Secrets in store ; interiors Gabrielle Fagan [Western Daily Press (UK)]
(Western Daily Press (UK) Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) Stylish storage has suddenly been transformed into a stunning addition for any home.
Our desire for streamlined, contemporary interiors means we're demanding attractive and imaginative ways of dealing with today's ultimate interiors sin - clutter. Designers are responding by creating solutions which store possessions efficiently - and make a style statement at the same time.
"Many of us have to live in homes much smaller than we might desire," says interior designer Joanna Wood (www.joannawood.co.uk).
"Generally, we also underestimate the number of possessions we have by about a third, which can lead to a storage conundrum. But that doesn't mean you have to abandon your design ideals.
"With thought and careful planning you can make the most of every inch of space using beautiful solutions combining function and good looks."
Feel the space A calm atmosphere is essential in living areas. Open shelves and cupboard storage can allow treasured and decorative items to star while everything else is concealed but to hand. "In contemporary interiors there's no room for jarring clutter," says Wood.
"The key to success is to recognise no space is too small to store something. Every corner, recess or landing can be utilised to provide a home for belongings. Even stair treads can be transformed into drawers." A bespoke system which caters for every storage need is hard to beat. A contemporary Cream Lounge system starts from around Pounds 3,000, Neville Johnson. Banish coffee table clutter by choosing a table with roomy drawers such as the Naples pine large coffee table, Pounds 299.99. Team it with a Bretagne bookcase with drawers, Pounds 399.99, both Dunelm Mill. A set of three Bentwood cubes, small, medium and large, Pounds 11.25, Asda, have plenty of room for possessions (3).
Make storage work It's vital that a home office feels organised and conducive to work in. "This room will often be multipurpose and used by different members of the family as a den or homework area as well as an office, and ideally each person will need their own allocated storage," says Wood.
"Nowadays, these are planned down to the last inch in the same way as fitted kitchens. Enclosing everything within fitted cupboard doors reduces distractions and makes the area feel organised."
Use wasted space behind a door or on the wall over a desk by hanging organisers with pockets. Take a look at a room divider with cupboards, in a white lacquer finish, Pounds 1,595, BoConcept, could define a working area in a room. Make a space business-like with smart kit from John Lewis, including items such as the House lean bookcase, Pounds 99, and a sleek wood and glass Zane desk, Pounds 250 (1).
Organise the bedroom Having problems sleeping in a bedroom that's bulging at the seams with clothes Both are sure signs that your storage is inadequate.
"This is a room where you want a tranquil, calm atmosphere and as little clutter as possible," says Emma Sims-Hilditch, partner at furniture company Neptune.
"Try to have in it only the things you need, rather than allowing it to become a part-time ironing room or office. The investment of commissioning built-in bedroom furniture is worthwhile if you plan to stay in your home for the foreseeable future. I find a mix is most practical: free-standing bedside tables and chest of drawers and, if space allows, a built-in wardrobe tailored to your needs.
"Avoid masking architraves, cornices and skirtings with fitted furniture as you can lose the character of the room, and if you want a more freestanding look avoid taking built-in joinery right up to the ceiling. Instead choose a pretty cornice for the top of the wardrobe or cabinet."
Why not try a compact Gainsborough dressing table, Pounds 791.20, from Marks & Spencer, has six drawers and a lift-up mirror (5). Try Ikea's practical Pax wardrobe, starts from Pounds 70 for a one-door unit, and its Malm mirrored chest of drawers, Pounds 200, or a Vardo bed storage box, Pounds 21. There's also the Florence dressing table, Pounds 299.99, Split Willow 4-drawer tower grey, Pounds 44.99, and storage boxes from Pounds 6.99, Dunelm Mill.
Go for smart play Children's rooms seem to shrink as the inhabitants grow and gather their multitude of toys and possessions.
"Children have more need for storage than anyone else. But whatever solution you choose it should be easy for them to use so they can learn as early as possible to do their own tidying," says Wood. "I designed a playroom for four children and created a cupboard filling a 5m wall." Try Toytown Toy Box, from a range designed by Mark Wilkinson, is handmade using oak and sycamore wood. Price dependent on size and finish, starts from around Pounds 1,490. Animal Farm Wooden Crate Storage Units made in Italy: Cow, Pounds 3,495, Pig, Pounds 995, and Goose, Pounds 550, Alexander & Pearl (6). Great Little Trading Company's Northcote Storage System starts from Pounds 65(2). Its Pull-Along Book Cart featuring Twinkle Fairy or a Fire Engine, Pounds 36 - in stock from February 5) (4). A Dutch Townhouse cupboard can be free-standing or wall mounted and proves that storage needn't be boring, Pounds 130, Pretty Dandy.
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