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7 Storage Mistakes to Avoid in Your Small Space

There’s nothing more challenging than finding room for everything you own, especially with homes in Singapore shrinking in size. That’s where clever storage solutions come in. They maximise the most of your limited square footage, while keeping your pad looking spiffy and clutter-free. To help you avoid potential pitfalls when planning for storage in your home, we’ve put together 7 small space storage mistakes to avoid:

Mistake 1: Planning for too many open shelves

There are plenty of guides out there – ours included – that tell you open shelving is the way to go for a small space because they can help to create a sense of spaciousness. Sure, but don’t overdo it. Remember: not everything you own looks like they came out from an interior decorating magazine. Plus, it’s a pain to constantly curate your open shelves in order to keep visual clutter at bay. Always plan for enough closed storage that can help you stash away your uglies.

Make use of both open and closed storage in order to avoid visual clutter in your small space.

Design: Story of Us

A walk-in wardrobe features both closed drawers and open shelvings.

Design: The Interior Lab

Mistake 2: Going too deep

Because of the lack of space, some small space dwellers are tempted to create deep, almost bottomless, storage cabinets. Not a good idea. Why? Things that are stuffed into the deep cabinet abyss are often forgotten.

If you really must go deep, think about layering. For instance, things that are less frequently used will go at the back, while things that are more frequently used are put to the front. Include inner storage solutions like boxes and baskets to better organise your deep drawers and cabinets. And finally, consider installing innovative solutions like pull-out cabinets and drawers to help make it easier to reach out for things stored deep within.

A pull-out drawer by the entryway serves as shoe storage.

Design: Crescendo Interior & Lifestyle

Reach for your pantry items more easily with a pull-out drawer.

Design: Fifth Avenue Interior

Mistake 3: Going too shallow

On the other side of the spectrum are people who don’t plan for enough depth within their storage units. Shallow storage is okay for nooks and crannies where you want to squeeze in a little more storage into your space, but it’s not okay for important storage units like your wardrobe or kitchen cabinets.

The standard depth for a wardrobe should be about 60 to 65 cm to allow your shirts to hang comfortably within without the wardrobe doors interfering. For kitchen cabinets, your base cabinets should have a depth of about 60 cm, while top-hung cabinets should be about 30-cm deep.

Double stacked top cabinets afford more storage space within your kitchen

Design: GS ID

Make sure the depth of your closet is able to accommodate all your shirts.

Design: Distinct Identity

Read more: 10 of the Most Innovative Storage Ideas EVER

Mistake 4: Not going for multifunctional storage

In a small space, a single piece of storage that remains a single piece of storage is ultimately a waste of space. Consider combining more than one function to your storage units and furniture. A bookshelf can double as a room divider. An ottoman can function as a seating space, a coffee table or a storage unit for magazines. A bed can come with under storage drawers to keep bed linen. A chest of drawers can hide a foldaway desk.

Your bed should be a multifunctional piece. Underneath bed storage makes room for things like your bedsheets.

Design: Artist Room

This bedroom cupboard opens up to reveal a dedicated dressing station.

Design: Absolook Interior Design

Mistake 5: Not making the most of your custom built-ins

Every inch matters in a small space. Avoid going for stunted cabinets that don’t reach all the way to the top, which create an area for serious dust accumulation and limit your storage space, or built-ins that only take up part of the wall, thus wasting the area on both sides of it. When customising built-ins, create floor-to-ceiling units or storage solutions that take up the full-length of a wall. Full-height and wall-to-wall units give a sense of height and scale, giving the impression of a larger and taller room.

Reach for the ceiling and the full length of your wall when you create a customised wardrobe.

Design: Linear Space Concepts

This full-height pantry is flanked by display shelves on both sides.

Design: Kuro +

Read more: 8 Kitchen Storage Ideas For When Built-in Cabinets Aren’t Enough

Mistake 6: Not fully utilising vertical space

Many a time, we don’t realise the full potential of our walls when planning for storage space in our tiny apartments. When floor real estate is limited, look towards your vertical spaces. Think mounted display shelves, pegboards to hook up cooking utensils and wares in the kitchen, vertical bike racks to suspend our two-wheelers in mid-air, and wall-mount bedside tables that allow us to stash extra things underneath.

A vertical bicycle rack frees up valuable floor estate.

Design: Versaform

A pegboard wall provides a perfect area to store and display the homeowner’s hiking gear.

Design: Richfield Integrated

Mistake 7: Forgoing awkward niches

The space above your toilet? The area above your door frame? That awkward corner in your bedroom? The ceiling space along your walkway? The zone between your windows? They are not dead and useless, so use them! Create customised built-ins that fit perfectly within that niche to carve out a little more storage and make the most of your limited square footage.

Cubbies hang from the ceiling along the walkway, providing unexpected storage space.

Design: Country Concept

A recessed niche was created above the toilet for displaying items.

Design: Distinct Identity


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