Looking For Love In All The Wrong “Storage” Places


How many times a day do we all look at an area in our homes and think there must be a better way to “store our stuff”!  We’ve tried so many different approaches and only end up bending, reaching and moving other things out of the way to get to what we need.  Sound familiar?

There is a simple, proven, method that has worked for ages and is still one of the most effective ways to organize our stuff so that it is pleasantly manageable.


Ikea Billy Bookcase
Ikea Billy Bookcase

Yes, I know we just talked about Ikea in the last post and the great product they have teased us with that is not available yet.  However, the Billy Bookcase has been around since 1979 and it’s estimated that every 5 seconds in the world one is sold!  Yes, this is the info posted on Ikea’s Billy Bookcase site.  This is not news to me as I have used these units in almost every home we have owned for all kinds of storage.  As open shelves, with solid doors, glass doors, in standard finishes or custom painted…these puppies are the best!  Our firm has designed and implemented so many custom closets with tall units as the foundation I have lost count.  Regardless where the units come from, they can truly  be the work horse of any storage system in nearly every room of our homes.


So Why Don’t We Use Them More Often? 

White Bookcase
via Pinterest

Maybe because we have been brainwashed to think that tall skinny bookcases are, well, for books only.  Or that we need them to display useless things to complete our decor?  Or, my favorite misconception, that kitchen storage has to be above and below a counter.  Silly, silly, silly!


This is why we think not taking full advantage of tall storage is the biggest mistake we can, and do, make too often.

IT’S FRIDAY…so here are our favorite ways to use tall storage!

Another Example of Ikea Units In a Custom Design

In this example, cost efficient, off the shelf units were used to make a custom design that offers both decorative display and covered storage.  Some carpentry work to build a base and fill in at the ends of the units, can give a built in look if desired.  This example went the extra step to have a soffit with lighting.  Finishes inside and out can be custom tailored with a little DIY effort.  With so many options for hardware…Presto!  Classic, flexible, easy to reach storage.

How many different ways can you come up with to use a storage wall like this?  Endless is my guess.  An entire wall in a kitchen, or attached dining room for all the service pieces, small appliances, even overflow pantry items.   What about something like this being your pantry?  In a home office…books on top and all the messy stuff below.  In a kids playroom…oh my!  Who needs a walk in closet if a bedroom has this?  Use the closet you have for hanging clothes.  Then use this for shoes, sports clothing, purses, hats, even linens.  Add baskets for smaller items above mixed in with family photos.  Laundry, mudroom, craft room….I know your mind is racing now thinking of where you can add one, two, even three tall units!



Wall Mount Tall Storage Units
via homedecoratingidea

Look at this great idea!  Tall units mounted above the baseboard, side by side to make a custom system for easy access storage.  Again, how many different ways can you think to use a couple of chic cabinets like these?  Bathrooms come to mind first for me!  I do not like stooping to dig under the sink!  I’d love mirrored cabinets so I could actually “see” to do hair and makeup with these over 50 eyes.  Not to mention how a pair of long mirrors could open up the visual of even the smallest bathrooms.


Atlas Concorde
via atlas concorde

Remodeling or new construction?  Why not plan on a chic custom unit or two?  His and Hers?  Bye bye wire shelf linen closets and the frustration of all the little items getting caught, and falling thru, in the soon to be dusty/sticky grids.

Shoe Storage

via habitually chic

This example is a true, custom build in a dressing room.  Beautiful and channels the inner Imelda Marcos in all of us, right?  But it does not have to be custom to get your shoe fix under control!

via Pinterest

Really, truly there is not a better way to do shoe storage on any budget.  Simple open bookcases, with added shelves, can be added to any closet or dressing area.  Keep in mind that this type of system does not always have to be near the bedroom.  What about in a mudroom or garage for sports and daily shoes; in a guest room closet for occasional shoes.  With the flexibility of width (30″- 36″ works great) and shelves that can be adjusted every 1.5″, you can take full advantage of the entire unit.  Just think if every shoe/boot in your home had a home and every family member could find both shoes at the same time.  Busy Mom…how many minutes of your day does that gain!

Creative Moms

Speaking of Mothers…just look at how savvy these examples of using a standard, off the shelf bookcase are for kid’s rooms.  Hanging space in the bookcase?  Wow! How many of this kind of unit can you find at a resale shop, or lurking around your own home?  Spend a little more time and paint it up to a totally custom piece.  Change colors as the room’s decor evolves.  What a cool Mom you are!

Painted Bookcase
via Pinterest


Bookcases with Hanging Kids Clothes
via cookodasi


Green back painted bookcases
via Pinterest

Sidenote:  Anytime you use a tall unit, be sure to anchor them properly to prevent accidents.  We suggest anchoring units to the walls, and to each other if more than one is used.

The Amazing DIY’ers

What have we here?  Tall, narrow storage, with some open display and some covered.  These Pinterest DIY projects take an older “not as desirable granny” piece and turn it into something to go far into the next generation.  We encourage our clients to use these kind of pieces with “real” things.  Stack the plates, bowls and cups you use everyday.  Pile up your favorites cook books you reach for often; service and mixing bowls, pitchers and vases to remind you to get the fresh flowers for the table.  Need a little confidence on how to do this?  We can help you with our Help is Just a Digit Away virtual digital design consultations.  It can be fun, easy and you can start thinking about how to use that conventional hard to reach cabinet you just emptied.  Why not have usable, reachable storage that is an asset in your decor?



Emily A Clark
via Emily Clark


Scout& Nimble
via Scout&Nimble
The Kitchn
via The Kitchn


Find yourself drooling, yet at the same time wondering where in the world is all “their stuff”?  These amazing kitchens do not have hard to reach upper cabinets.  Rest assured some fantastic designer helped them rethink how they use storage.  They are all now enjoying knowing exactly where everything is and haven’t crawled under the sink for ages.

We are serious.  Let us help you design storage areas that work!

Contact Us!

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7 thoughts on “Looking For Love In All The Wrong “Storage” Places”

    1. I’m sure Ikea does not need either of our posts to shave a second off their world record…but we do need to spread the word about how versatile and “cheap” a really well designed storage system can be. I can only imagine these in “your” closets! Bon Weekend to you our blogger friend!

  1. Great post title, btw! Love all these storage ideas. My daughter has used a lot of Ikea in her pad. Hope you have a fabulous red, white, and blue long weekend.

    1. Ikea is for all generations! Every time our design firm does a retro of an Ikea piece we get inquires of how to get one. Lots of laughs when we revel our secret!

  2. I love all the storage I can get! I built my house myself with my father and when we designed it we utilized built in shelfs in almost every room! I stuck these things in my shower, living room, bedrooms, staircase. If you aren’t lucky enough to design your own house utilizing book shelfs and other shelving units is a great idea. I love your out of the box thinking for things.

    1. In, out, on top of, under the box….that’s how we’ve been so successful with the opportunities our clients allow us. How fortunate you are to have worked with your father to build your own place!

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