Top Storage Ideas for Awkward Spaces

A narrow hall space transforms into a small art studio.

Office Space (aka 'The Cupboard Under the Stairs')

That nook beneath the stairs. The corner above the TV set. The space above the toilet.

What do all of these areas have in common? They’re awkward little spaces that could be made oh-so much more efficient as additional storage space with some creative ideas. If you’ve ever wished you could do something more with them, fear not—brilliant minds from around the world have worked to create a plethora of innovative storage and shelving ideas for the nooks that vex us so.

1. Shelving for a Gabled Roof from The Fun Times Guide

Quaint and picturesque, gabled roofs make us think of strange places where the heroines of Gothic romances are locked away by their evil uncles. In reality, these sloping roofs are usually a nightmare to deal with, as there really aren’t any prefabricated bookshelves or wardrobes that can fit in them. To maximise these spaces, it’s best to custom-make some slanting shelving units to suit the space.

Innovative built-in shelving for a roof with slanting sides.

2. Under the Basement Stairs, by Inspiration for Home

If your home has a more rustic, unfinished sort of basement, consider a honeycomb of wooden boxes as a storage space: it’s cost-effective to create, and can store everything from sports equipment to cleaning supplies.

Space-saving storage for beneath the basement stairs.

3. Kitchen Carts for Weird Gaps, via Apartment Therapy

Nearly all of us have lived in a place where there’s a strange gap somewhere in the kitchen. It might be in a space designated for a dishwasher that was never installed, or poor planning on the part of the contractors who put the place together, leaving a section open between cupboards and fridge nook. Fortunately, kitchen carts come in all shapes and sizes.

Kitchen carts in metal or wood can squeeze into all kinds of awkward spaces.

4. Over-Stove Storage by Joanna Goddard

If your stove doesn’t have an extractor fan over it, chances are you have a huge, open, unused space above the appliance that stares at you disapprovingly every time you prepare a pot of spaghetti. Make the most of that wall by installing racks for utensils, pots, and pans, and shelves for additional storage.

Spaces over stoves can be put to use with utensil racks and shelves.

5. Beverage Rack Over the Fridge from Kitchen Building

That space above the fridge is good for something other than keeping plants that will inevitably die of neglect and under-watering. Hang a simple wine rack in that space and you now have storage for your bevvies of choice.

Storage over the fridge for wine, water, soft drinks, or kittens.

Speaking of fridges…

 6. Shelves for a Gap Between Fridge and Cupboard, by BHG

It’s entirely likely that whoever built your home left a glaring gap between the cupboard and the fridge. Fill that up with some narrow shelves and use them to keep cups close at hand, or to display your favourite nick-knacks.

Custom shelves for the gap between fridge and cupboard.

7. Narrow Hallway Nook = Awesome Office, by Apartment Therapy

Those of us who live in Victorian or Edwardian homes are all too familiar with the narrow crannies and hallways common to these buildings. A cute secretary desk paired with  some wall art and a comfy chair transforms this space into an office or mini art studio.

A narrow hall space transforms into a small art studio.

8. The Closet that Wasn’t, into Book Nook by Thrifty Decor Chick

The best of intentions can go awry, and great plans for closets sometimes come to naught. With the aid of some shelves, cushions, and a basket or two, an unused closet space becomes a book nook for kids and very narrow adults.

An underused closet becomes a book reading nook.

9. A Jutting Eyesore Becomes a Handy Bench, by Apartment Therapy

Builders sometimes have strange ideas about efficiency in design, and can leave jutting wedges of uselessness in the house. If you don’t have a caryatid lying about to display on one of these, consider turning it into a bench, with handy hooks above it for purses, scarves, etc.

Builder's eyesore turns into handy dressing bench.

10. Bricked-up Fireplace Dog Bed, via Apartment Therapy

Many homes that once had working fireplaces have since had them bricked up because they’re raging fire hazards. Some people put candles in these spaces, others use them for art… but really? Just toss a cushion or five in there and put a dog in it. Everybody’s happy.

A bricked up fireplace becomes the perfect pet nook.


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