Design & DIY

Storage solutions that make small cottages feel big

storage solutions for small spaces

As real estate prices continue to soar, tiny living has become more than just a trend. But without proper storage, it can be tough to see the appeal of small spaces, especially at the cottage. Even if you spend a huge chunk of time outside, there are a lot of things—additional bedding, water toys, family heirlooms—that you’ll never be able to part with. If you’re desperate for more space, try these seven storage solutions that will make any cottage feel big.

Hide things in unexpected places

Photo courtesy of Adela Parvu

When you take a quick glance around the room and realize there are no walls to install additional shelves or cabinetry, it’s easy to throw up your hands in defeat. But we can bet there are lots of storage spots you’re not thinking of. In the living room, for example, go for coffee tables, benches, and ottomans that have four sides and a lid, so you can store anything—not just books and nicknacks you’re willing to show off. If you’re afraid it will look sloppy when you shove a bunch of junk under the bed, build a stylish storage box to conceal your belongings. If the space under your bed is just too small, try an elevated bed frame that doubles as a closet.

Make the most of your cabinets

Photo courtesy of Crown Point

The kitchen seems to be one room that can always use more storage, especially at the cottage. If the shelves inside your cabinets are spaced more than a foot apart and you only have a small set of dishes sitting on top of each, you’re likely wasting a ton of space in between. To take advantage of it, and perhaps even fit a second set of dishes or mugs, add some stackable shelves or under-shelf baskets. If you have shelves that don’t reach the cabinet doors, build storage along the back of the doors, which could hold everything from spices to cleaning supplies.

Consider removing your closet doors

Photo courtesy of Apartment Therapy

It might sound crazy to replace your closet doors with curtains, but once you realize how much space it will free up, you’ll be unscrewing your hinges in no time. A standard or folding door eats up a lot of extra floor space, which can seriously limit how you configure your furniture. If you don’t love the idea of hanging a piece of fabric in front of the doorway, hardier window treatment options, like bamboo blinds or a roller shade, will work just as well.

Mount more to the wall

Photo courtesy of KrovelMade

Projects that provide more storage for clutter are essential, but adjusting a few pieces of furniture to create the illusion of space can be just as important. One way to do that is to mount more items to the wall. Installing a floating nightstand next to your bed, for example, won’t just visually enlarge the room, it will also free up space underneath for things like books and slippers. If you’re looking for more room on top of the nightstand, reading lamps also look great mounted to the wall.

Try recessed storage

Photo courtesy of Made By Cohen

If you’ve already paired down your belongings, bought multipurpose furniture, added shelves to shelves, and mounted as much as possible to the walls, you may want to think about going a little deeper—literally. Make use of existing niches and alcoves by filling them with everything from firewood to chachkies. You can also try building a new set of open shelves or cabinets between the studs in your walls. Because they’re bound to be filled with wires, pipes, and ducts, one of the biggest parts of this job is determining where to do it.

Turn your gear into decor

Photo courtesy of Bike NYC

If the shed out back is full and you’re struggling to find enough room for all of your outdoor toys, try bringing a few items inside. A nice set of bikes, wakeboards, or even a pair of old waterskis could look as good on the wall as a piece of art, and it’s the perfect way to show off your interests. Depending on the look you’re going for, there are lots of different ways to mount your gear, and even a few small woodworking projects that could help. But if you want to keep things simple, some basic rubber-coated hooks from your local hardware store should be all you need to hold things up.

Don’t let slanted ceilings get in your way

Photo courtesy of Architectural Digest

It’s easy to dismiss a whole lot of space in a loft with slanted ceilings, but it’s all about how you use it. Although it’s common to just stick a bed in the middle of the A-frame and be done with it, consider creating some custom shelves or bedding that’s built straight into the ceiling, then using the middle of the room (where ceilings are at their highest) for walking space—your neck will thank you.


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