37 Easy Ways to Add Storage to Every Room
Finding a place to put away your stuff is a cinch with these step-by-step solutions
Whether you own a tiny home lacking closet storage, or you are trying to organize the space you have—the first step is to get building. Here are 37 projects that are sure to help you manage your messes or conceal items out of use. From putting together your own built-in window seat to making an outdoor bench that hides tools, TOH brings you detailed step-by-step instructions, shopping lists, and tool lists to do it all yourself.
The bedroom is often the room with the most need for maximum storage but the least amount of space for putting stuff away. Enter this bed—suggested by a reader who saw one featured in a recent issue of This Old House magazine; it has 23 cubic feet of storage but no room for dust bunnies. It's every bit as practical as it is handsome.
Get a place to rest your head and store your stuff with these step-by-step instructions and cut list to Build a Storage Bed.
Plastic bins peeking out from underneath the bed? Really? You're not in college anymore. It's time to consider an attractive, adult piece of furniture with plenty of storage and sufficient style to be left out in the open—praised, even. We built one that eschews the cheap look of sheet goods in favor of box-joint construction with alternating lengths of boards. Then you can relegate those plastic bins to their rightful place, somewhere in deep storage.
Build a Storage Chest for a respectable place to stash essentials.
Messy, wet rain-soaked umbrellas and raincoats can warp hardwood floors and stain your best rugs. You need a stopping area just inside the door where everyone can leave the weather behind.
This handsome entry hall built-in, made of plywood, shelf panels, and layered moldings, is the perfect catchall, complete with an open top shelf, coat hooks, and flip-top bench storage—sure to make your house more welcoming, even while protecting it from wear and tear.
Create a catchall with How to Build a Mudroom Bench for step-by-step instructions.
The ottoman has many uses, serving as extra seating, a foot rest, or even a coffee table when a tray is placed on top. Versions with under-lid storage, like this handsome example, are the perfect place to stash blankets or store books. Customize the upholstery to fit your household decor or needs: stain resistant for pets and children, or suede for a lusher feel. And vary the height and style of the off-the-rack legs to complement existing furniture.
The customizable storage options are endless when you Build a Storage Ottoman.
If you've shopped for a small wine rack and felt uninspired, we're with you. Wire models feel cheap; Tinker Toylike wood options look rickety. What's a vino lover to do? Here, a wood planter and plywood was transformed into a simple wine rack that takes up little counter or table space. Even better: You can put it together in less time than it takes to cook a festive meal. And that's something to drink to.
Make a Wine Rack from a Planter Box for shelf-free fun.
Want to cleverly conceal that large flat-screen television you installed front and center? You can! Hide it behind a handsome cabinet fitted with bifold doors, as we did here. With a simple frame and doors cut down from a single bifold closet door, this cabinet is easy to assemble and costs far less than its store-bought counterparts.
Protect a prized flat-screen with a Wall-Hung TV Cabinet.
An outdoor bench makes a convenient place to plop down while you remove muddy boots. You'll rest even easier knowing it can store a garden hose (or two) and other less-than-attractive supplies.
You can build one from weather-resistant cedar or ipe. A lift up the seat and a floor made a galvanized metal screen allows water to escape, so you don't have to worry about storing a hose before it drains. The angled backrest, with its decorative curve, adds to the inviting aesthetic of a piece that's as handsome as it is handy.
Unsightly lawn and garden supplies find a nice home in this Bench With Hidden Storage.
You can convert hidden, unused spaces into valuable storage areas. Here, you'll recess a chest of drawers into the knee wall of an upstairs bedroom. You'll gain a full-size, eight-drawer chest without sacrificing a single square inch of floor space.
Get all the dresser storage without the floor space when you Install Knee-Wall Storage.
If you lack a dedicated spot for paying bills and stashing loose stuff, a good desk is a must. This desktop, made of plywood topped with acrylic sheeting, stands on turned legs. To make the free-floating hutch, use a small cabinet laid on its side and repurpose the door to create shelves. A cubby tucked under the desktop holds a basket for yet more storage. No guarantees, but it should make tackling paperwork more inviting.
Make a Desk With Storage Cubbies to create a less-daunting workspace.
At 72 inches tall, this handsome entryway accessory has enough height to hold full-length coats and long scarves, and still manages to dress up the space when left bare. When constructing and customizing your own, choose a decorative finish, routered legs, or ornate hooks. Your new addition will keep your woollies close at hand on your way out the door and promise a clutter-free foyer when you get home.
Build a Coat Rack for attractive vertical storage.
With wheels on the bottom and special toy box lid supports, this chest makes it easy for kids to round up their toys when playtime is over. You can make a barn-shaped container like this one in an afternoon with tools on hand and materials available at the home center. Once the toy chest is put together, kids will be scrambling to fill it with their prized possessions.
See How to Build a Toy Chest for toy storage your kids will love.
