Expert Advice: 5 Ways to Turn Unused Spaces Into Functional Storage

Check for open nooks and utilize these


You've probably heard it a couple of times, but maximizing open spaces and unused areas at home can help you achieve a neat and organized haven. During your downtime at home, do an inspection and check the nooks and crannies under your bed and tables, and even the space above your cabinets. Make use of these by adding baskets, storage boxes, and individual drawers. Here are tips and ideas to guide you:

Main photos from: A Beautiful Mess and Designspiration.

Do not leave corners empty.

Make use of corner cabinets, pull out storage, or additional shelving. Weird corners and niches in your home can be used as storage to maximize use of space. Add custom-made shelving units that fit those crevices and install doors to cover niches on your wall. Short drawers or small cabinets could also be of use to hold small cleaning materials, linens, or even shoes—whichever fits the use of the area concerned.

READ: 3 Ways to Utilize Corner Shelves

Photo from A Beautiful Mess.

Use the space under your stairs.

This area is perfect to store your shoes and luggages. Measure heights of your shoes and bags to be able to plan shelving wisely and maximize space.

RL Tip: You may want to opt for louver doors for ventilation. 

Photo from Home Decor.

Make use of your walls.

A number of shelves can be used to fill a wall to hold books and storage boxes. Doing so enables you to have a feature wall as well—just make sure to style your shelves appropriately.

Photo from Designspiration.

Maximize the area below the bathroom sink.

It can be used to hold cleaning materials or your bath items like a basin and a dipper. It's best if a counter and cabinet are built below the existing sink, however, if this is not possible, there are plastic trollies available which can serve the same purpose.

Photo from Organized by O'Dell.

Invest in storage accessories.

Notice that for some cabinets, you're not able to maximize the total width available. Over the Door racks and hooks can instantly multiply your existing storage space. Storage hacks include installing hooks on your kitchen cabinet doors to hold your pot covers. Meanwhile, Over the Door kitchen wire baskets can be used to hold cleaning materials or pot holders and dish towels. For wardrobes, hooks on doors can hold your bags, belts, or accessories.

Photo from Pinterest via Dani Bauman.

Interior designer Vera Villarosa-Orila is an alumna of the University of the Philippines and is one of the go-to designers for the Real Living Makeovers. You can get in touch with her through e-mail: vera.villarosa[at]



Do you have questions or concerns about your home's layout, furniture, and color scheme? Send your questions to reallivingonline[at] with the subject: Expert Advice. We might answer and feature your queries online.

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