DDH Decorating Ideas

The Importance of Storage by marygilliatt
May 21, 2010, 12:37 pm
Filed under: Decorating, Interior Design, Mary Gilliatt, Rooms | Tags: , ,
Storage with mary Gilliatt

Photo: Bedrooms by Mary Gilliatt

To the dictum that you cannot be too rich or too thin I always like to add the extra phrase  ‘or have too much storage’. For one of the major problems in any home – and particularly any family home – is how to achieve the neat but adequate storage. Even just thinking of the stuff that has to be put away for the average family makes the mind boggle. Just take a look at this list:

Clothes, shoes, coats and raincoats
Cosmetics and bathroom needs
Bed linens and towels
Cleaning equipment
Kitchen utensils, china, glass, tableware, kitchen linens
Push chairs, cots, portable cots, diapers and general baby and childCare necessities
Toys and sporting equipment like bicycles, skis, baseball, golf and tennis needs
Books, cassettes, CD’s, DVD players and DVD’s, videos, magazines and disks of all sorts
Files, personal papers, bills and receipts, stationary
Photographs, photograph albums (not always together, alas)
Brochures, newspaper cuttings, telephone books
General household paraphernalia
Musical instruments and music, and then some.

Storage with mary Gilliatt

Photo: Mary Gilliatt's Home Comforts with Style

However sparse possessions are to begin with they tend to grow with the years, and whether this is for ingrained reasons of thrift or prudence, security or sentimentality, lack of organization, or just  sheer laziness, is of little account.  What is of account is that storage space be given some concise thought as well as a concise budget from the beginning of any makeover, however modest.  And most especially, of course, in any room or any home that in anyway purports to be minimalist. You cannot have any sort of minimalism without the maximum amount of storage space.

Anyone planning on finding neat, good-looking and inconspicuous solutions to the stashing away of most if not all of the above (and its always wise to look ahead to children, if they are not yet in existence, or grandchildren if they are) might find that the following questions will clear the mind:

Should everything be enclosed? (Some people prefer to shut everything away). If not, what can be seen? What can be left out satisfactorily? What will look good on display apart from books, objects, clean pots and pans, casseroles and possibly clean towels on bathroom shelves (if various occupants can be trusted not to rumple them up)?


Photo: Mary Gilliatt's Home Comforts with Style

Is there anything against having the same sort of storage systems in different rooms? The advantage of this is that it provides continuity in a small space. Many ready-made systems have enough permutations to take care of all requirements.

Is a move anticipated in the next few years? (one out of five Americans, after all, are supposed to move every year). If so this will affect decisions on movable (free-standing) or built-in (fixed) storage.

Are there any specific ideas on storage in general? Can foldable clothes: shirts, sweaters, underclothes, papers or toys be stashed behind one of the wire or plastic basket systems behind doors? Or would it be preferable for them to be stowed in traditional closets, drawers, cupboards and filing systems?

What sort of storage will you require in each room? Bedrooms, kitchens, living rooms, children’s rooms, studies or libraries, bathrooms and utility/laundry rooms need storage facilities as a matter of course, but where are the general impedimenta going to be kept?  Tools, luggage, sports equipment, barbecue grills, light bulbs and the household necessities that can be bought more cheaply in bulk?

Photo: Mary Gilliatt's Home Comforts with Style

Photo: Mary Gilliatt's Home Comforts with Style

If storage walls are decided upon as the neatest way of stashing away a multitude of disparate objects in a living room (stereo, cassettes, CD’s, DVD’s, Videos, Files, papers, TV, computer, discs, stationary, books, magazines and so on) how far will this affect the proportions of the room?

If built-in cupboards and bookshelves are preferred (say in a period house), where can they be fitted-in to their best advantage? What corners and recesses could be used? Can cupboards be fitted around a window or windows in a bedroom, with a dressing table surface built-out from a window sill?  Or can closets or bookshelves be built around doors? These are often splendid ideas for saving space.

Can existing storage be improved upon in any way, or can one whole but small room be used as a spacious walk-in closet?

How much conventional storage will have to be bought and how much can be improvised? Cane baskets for drinks, for example; ordinary open shelves on brackets; cloakroom racks on wheels or castors for clothes; filing trays inside cupboards for socks, panty hose, underwear, shirts and sweaters; lidded window seats; an old bureau or desk with capacious drawers for periodicals, games, toys and papers; small, low chests of drawers which will act as Cocktail or side tables as well as storage for incidentals…

It is, of course, impossible to draw up a blueprint for successful storage which will satisfy everybody’s needs. The only certain facts are that more space should be allowed for the purpose than could possibly be imagined, and that any sort of storage should be as much sympathy with the basic proportions and feelings of the room as is tenable.


International Designer Mary Gilliatt


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