I recently moved into a new house that’s an absolute dream come true, with one big exception: there are absolutely NO closets on the first floor, and no built-in storage outside the kitchen at all. If you’re in a similar situation, you probably know there are some things that a big pantry and walk-in bedroom closets just can’t make up for. So if you’ve also got stuff-overflow from a too-small hall closet or linen cabinet (or none at all), I’ve got six ways to sneak a little hidden storage into your space without disrupting the rest of your decor.
1. Invest In An Entryway Bench
If the place you’re hurting most for storage is in your entryway, and adding a coat rack simply isn’t cutting it, my very first recommendation would be to invest in an entry bench. Seating is a pretty standard must-have for an entryway of any size, and if you don’t have a hall closet, one with hidden storage can be a real game changer. Typically storage benches have seats that lift up to reveal a large amount of trunk-style storage inside, and are great for storing everything from winter gear to board games to tool boxes in a way that’s both easy to access and completely out of sight.
2. …Or Whatever Storage+Seating Combo Makes Sense For Your Space
If trunk-style storage isn’t your cup of tea (or doesn’t quite meet the needs of your space), though, don’t worry. Storage benches come in a wide variety of sizes, styles, and configurations, with everything from cabinets to drawers to cubbies to pull-out baskets. Some offer more hidden storage while others will leave your items a little more visible, but typically give you a good amount of storage for the space they take up. Supplemented with that coat rack (and maybe an entry table that has more drawers or cabinets), and you might not be missing that closet so much anymore.
3. Swap Your Coffee Table For A Storage Ottoman
In a similar vein, upholstered ottomans have become a popular replacement for coffee tables in the living room, and ones with hidden storage are an incredible way to keep your living room from getting cluttered. Whether you use it to store linens, pet toys, holiday decorations, or anything else, flat-topped, upholstered ottomans are the perfect multi-purpose piece of furniture for a living room that’s short on storage space. Not only do you have a usable table space (and a pretty nice footrest), but typically all the space inside of these ottomans can be used as storage.
4. Consider Some Storage-Filled Footrests
Better still, storage ottomans also come in a pretty wide variety of configurations, from huge round or rectangular coffee-table-sized pieces all the way down to petite footrests. Though obviously bigger ottomans offer more storage, small ones have their charms as well. Particularly, they make a good place to store spare remotes, controllers, or cords when you want your living room to look a little less lived-in, but still want your electronics to be easily accessible (and somewhere everyone will remember them!). Bonus, there are so many different styles and types of upholstery out there that it’s easy to find a storage ottoman to match just about any living space.
5. Insist On Accent Tables With Hidden Storage
That said, ottomans are far from the only type of furniture that comes with built-in hidden storage. Traditional coffee tables can, but more importantly, if you’re short on storage space, you should look for end tables that have as much storage space in them as possible. Typically, you’ll see side tables that have drawers or a shelf at best, but the same cube/trunk style storage that works for ottomans works for end tables too, especially if you’re trying to replace the heftier amount of storage you’d typically get from a coat closet or linen closet. In this case, side tables are a little better for long-term storage, mostly because plunking a table lamp and coaster on top makes them less convenient to open and close at will.
6. Keep Toys Off The Floor With A Time-Out Chair Slash Toy Storage
Of course, not all furniture with hidden storage is big enough to replace a closet or store your linens. Petite storage stools honestly aren’t practical for storing much more than knick-knacks, but I include them here because they’re a fun, stylish little multitasker that serves one function exceptionally well: as a time-out chair. What do I mean? If your kid is misbehaving, simply pop off the top of the stool, stow their favorite toy inside, and make them sit down and cool their heels for a few minutes. Plastic storage stools in particular are lightweight but sturdy, and come in fun colors that make them a surprisingly attractive (and functional) addition to a living space or play room.
If you’re short on built-in storage space, the best thing you can do is shop for furniture that can help do the job for you – and furniture with hidden storage will help you conceal all your spare clutter while leaving your guests none the wiser.