Low-effort, low-budget storage ideas to try during lockdown

Integrated and seamless storage might be the dream, but what do you do when that isn't an option?

It's easy to ignore a lot of things in your home, but when you're there 24/7, little things begin to grate.

A few months ago, you were holding out for the dream solution. You wanted to save for the beautiful joinery, you were happy to wait, but things are different now.

Now you want clutter and mess out of sight and out of mind. But, freewheeling storage solutions don't have to be a temporary fix, as these chic homes from Image Interiors & Living magazine show.




Photograph: Fabrizio Cicconi / Living Inside

Your hallway sets the tone of your home. While ambient light and scent are key for a warm welcome, this is a space that really has to function well too.

In narrow spaces, such as in this Bologna apartment, belonging to floral artist Annalisa Lo Porto and her fashion designer husband Francesco Dal Bo, try to make the best use of wall space and height.

Here, loose fragrant arrangements sit on a wall-mounted key holder to the right, a neat wooden hook rack holds coats to the left, and above, a child’s bike hangs out of the way.

If you have the width, consider wall mounting bikes used every day, such as in this apartment of designer Francesco Franchi. 


Home Office

Doreen Kilfeather_Smart_Storage_Home-Office_02_Scout_Wendy

Photograph: Doreen Kilfeather

Naturally, the home office of Wendy Crawford, owner of the impeccably presented Scout shop in Temple Bar, is brimming with personality, but not, at the expense of practicality.

Above the desk is a dresser, acquired on Done Deal, painted and used to display items while keeping useful bits to hand. As a bonus, it also stops the Rachel Powell wallpaper from being too “trippy”. 

Living Room

Gottstein Architects Doreen Kilfeather Smart Storage


Photograph: Doreen Kilfeather / Styling: Ciara O'Donovan

Ah trusty Kallax, it seems that every abode has had one at one stage. In the Edwardian home of architects Caitriona Duggan and Achim Gottstein of Gottstein Architects, you'll spot a gleaming white Ikea unit, obscured partly by a mustard yellow Utility chair and a Niels Møller table and chairs.

This warm and tactile home is the result of years of accumulation, as the couple decided not to buy anything new and to work with the furniture from their first home. As a result, there was no replacing budget storage units for more high-end ones. The mix works beautifully.

As Catriona notes, "When you've had years of dinner parties, friends, laughter and tears around a table, it becomes a part of who you are; there's something lovely about sitting down with furniture you've had all your life."


Katie Sanderson Kitchen Shantanu Starick Smart Storage 2Photograph: Shantanu Starick / Styling: Ciara O'Donovan

Open shelving makes cooking that bit easier, and can be easily cobbled together with bits of wood and some brackets, as seen in the kitchen of chef Katie Sanderson. If you don’t have an array of mason jars to hand, start keeping and reusing regular food jars. Label with masking tape and marker for a cheffy final flourish. 


Under The Stairs

sally caulwell home Doreen Kilfeather Smart StoragePhotograph: Doreen Kilfeather

If you've little ones at home, or usually have small visitors, why not get on their level? An adjustable peg board, as seen in illustrator Sally Caulwell's Portobello home, is ideal for hanging their outdoor garb where they can reach.

And though they might still need help putting the pin in the box of the zip, it might encourage them to put the coat on, and hang it up after, at least.

Dressing Room

Portobello Home Shantanu Starick Smart Storage

Photograph: Shantanu Starick / Styling: Ciara O'Halloran


While a dedicated dressing room might be the stuff of fantasy for most of us, there’s still plenty of inspiration to take from the Victorian terrace home of Mona Fox.

Here, Mona went against the grain of fitted wardrobes, and instead, storage centres around a vintage haberdashery in the centre (bought for “a steal” on eBay), with a pharmacy apothecary behind, a freestanding open rail for hanging items, and hooks on the side of a large unit for bags. Nothing fancy in small parts, but combined to great effect. 

Read more: Cut the clutter with these clever hidden storage ideas for your home

Read more: Clever food storage ideas to reduce your single-use plastics

Read more:  Smart storage and natural finishes: the kitchen trends in 2020

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