If the area around your front door is always littered with discarded shoes and boots, these shoe storage solutions will inspire you
Do you step into a puddle of shoes, boots and bags, perhaps snaked by the dog's lead, every time you step through your front door into your home? You are not alone. This scenario greets many of us on arrival on our door mats. And, when you live in a small space, it's particularly challenging to get the owners of these shoes to tidy them away if there is nowhere for them to go.
The answer to this problem is to invest in a neat, compact shoe storage solution that can sit right by the front door, making it super easy to put shoes away as soon as they've been kicked off.
This Ash wood shoe rack from Dunelm, shown above, is 70cm wide and doubles up as a bench too; so you can sit on it to take off and put on your footwear. It easily takes three pairs of adult shoes and several pairs of kids' ones, and maybe a school bag underneath.
Welly boot storage ideas
If taller boots and bulky wellies are regularly in use in your home, you want a shoe storage unit that will enable them to be stored up right without bending. This old-school-locker style Cox & Cox shoe storage bench, shown above, doubles up as a bench and has space for taller boots at either end.
Hidden shoe storage
If your front door opens straight into your living space, you don't want to be reminded that your living room is doubling up as a hallway. Hidden shoe storage is ideal for this scenario.
This slim Marcell hidden shoe storage unit from Made, fits several pairs of shoes, is easy to access and it doesn't take up too much floor space either. The only challenge is to ensure everyone makes use of it and closes the doors after use.
For a more rustic look, this hidden shoe storage unit from Greenway Furniture is made from reclaimed Indian boat wood from Southern India. You can get 16 pairs of shoes in here, and the drawer above is ideal for hats, gloves and dog leads. Plus, it's raised up on legs, which means you can see the floor underneath it and this will help your entrance way feel larger too.
Bespoke hallway shoe storage
If you have the budget, you may find that the best and most stylish way to store your shoes in a way that makes the most of the minimal space by your front door is to go bespoke. This custom bench with integrated shoe storage cubby holes, coat-hanging space and painted drawers by Brandt Design, cleverly uses the otherwise redundant awkward space under the stairs.
When you have a multi-purpose space in your home, it often works better when it's broken up into zones. Here we show you how easy it is to divide a room without building a wall
Use bookshelves to divide a room
If you live in a studio apartment, consider employing a beautifully styled shelving unit to separate the space between your cooking and dining area and your living area or to shield your sleeping area from the rest of the space. Or use a bookshelf in a large open-plan living space to separate the kitchen/diner from the lounge area and make each space feel more intimate.
While a shelving unit with a sealed back will provide more privacy to each of the areas it divides, an open-shelving unit, like the one shown above, where you can peek through into the space beyond, will look more stylish and also help your small home to feel more spacious. Style it with plants, books and ornaments so that you can only peek through parts of it into the next space.
Zone your space with a hanging screen
Break up your space with a screen that hangs from the ceiling. This Y-Step Wooden Hanging Room Divider Screen from Amazon comes in a range of colours and styles. As you can see the floor beneath it, it takes the eye further into the room and will make your room feel more spacious too.
You can create a similar effect with a curtain and then you can open up and close off your space in seconds.
Opt for a folding room divider
Traditional folding room dividers have always had an air of allure. A mystery hangs over what lies behind them. Put one up in your boudoir to create a whiff of 1950's glamour. Use one to hide a clothes rail and create a mini walk-in wardrobe area. Position one, as above, to screen off your home office, to help you forget about work at the end of the day. Or, create the illusion of an entrance hallway in a home where the front door takes you straight into the lounge.
There are lots of fun folding room dividers you can get too. These are particularly useful for dividing up the space in children's rooms, where two siblings are sharing. With this Beach Print Anself Room Divider from Amazon you can put a whole sea between brother and sister. It has a different coastal image on the reverse, click on the image to see more. You could also use something similar to hide away toys in a playroom at the end of the day. They make great mess concealers.
Grow a living wall
Finally, another great way to divide a space without building a wall is to invest in a few giant house plants and cleverly arrange them to partition off a section of an open-plan space. Use a mix of pot plants on the floor and hanging plants suspended from the ceiling. Plants need care, however, if you want your screen to keep growing you will need to water and feed them as instructed.
Incorporate as many of these small home hacks into your interior design to make your home feel and look much larger
1. Show a lot of leg
The more floor space you can see in your home, the more spacious it will feel. To make a small home feel bigger, where possible, opt for furniture that is raised up on legs, like this Finsbury Sofa. The same goes with bed frames, wardrobes and sideboards.
2. Build up to the ceiling
Whether you're installing kitchen units or fitted wardrobes, always take them right up to the ceiling when you can. You will maximise your storage area and you won't be left with a dusty, redundant space at the top. You may have to go bespoke, but the additional storage may be worth the extra cost.
To make a small home feel bigger, choose reflective surfaces over a matt finish wherever you can. This space enhancing tip will help to bounce more light around your home and make it feel lighter and larger. This even applies to details, such as door handles, and accessories, such as kettles.
Opt for sinks and toilets, kitchen units and sideboards that are cantilevered out from the wall, so that you can see the floor beneath them. Your rooms will instantly feel larger.
5. Go for glazed doors
Glazed internal doors bring in more light and draw the eye further into your home, making your place feel brighter and more spacious. Glazed kitchen units, dressers and sideboards will enhance the feeling of space in your home too.
