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Storage lessons we’re taking from stylish Irish homes

Storage lessons we’re taking from stylish Irish homes


by Megan Burns
03rd Jul 2024

If you’re in need of storage inspiration, these homes show a variety of approaches to combine good design with your home’s aesthetic.

Storage – it’s the one thing that most people wish they had more of in their homes. Even if your home is generally well-served with places to store items, there’s often one spot that accumulates bits and bobs, whether it’s shoes, books, or just everyday items.

No matter what kind of storage you’re considering, it’s always helpful to look at other homes where it has been successfully incorporated. And the best storage not only provides the space you need, but flows well with the rest of the house, so it feels a considered part of the whole scheme. 

Here are some storage lessons we’ve learned from stylish Irish homes.

Floor to ceiling styles make the most of the space

Rather than a cabinet here, a wall shelf there, and piles of things accumulating on surfaces, streamline your storage and turn it into a striking feature by allowing it to take over a whole wall, or even two as is the case in this study in a home outside Clifden.

It’s of course perfectly suited to books, but you can vary the design based on what you need – combine open and closed storage if you have things you want to hide away, or if you want everything behind doors, they can be disguised as panelling, or painted the same shade as your walls to help them blend in.

By going floor to ceiling, youre also making the most of your whole space, giving you maximum storage.

Combine eras for a unique look

If you’re opting for freestanding pieces, don’t feel that they have to all match. In this industrial-style Dublin home, a mix of vintage furniture and modern minimalist pieces create a perfect balance of character and simplicity. 

By choosing pieces that you love, no matter when they were made, you’ll also ensure your space feels true to you, rather than looking like something lifted from a catalogue.

Photography: Shantanu Starick

Photography: Shantanu Starick

Mix open and closed 

Photo: Ruth Maria Murphy

We often think of storage as being either open, such as shelves, or closed, such as chests of drawers, but often what we most need is a combination of both. The living space in this home outside Belfast illustrates the point perfectly, with shelves to display favourite objects sitting alongside drawers, and panelling used to partly conceal some shelving. 

Work with what your house offers

We all love to look at images of other homes and admire what they’ve done, but it’s also important to work with the form and idiosyncrasies of your own home. They can often provide an opportunity to create storage in otherwise unused spaces.

In this Wicklow home, the owners have done just this. A high-ceilinged room makes the most of the space above the door with shelving, while a small room with a sloped ceiling is idea for built-in cupboards.

Use transitional spaces

We may not all have the generous hallways of this Galway home, but it’s a great reminder that these kinds of spaces are often ideal for storage. Not only are they spaces we don’t spend much time in, so you’re removing clutter from busier rooms in the house, but they’re also where we often need storage, looking for or putting away items as we enter or leave the house.

If you don’t have space for built-in units, wall hooks, storage benches and console tables can all be useful alternatives. 

Make the most of alcoves

Alcoves are a quirk of many of our homes, and they’re the perfect place to create bespoke storage. While it may be tempting to simply buy a unit to place in the alcove, this Stoneybatter home shows how creating bespoke designs for each alcove really makes the most of their unique shapes.

Photography: Al Higgins

Photography: Al Higgins

Choose from the same palette as the rest of your room for flow

If you want storage to be seamless, either choose a material or colour that features in the rest of your room. In this Stillorgan home, the owners have chosen the same wood that’s used for panelling elsewhere, while in this Rathgar house the shelving has been painted the same shade as the walls, allowing it to feel part of the room’s character.

Create a statement with colour

Photo: Alice Clancy

If you want to add a pop of colour into your space, why not choose storage in a bold shade, making it stand out and add character to the room? This gate lodge in Westmeath features red-stained plywood shelving that brightens the whole space.

Clever design can make it disappear

Photo: Al Higgins

The owner of this Stoneybatter home has created a cupboard that disappears behind camouflaged doors. Blending in with the room’s panelling, they’re an unobtrusive solution, especially in a smaller space.

These homes originally appeared in IMAGE Interiors. Have you thought about becoming a subscriber? Find out more, and sign up here, or pick up the Spring/Summer 2024 issue, on shelves now.

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