Stop hunting through cupboards for cocktail fixings just as guests begin arriving. Why not corral all those items in one, easy-to-use location? This tall and slender cocktail hutch provides a handy and attractive place to hang glasses, store wine bottles, tuck bottle openers and napkins, and display spirits. The work will all pay off at your next cocktail party, as guests admire your craftsmanship.
Serving up drinks at a big bash is easier with a Cocktail Hutch.
Let's face it: A clothes hamper is not the sexiest piece of furniture you'll ever own. But that's no excuse for using a tired old canvas bag or an open-top basket to stash your dirty duds. Instead, build a furniture-like piece like the one shown here. The top and sides are simply stock beadboard plywood framed with 1x material.
See How to Build a Wood Hamper for a decorative dirty socks holder.
A pileup of coats and jackets near the front door is never a welcoming sight. finding a spot to store this stuff can be a challenge. Why not build a low-profile, cottage-inspired coatrack that takes up just a few feet of wall space. Double coat hooks and wire baskets maximize storage space, and the board-and-batten-like design protects the underlying wall from dings and dents.
Get coats out of the way with How to Build a Wall-Mounted Coatrack step-by-step instructions.
Hang towels right where you need them, on bathroom appropriate hooks. This towel rack was made using cross-handle faucet taps and salvaged barn siding. A shelf was added on top, supported by ornate cast-iron brackets. This way fresh bath towels can be stacked on top and wet ones hung to dry from the taps below.
Use prized finds to Make a Towel Rack With Vintage Taps.
One way to evoke a Victorian-era look—short of bringing the plumbing out of the wall again—is to put your pipes on display with a copper pot rack. You can assemble this cookware holder in just a couple of hours using everyday plumbing parts. Push-together tees and elbows take away the need for messy soldering, and brass polish will make the copper shine like a new penny.
Bring the Victorian age into your home with step-by-step instructions for How to Make a Pot Rack from Copper Pipe.
Few vanity styles complement a traditional bathroom design as well as the dresser profile, which handsomely blends modern function with the wash-basin look that was so common before indoor plumbing. You can easily convert a beautiful old dresser—or a modern one if that's your style—into a sink cabinet. You're best off choosing a chest with doors and as few drawers as possible to better to accommodate the plumbing.
Build a Vintage-look Dresser Vanity to make your bath look lived-in, with all the modern functions.
Pleasing and practical, this architectural accent have been around since ancient Rome. Today you can capture the same timeless charm by buying a preformed niche of dense foam from an online retailer and building it into a barren wall. Create a hole for the insert in a wall, and mount it in place using adhesive caulk.
Install a Wall Niche to show off prized plants and trinkets.
If your little builders inherited the DIY gene, then they're more or less programmed to dive into Mom and Dad's tools. So maybe you should think about giving them their own set. This toolbox is just the thing to hold smaller, basic items that fit a young do-it-yourselfer's hands, including a hammer, saws, pliers, and screwdrivers. Building it is easy: The tools required are probably already in your stash, and the materials are readily available at a home center and a sporting goods store.
Help your little DIY-er get started by Building a Toolbox.
You can find vintage garden gear, such as these outdoor spigot handles and spring clips, at flea markets, antiques stores, and online for as little as $1 each. Use them to organize your garden gear with this fun and functional tool rack made from old wood molding, flea-market spring clips, and brightly colored outdoor spigot handles. All you need is a free morning, the tools in a basic kit, and a little creativity.
Build a Spigot-Handle Garden Tool Rack for an interesting storage spot.
All the rust-resistant coating in the world won't save your garden tools if you leave them outside all the time. Create a clean, dry, and accessible locale for your pruners and shovels by planting a handsome wood lean-to shed against the house near the patio or garden. This model is made from cedar, a naturally rot-resistant wood, and it will weather nicely while protecting your goods from precipitation and insects alike. You can make it in a weekend out of off-the-shelf lumber.
Fight rust and a cluttered patio when you Build a Garden Tools Shed.
Can't bear to toss old issues of TOH? Although plastic magazine holders are inexpensive enough, we don't like the idea of placing pages full of design and remodeling ideas in holders with such little personality. Instead, build a container more in the spirit of the magazines it's meant to hold. This model has brackets attached to a simple wood frame to create a freestanding file with decorative scrollwork dividers.
Store all your favorite TOH issues with this Magazine Rack.
Messing with hangers in the hall closet can be too fussy after a long day. You can gain an easy drop off spot on any wall near the front door with a toss-and-go coatrack. This pretty version features six knobs and their matching rosette backplates and the nice old board they are mounted on—made from chestnut trim salvaged during a house renovation.
Show off pretty doorknobs and add storage with a Doorknob Coatrack.
Who isn't tired of littering the countertop with house keys, bills, and various daily reminders to family members? Here, a medicine cabinet was transformed into an organizer. The front was filled-in with chalkboard paint and the back-side with cork. A row of cup hooks is perfect for hanging keys.
Keep your family's essentials in a Medicine Cabinet Turned Message Center.
