Well-planned storage adds aesthetically to your scheme and allows you to keep your beautiful space free of clutter. Without adequate and suitable storage, a room becomes disorganised chaos. But there’s more to storage design than you might first imagine, and the process begins at the very start of your design journey.
The difference between storage and display
Everything in your home has its rightful place. You will have prized possessions and visually pleasing objects that you want to display. Other items may be essential but not in themselves attractive. Storage is the space that you create to house the essential goods. Display, on the other hand, draws attention to objects that contribute to design.
Where to begin with storage design
As part of the initial interior design process, you will identify exactly how you use a space and what you need from its design. You should build storage into this conversation. Write a list of every activity that happens in a room and all the associated items that you need to house. Where will you keep your sheet music and the children’s art materials? What about those beautiful champagne flutes and your treasured vinyl collection? How do you want to organise and access items? What do you want to have on display?
Consider storage alongside your lighting scheme
If your budget allows, install integral lighting into your storage. It will help you to find things, and it adds a layer of atmospheric lighting into the room. If your storage combines display, add accent lighting to highlight the features of your showpieces. Fit architectural tubes to the tops of freestanding storage to illuminate an area. Make these decisions alongside your lighting plan so that you can identify your wiring requirements.
Built-in or freestanding?
Should you choose bespoke built-in cabinetry or freestanding pieces? Built-in options will form part of your integral architecture and should be factored into your initial design plan. Built-in storage is generally more costly than freestanding pieces or customised ready-made systems, but if you can accommodate bespoke into your budget, it’s worth every penny.
The joys of built-in cabinetry
The advantages of built-in storage include:
- It is designed specifically for your storage needs
Whatever storage and display requirements you have, you can satisfy them with bespoke cabinetry. Use your space and needs to determine your options. Think about how you can create flexible storage and use every inch of space effectively. Where possible, opt for shelves that can move up and down and drawers with dividers.
- It can improve the proportions of a room
If a room lacks the symmetry that you crave, there’s an opportunity to create it with cabinetry. When designing your space, consider how you would like to improve the room’s proportions and what your storage needs are. You can build cabinetry to streamline a room and add balance in line with the grid. Entire walls can house concealed cupboards, drawers and shelving. With a little imagination, there’s usually a practical storage solution that will enhance the room’s architectural aesthetic.
- It contributes to your overall design scheme
When you have free rein with your cabinetry you can have storage that compliments your design scheme precisely. Take the opportunity to add colour, texture and juxtaposition with special touches such as:
- Leather, vellum or fabric door panels
- Horn handles
- Dark stained wood with mother-of-pearl inlay
Remember that the material you choose for your storage will dictate the tone of the room. Pale ash will render a quite different mood to heavy oak, for example.
- It can combine storage with display
Cabinetry can both show and conceal, so think about your display needs as well as your storage requirements when commissioning the work. You might want integral shelving or alcoves with integrated lighting. Think about the things you would like to hide too. Built-in furniture can camouflage ugly wiring and AV equipment.
The case for free-standing storage
If you don’t have the budget for bespoke, there are plenty of good free-standing designs on the high street. Also, consider the look that you want to achieve. Built-in cabinetry offers a minimalist style while freestanding pieces have a more bohemian and laid-back feel.
Although you can have freestanding storage commissioned, there’s often no need. You can customise ready-made items by painting or staining them, replacing handles and adding lighting. You may even be able to alter door panels and introduce additional materials.
Function and form
Whether you choose built-in or freestanding storage, it should fit with your overall scheme. There’s no place for a purely functional item in design. It will compromise your entire look. Equally, storage that puts form before function will be a constant source of frustration. Identify the functional needs of your storage design first. You can then incorporate materials, colours and textures that build on your scheme.