Beyond Baskets - Better Design Solutions for Storage

By Christina El Moussa on November 23rd, 2015

Christina El Moussa, along with her husband and business partner Tarek El Moussa, is an experienced real estate investor and reality TV star. Since founding Success Path Education, a program that provides real estate investment training, the two have helped students all over the country successfully find and flip houses. Since we all know it takes a little interior TLC to sell a home, today Christina talks storage solutions.

Beyond Baskets - Better Design Solutions for Storage

Storage is such a valuable thing in any home, and I think about it a lot when my husband Tarek and I are flipping houses. Basically, whenever we buy a house as a real estate investment, we want to fix it up and sell it as fast as possible. The best way to do that is to think of the people buying the house and what will make them really want to live there. So, whenever I’m working on a design for a flip, I’m always thinking about how I can check off as many boxes as possible on a would-be buyer’s wish list.

For almost every homebuyer I’ve ever met, the kitchen and bathrooms are the first priority, but storage comes in a really close third. So, whenever I can, I try to add space to the master bedroom, enlarge closets, and bump out bathrooms. Unfortunately, it’s just hardly ever economically possible to increase the footprint of a property, and sometimes we can’t justify the cost of retro-fitting more storage into an existing space, either.

Storage solutions come in all different forms, though, and you might be surprised at some of the ways you can add space to a home. Here are some of my favorite brilliant solutions that I wish I could offer at the design stage of just about any renovation project.

Basement Crawl Space

Even if the basement is unfinished, a crawl space can provide a lot of extra storage if you design it right. A hatch or trap door with a set of folding stairs or a ladder allows you to get into and out of this space easily. It could be used for storage of seasonal decorations, equipment, or as a beverage cellar.

Under Stairs Options

For two- or split-story homes, stairs are obviously a necessity, but they can also feel like a huge waste of space. However, if you knock out the wall under the stairway, you can build a cozy reading nook or office space with a desk and shelves for books and papers.

Beyond Baskets - Better Design Solutions for Storage

Hallway Bookcases

Your hallway is another place where you may have some untapped storage potential. If I’m working with a hallway that’s wide enough, I love building bookcases into one or both walls. You just have to be careful with the depth of the shelves. No one wants to feel claustrophobic walking down the hall.

Pull-Out Drawers

As a mother, I know the struggles of trying to make countertops accessible to kids. That’s why I love building a stepstool into the bottom drawer of a bathroom or kitchen counter. Then you don’t have to worry about where to put the stool, and kids can wash their own hands and even help in the kitchen.

Above-the-Door Storage

Finally, one of my all-time favorite storage solutions is adding an attractive shelf above a door. With a couple of appealing carved braces, a board cut to length, and a little bit of paint, this addition will beautifully frame the door creating a space to store or display books, pictures, vases and more. It’s a simple hack, but it has a very elegant result. Plus, it allows space to store things out of kids’ reach.

So, when you think of storage solutions for your next design project or for your own home, look beyond baskets and bins. Think about these design solutions and how you could use or tweak them to create elegant, useable storage spaces when you can’t actually increase the floor space of a room or house.

Want to learn more? The New York Institute of Art and Design’s interior design course can help you reach your goals. Request your free course catalog today!


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