Kamis, 06 Agustus 2009

Smart Storage Solutions and Storage Ideas

By Penny Day

With living spaces getting smaller and the possessions we acquire ever increasing, it's all too easy for time-poor types to find it difficult to keep control of all their stuff. But, with careful planning, it's possible to use your home more efficiently and create a relaxed and streamlined environment.
First and foremost, it's crucial that you assess your space and identify areas that aren't being used to their fullest. Bear in mind that spot-on storage will help sell a house too, so make it a priority when planning your scheme. Think beyond run-of-the-mill CD racks and consider hidden beds, pull-down tables and other clever ways to max space.

'There are plenty of areas in the home where you can shoehorn in extra storage,' suggests Mark Dyson of Enclosure Architects. 'Anyone who has anything to do with building houses can help identify redundant spaces under beds, baths, units - I'm even trying to find a way to use the space between floors. I haven't worked it out just yet, but I will!'

Before you begin

Yes, we know you've heard it before, but it's worth saying again - you really do need to knuckle down and do these few things before you start planning your storage strategy.
Clear your clutter. Get rid of anything you haven't used or worn in a year, things that 'might come in handy one day', old paperwork, impulse buys and unwanted gifts, duplicate books and CDs, and all those things you never got round to mending.

Recycle unwanted items, donate them to charity, or make some cash from your trash by putting them on eBay. Shred personal documents and make sure any unused paint, oil or pesticides are disposed of sensibly. Contact your local council to find out how.

Tackle one room at a time so the job doesn't become too overwhelming. Take the opportunity to purge your possessions when you move or redecorate, and the job will feel a little less daunting.

Prioritise your storage. Things that you use on a day-to-day basis should be easily accessible, whereas things used less often can be stashed in harder-to-reach places. Store things in the room where you will be most likely to use them.

Think fitted. Bespoke cupboards or shelves can make the most of redundant nooks and niches and are more space-efficient than freestanding systems. Many ready-made storage systems can also be tailored to meet your exact requirements. However, free-standing furniture is more flexible - it can be added to, and you can take it with you if you move.

Kitchen storage solutions

With a plethora of things all jostling for a place, the kitchen requires particularly careful consideration. Luckily, modern kitchen designers have upped the ante with space-saving, super-strong drawers that can bear the weight of stacks of china or heavy pans. Pull-out larders, magic corners and adjustable baskets also ensure space is utilised down to the very last inch.

'It's all about convenience', says designer Dominic Ash. 'Think hard about exactly where to create storage to make your kitchen user-friendly. For example, pans should be near the cooker, and crockery near the dishwasher so you can unload straight into the cupboard.' Do you buy groceries little and often? Or are you a fan of a big shop? In the latter case a larder might be the answer. Do you have everyday crockery and a second set for entertaining? If so, think where this can be stored safely out of the way.

'The biggest trend at the minute is people wanting storage integrated into a splashback', says Mark Dyson. 'This idea comes from the fabulous b3 kitchen by Bulthaup. You only have to add about 15cm to the back of the worktop to make space for spice racks, chopping boards and cleaning materials. If there's space in a partition wall use it to create a place for your toaster or radio. Conceal behind stainless-steel sliding doors for a really smart finish.'

Eke out another few inches from your kitchen with under-cupboard drawers. Perfect for tea towels, trays, trivets or those utensils you only use once a year, these shallow drawers fit under the units where there is usually a plinth, making use of this otherwise redundant space. Try Ikea for clever devices like these.

In period houses a kitchen ceiling can often be 2.7 to 3m high, so standard units fall short. Get a builder to create made-to-measure storage all the way up to the ceiling. 'You can then store lots of stuff in a space where you would normally only leave things to gather dust,' says Mark. 'It finishes the back wall of a kitchen off perfectly, too.'

Bathroom storage solutions

However low-maintenance you like to think you are, we're guessing your bathroom is spilling over with lotions and potions and a whole host of other beauty necessities. But even in the smallest room in the house, a smart strategy can give you plenty of room.

