Architectural Design: 6 Inspiring Storage Ideas for Your Home

It’s a fact that at this time of year, many of us turn our thoughts to organizing our homes and clearing clutter. With spring not having arrived yet, late winter months present an ideal opportunity for taking a good, hard look at the rooms we live in – and then taking action. That sweater you’ve never worn? Time to donate it. That file of clipped recipes you know you’re never going to cook? Time to toss them. Those broken toys you’ve been meaning to fix “one day?” Out they go.

But what about the things you love – and use – that have no convenient home in your house? The books you can’t part with, your beloved grandmother’s china, and sporting equipment all need to be stored, even if extra closet space and empty shelves are non-existent. These present dilemmas all of us at Morgante Wilson Architects are familiar with. Which is why we’re delighted to share with you some of our favorite ways to design storage into your home without resorting to predictable boxes, bins, and baskets. Here, some of our favorite storage ideas:


Not only does shelving make excellent use of otherwise-wasted wall space, it offers storage and display in one fell swoop. Bonus: books add character, color, and texture to every room in your house – even hallways. Place them on easy-access shelves, like these, and you just may find yourself – and your kids – spending more time reading.


Stair landings present an often-overlooked spot to create a cozy reading nook in space that otherwise serves as a throughway, and not much else. If space is at a premium, a comfortable chair and a good reading light will do the job. If square footage is a bit more generous, go all-out with a cushioned banquette that includes book storage underneath.


Even if all you’ve got is a spot beneath a window, it may be enough to incorporate a petite workstation for homework, or bill paying. All you need is room for a slender table and chair, and you’re in business!


Freestanding furniture isn’t the only option for stowing dishware, glassware, and other dining necessities. This slim – and architecturally arresting – buffet is actually recessed deep into the wall, providing the look of furniture on the outside, and plentiful storage on the inside.


Just inside the front door, integrated display shelves and functional cabinets frame windows. A prized collection of glassware is within view of visitors; seasonal accessories (hats and gloves in winter; sunscreen and sunglasses in summer) are stashed conveniently out of sight – but within easy reach – behind closed doors.


It may seem obvious looking at this photo, but we’re continually surprised by how often people fail to take advantage of ready-made opportunities to build storage and display into “dead” walls. Recess shelving during construction at virtually no cost, or add it later with the help of a talented carpenter. Either way, your home will benefit – and so will your spirits, as you enjoy passing by your favorite things each day.


These are just a small sampling of the clever ideas our award-winning residential architects here in Chicago plan into every home we design.  Inspired? Call us to learn more.


Fred Wilson
Morgante-Wilson Architects
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