I’m always telling clients that when you have the right kind of storage you don’t actually need much space in your home. Well-designed storage will mean that even a very modest space can be perfectly optimised.

But you need to think carefully about what your storage requirements are. For example, are the items that you need to store being used every day? Things that need to be accessed frequently should be stored in a way that allows you to get to them easily.

Let what you need to store dictate the kind of storage you select. Designated storage is far more efficient and useful than general store cupboards that everything gets thrown into and where it is impossible to find anything . We’ve customised cupboards in utility rooms to take laundry baskets, making the chore of laundry that little bit easier. One client has even persuaded her children to put their own clothes into the baskets themselves! If they know exactly what to do they are far more likely to do it.

You don’t have to hide everything away. Open storage units can be an attractive feature and are fantastic for displaying collections. It can work wonderfully well in a dressing room as everything will be on display and easy to see, but when it comes to open storage think about what you are storing but be realistic about how tidy you are. Open storage looks great as long as you are organised and tidy.

Built-in storage will give you a lot more for your money. It can be customised to suit your exact requirements and we often recommend painting it to match the wall colour so that it doesn’t dominate the room, creating a very finished but subtle look.

We had clients who had a very large living space and were at a loss to know how to make the space feel intimate and inviting. We designed some storage units to fill the alcoves either side of the fire place and introduced lighting, giving them a place to house the practical things, like electrical equipment for the TV, and also plenty of space to display the things that make a house a home.

The room was a very modern space so we went for a contemporary look and because the space was so large, we painted the wall behind in a gorgeous dark burgundy which contrasted beautifully with the white storage units and instantly made the room feel cosy.

Think about the under-used spaces in your home that could be utilised as storage space. Under the stairs is a great example and is usually just a general storage cupboard filled to capacity and difficult to access. However, there are great solutions that will allow you to subdivide the space into drawers and cupboards to maximise this forgotten part of the house.

Denise O’Connor is an architect and interior designer