Need a little help organizing tools for DIY projects? Here is a plan for a size-it-to-your-space tool-storage bench that doubles as a work surface. Though it may look complicated, the construction couldn't be simpler. You can use plywood to build one large box and two smaller ones, fit them with shelves. Next, place the boxes back-to-back and finally top the assembly with doubled-up plywood.
Combine storage and work surface in this Tool Bench.
Kids want to have a say in how their bedroom is decorated. An easy way to satisfy that need is by making these modular wall cubbies, which can be customized to suit the changing tastes of growing children. You can make just one cubby or stack several for a shelf.
Build Wall Cubbies that will change and grow with your child.
Beat-up trash cans and overflowing recycling bins are mucking up the curb appeal of your house. What you need is a sturdy storage house that hides your waste while keeping it organized. Take a weekend to build one big enough for two 32-gallon trash cans and several stacked recycling bins. Flip-open lids give it easy access so that you can quickly toss something away in the right place. Bifold front doors make it easy to move heavy cans in and out. And handsome siding that matches the house camouflages the whole structure.
Stash away ugly trashcans in this attractive Trash Shed.
The grill out on the deck can be a social hub in warm weather. We loved this idea from a This Old House reader for a place to store his cooking tools and set his platters of food—a cart assembled from wood planters and metal-wrapped plywood. This model is pure barbecue brilliance. It is a handsome deck accessory that will only set you back about $150, so you can set aside the cooking clutter and put the emphasis back on the steaks.
Build a Grilling Station and be the ultimate entertainer.
There is no easier way to add abundant, accessible storage than with wall-mounted shelving made from metal standards, adjustable brackets and ready-made shelves. This type of easy-to-install system is ideal for a kid's room, home office, laundry room, walk-in closet, pantry or virtually any room in the house.
Install Wall-Mounted Shelves for flexible storage and display room.
Cabinet doors do not have to lack personality or color. Here, we show you how to turn a graphic patterned stained-glass sidelight, such as this red-and-amber-colored example, into a cabinet door, to complement your home's style. You can get this look even if you find a different size stained-glass window, as long as it fits a standard cabinet size.
This Stylish Bar Cabinet is a great use for a salvaged stained-glass window.
As attractive as window seats are, only a few older homes with deep dormers seem to have them. Here's how to build a beautiful, custom window seat in just a couple of days using ready-made kitchen cabinets. This simple, do-it-yourself approach provides both a niche and the window seat, and an abundance of storage space. This seat was built under a 6-foot-wide kitchen window, but its design can easily be adapted for any size window in almost any room.
Build the Window Seat that you've always wanted.
You don't have to closet your collectibles, since open shelving puts your prized possessions on proud display. It doesn't take much to build yourself a custom bookcase: A few sheets of veneer plywood and some inexpensive molding, and you're well on your way to creating a proper showcase for your hardback favorites and treasured curios.
Display your favorite reads and more on this Small Bookcase.
A bar of soap can unstick a drawer that has wood guide blocks instead of glides. Remove the drawer and rub plain soap along the guides on the drawer's bottom and on the center and side guide blocks. If that doesn't get the drawer moving, use 80- to 100-grit paper to lightly sand down the bottom edges, testing often, until the drawer glides easily again.
If your perfect kitchen design is being compromised by dinged-up dog bowls and the dried-up drool that surrounds them, this well-built canine furniture will jazz up the fanciest of cook's spots—and organize all your pup's messy bowls, cans, and bags. The elevated platform will also give your furriest family member some much-needed neck and back relief. This is especially helpful for large breed dogs, like Great Danes and Dobermans, or pooches who are getting on in years. And with storage for treats and a removable tray, cleaning the bowls—instead of the floor— will be a breeze.
Make feeding Fido a breeze by using How to Build a Dog Feeding Station step-by-step instructions.
It's a routine every dog owner knows: Fido's itching for his morning walk while you're frantically hunting down his leash and a few plastic bags before you've had your morning joe. This handsome organizer, made from beadboard, crown molding, stock lumber, and a leftover tin ceiling tile, keeps all the necessities within arm's reach. Make one for yourself, and you'll be out the door with your pooch in record time.
Make your pet care routine a bit easier with a Wall-Mounted Pet Organizer.
Not everyone wants open, built-in shelves that showcase their wares. If you'd like shelves like these into cabinets to hide an ugly TV or a messy stack of books, you need a clever way to shut everything away. Rather than make a custom door, here we show you how to turn salvaged shutters into a hinged bifold that opens and closes with ease.
Hide your stuff from company when you Make New Cabinet Doors From Old Shutters.
It doesn't require a master carpenter, a workshop full of tools, and thousands of dollars to add built-in bookcases to your home. All it takes, essentially, is some sturdy veneer plywood and a circular saw. By laminating a series of short support pieces to a longer strip of wood you can create the appearance of thick boards that have been routed to accept shelves. Some solid-wood trim covering all the plywood edges hides your clever trickery, leaving you with a piece of furniture worthy of a great library.
Build a Bookcase that looks like it's always been there.