The best bet by far is wall-hung storage that keeps floor space clear, or narrow shelves. 'The bathroom is where it's a really good idea to get your ideas down on paper, so that there's not a hotch-potch of storage all over the place,' advises Hugh Adlam of 3S Architects. 'You want your nice products but not your loo rolls on display.'

Underneath the bath is a clever place to claim back space. By raising the bath a few inches, you can add shallow drawers that provide a surprising amount of storage. 'We store toilet rolls at one end and our daughter's bath toys at the other,' says Mark Dyson. 'This keeps them close by but out of sight.'

If you're completely revamping the room, take the opportunity to incorporate built-in niches to display your products or stash your shower gel.

Bespoke vanity units can hide unsightly pipe work or enclose a toilet cistern as well as providing extra storage. Make sure you have a regular clearout though, as the bathroom is a prime place for out-of-date medicines or half-used bottles of shampoo to accumulate.
Glass shelves help maximise light in a small bathroom, and mount a shelf in the disused space above the door to hold a stack of clean towels.

Bedroom storage solutions

Nothing shatters the blissful sanctuary of a bedroom quicker than the sight of cluttered shelves and a floor scattered with shoes. Getting smart with your solutions here will make a world of difference.

'Bespoke wardrobes aren't that much more expensive than flat-pack, but are really cost-effective if you only have a couple of metres to spare,' advises Robyn Gifford at Roundhouse Design. 'Do you have 10 pairs of shoes or 100? Do you have a lot of clothes that need hanging, or more casual clothes that can be folded? Consider all this when planning your storage'.

Stow seasonal items away and keep everyday clothes to hand, and 'measure your rail, then add 20 per cent,' advises Peter Friend of Hülsta. 'However much space you use now, you're bound to need more in the future.'
Alcoves either side of a chimney breast are perfect for bespoke wardrobes. Built-in storage can also be used to fill odd niches and unify proportions in a room.

A shallow depth can provide shoe storage and means musty shoes aren't heaped on the wardrobe floor. Take the storage high to use the space effectively.

Pull-out beds are ideal for studio flats or the occasional guest. And cabin beds aren't just for kids - a bed can sit atop built-in storage where space is tight.
For spare bedding, consider a flip-up bed by companies such as Hülsta and Molteni & C. Or else try underbed boxes or a blanket box at the foot of the bed.

Living room storage solutions

These days, we might all have iPods, but have you really thrown out all your CDs? And along with all those books and DVDs you've slowly been amassing, the room most likely charged with the task of accommodating it all is the living room. As a result, essential storage often includes space for books, CDs, DVDs and other everyday items that need to be accessed easily.

'Open bookshelves can look great, with the books becoming part of the scheme,' says Tim Newbold of Domus. 'Thick shelves look more architectural and structural, alternatively, you might want to shut your collections away behind closed doors'.

A bank of floor-to-ceiling storage takes up relatively little space in comparison to the amount of storage it provides. Paint or lacquer the doors in the same colour as the wall and choose invisible push-click catches to help them disappear, or else go for a bright colour and combine with open shelving to create a feature.

'Most partition walls are hollow, timber stud walls. Use this precious space and have your builder construct MDF cupboards with doors instead of the usual plasterboard surface,' says Mark Dyson. 'We've done three or four projects in homes that have utilised space in this way.'

Sliding, pivoting or revolving panels and doors mean that video, TV and hi-fi equipment can 'vanish' when not in use, but is still easily accessible when required. Companies such as Domus even incorporate fine mesh screening to integrate loudspeakers into consoles and customised cupboards.

'Modern and traditional can sit really well together,' says Tim Newbold. 'Hang contemporary storage systems above traditional skirting for a much cleaner look. This will also make the space seem a lot bigger as you can see right to the edges of the room. Alternatively, keep storage down low, at bench height, to stop it intruding into the room.'

Office spaces often find a home in the living room, but it's important that they don't take over and dominate the room. Conceal a workstation within a built-in cupboard so that a computer, printer and files can be shut away at the end of the day. Consider vertical sliding doors to cover your computer space.

You can find more information on interior design and interior design ideas at house to home, helping you create a look you'll love.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Penny_Day