Few homeowners feel like they have enough storage. Your choices are to reduce how much stuff you need to store, add more storage space or what happens all too often, you shove things into a closet making it almost impossible to find things. Before you pick one of these approaches, you should take time to explore all possible wall storage ideas.
There are many different ways to use walls for storage. The traditional approach is to place shelves on the wall but they stick out, taking up living space you might need for other activities. In this article we'll explore ways to use space hidden inside your walls or space behind walls that's not being used.
Wall Storage Ideas to Reclaim Space Inside Your Walls
When you start looking for more storage space, most people only look at the space they can see. There's actually a lot of space behind the walls of your house but you've got to know which walls you can use for storage.
Here are the walls you don't want to use, or use with extreme caution:
- Exterior walls are filled with insulation to keep your home warm/cool.
- Bathroom and kitchen walls where there's plumbing. This includes sinks, toilets and shower/tub faucets, because of the pipes hiding inside.
- Drywall on walls facing the garage are considered firewalls, and should not be reconfigured without thorough research into building codes.
So what walls are great candidates for adding embedded storage? Most interior walls are perfect so it depends really, on what you need storage space for. Spices should be in the kitchen, medicine in the bathroom or possibly the bedroom. Hallways if they have great lighting, might be the ideal place to display one or more of your favorite collections … or why do you have them?
When opening up the walls, you've got to be careful as there may be electric wires or other pipes in the walls. If you want wide shelves, you'll have to compensate with headers the way you do for windows and doors, but this isn't difficult for non-load bearing walls. So how much space is there in your walls?
- Your shelves will use the 3 1/2 inches, the depth of interior walls when framed with 2 x 4 studs (bathrooms may use 2 x 6 studs to support waste pipes).
- Most walls have 1/2 inch drywall (firewalls have thicker drywall) and you'll get that space back.
- By trimming out the opening like doors and windows, you'll gain 3/4 inches or the depth of the casing.
- Adding these 3 items, you get shelving that's at least 4 3/4 inches. It might not seem like much space until you realize that spice jars are 1 3/4 inches, coffee mugs are 3 1/2 inches in diameter and if you add a groove to the shelves, you can hold picture frames.
Consider the medicine cabinet, a familiar feature in most bathrooms. The cabinet sits inside the wall, while the door hiding the contents, rests against the wall when closed. Imagine all the wall storage ideas possible with this simple concept, especially when you used a framed photo like the ones offered by ConcealedCabinet.com.
- Multiple medicine cabinets in the bathroom, possibly his and hers.
- Hide your keys by the front door, easy to access but out of sight.
- Store important documents in a wall safe that's hidden by a picture.
- Make spices easy to see and access on a kitchen wall, without wasting a deep kitchen cabinet.
- Display collections on open shelves, when your collectibles are fairly narrow. For example, the shelves above have jars of canned goods, pasta and more.
Wall Storage Ideas for Space Hiding Under the Stairs
Some walls have even more space hiding behind them, although you'll need more carpentry skills to take advantage of the space. When designing my husband's closet, I couldn't find the wall stud under the stairs and quickly added three additional feel of space which only needed drywall, taping and mud.
Normally the space under stairs is not used. That's because your primary requirement is to support the stairs, so it will take design work and good carpentry skills to replace the stringers that normally support the steps. The bookshelf above does this nicely, while using all the space underneath. You can find lots of creative wall storage ideas on Pinterest, and we'd love for you to share your projects here.
Look to Attic Eaves for More Wall Storage Ideas
Finished attic space is another area for lots of underutilized space. You might not be able to stand under the eaves, but there's no reason why you can't push drawers and shelving into this space as these photos illustrate. The photo above shows a narrow counter top over the built-in shelves and drawers in this attic knee wall. This is very different than the wall storage below, that is flush with the wall except for the wood trim wrapped around the individual storage units.