6. Strategically place mirrors
Mirrors automatically make a room feel much deeper than it is, but placing them so that they can reflect a window or doorway will enhance that feeling even more. And, as they bounce light around, they will brighten up your space too.
7. If it's out, make sure it's attractive
You can't hide everything away. Whether it's washing-up liquid or coat hooks, if it's on view, see that it's pleasing on the eye. Washing up equipment, for example, is rarely pretty, but if you dig a bit deeper you can unearth lovely pieces, such as this attractive washing up brush, container and composter.
8. Opt for glass tabletops
A glass-topped contemporary dining table allows the eye to see through it, further into the room, making the room feel larger as a result.
9. Go square
To get the most out of the space in your kitchen units, you need to go square. Opt for square storage canisters and even consider right angles for your plates too. That way you can push everything right into the corners.
10. Go for handleless units
Handles protrude into the room and take up unnecessary inches. Instead, to make a small home feel bigger, go for handleless furniture and kitchen units where the handle is cut into the door itself. Every little helps.
11. Keep the colour scheme light
This is one of the more obvious small home hacks, as shown here in this living area, light colours help to create an optical illusion, they push the walls out and make a space feel larger. The light and bright coloured furniture helps to do the same.
12. Slimline appliances
You don't need to cut down on your whitegoods, because of lack of room, just opt for slimline appliances. You can even get narrow wine fridges.
13. Hush your appliances - look for the Quiet Mark
It's unlikely that you have space for a utility room, so you want to make sure that your washing machine, tumble drier, fridge, freezer, dishwasher and extractor are as quiet as possible. Look for the Quiet Mark. Appliances certified with the Quiet Mark are certified as being the quietest products in their category.
14. Flatten that hob
Induction hobs are best for small kitchens as they sit flush with the worktop and so help to visually extend your worktop space. They are super easy to clean too than traditional gas hobs too.
15. Streamline that sink
The latest worktops can be created as one single surface with a sink and drainers moulded in to them. As the worktop space is one whole seamless piece that includes the sink, it will make the whole area feel a lot larger than it is and make it easier to clean.
16. Be Transparent
It's time to be clear. Transparent pieces of furniture that you can see through, such as the iconic Philippe Starck Kartell Loulou Ghost chair shown above from Amazon, lead the eye further into the room and will instantly make it feel larger.
17. Choose pedestal tables
By opting for a pedestal table you reduce the amount of table top supports by three, this means that there are less obstacles crowding your room and that you can squeeze more people around it.
The best dining tables for small eating areas
18. Get nesting
Occasional tables are useful, but when they are not needed you want to be able to tuck them away, so be sure to buy the nesting variety.
19. Open up stairs
Make sure that your stair parts are as open as is safely possible. Don't hide away your stairs, show that they are going somewhere. This will help to add depth to your home.
20. Opt for multifunctional radiators
Heaters shouldn't just heat. Multifunctional radiators can double up as towel rails, shelves, benches and even mirrors.
21. Cut those cords
Don't have wires snaking across your walls and floors. Instead, opt for wireless music systems, such as the One (Gen 2) speaker from Amazon, shown above. Go for wireless printers and wireless keyboards too.
22. Forget screens, project
Don't clutter up your wall with a giant TV screen. Just paint it white invest in a little projector, such as this Vankyo L430W WiFi projector from Amazon, and project an image on to it when you want to consume some media.
23. Let your windows shine
Don't block any part of your window with a curtain, blind, or other window dressing. Let it sit so that it doesn't cover any part of the glazing. You want to maximise the light that shines through. The more natural light filtering into your space, the larger it will feel. Here the blind sits just above the first pane of glass.
24. Go for multifunctional furniture
Wherever possible, choose multifunctional furniture. This four-poster double bed with storage doubles up as a bookcase. Look for dining tables incorporating drawers, sofas that double up as guest beds and stools that offer storage too.
25. Let things lean
This is one of those lesser known small home hacks, don't let four legs support your furniture and take up floor space when two will do. The more floor you can see, the larger your room will feel. Ladder desks, shelving and console tables can all be found leaning.
Our stairs have gone through lots of design transformations over the years. When we moved in they were one side of a narrow corridor, the bannister was covered in 1970's-style wallpaper and a door beneath led into a storage vacuum. Scroll down to see how they've been transformed into various under stair storage units since.
We pulled down the internal wall, separating the stairs from what was the kitchen, replaced the broken stairs with a whole new staircase and a banister that brings more light on to the stair treads and hallway above, and then I designed a storage unit under the stairs for what became the lounge room.
A mixture of deep cupboards and drawers offered great storage for toys, board games, art materials, chinaware and tech equipment, while the open shelves helped what became the lounge room feel a lot more spacious, and the books and ornaments added colour and pattern. This unit served its purpose for several years, but following our extension the room became the kitchen and the stairs had to be repurposed once again.
When the stair space became part of the kitchen, the bulk of the unit remained the same and the fridge/freezer and larder cupboard, which we had in our existing kitchen in what was to become the lounge, were fitted above the drawers and painted. It helped that fortuitously the unit was divided into 60cm sections, the exact same width of standard kitchen units.
Then I found two basket kitchen drawers at B&Q, which fitted right into what was open shelving; and I left the top shelf free for books.
More under stair design ideas