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Storage For The Bedroom

Updated on April 11, 2012

Storage For The Bedroom

Built-in storage looks neat and leaves more floor area free (important considerations in a tiny bedroom that would look overcrowded with free-standing items) but it can't travel with you if you move and is extremely expensive to have installed. One cheaper solution, that's ideal for an alcove (or wall-to-wall if you need a room-length run of storage), is to fix floor and ceiling tracks and fit sliding doors between. Then you can paint or paper the doors to match your walls and the storage becomes virtually invisible. Alternatively if you need to create an illusion of space, you can buy mirror- fronted doors as in the bedroom opposite, taking care they reflect a gentle and non jumpy scene. Either way allow a front-to-back width of at least 60 cm (2 ft) so clothes hang freely without rubbing against wall or wardrobe doors.

Another cheap and relatively flexible solution is to buy free-standing units and make them look built-in by adding fascia boards to fill any gaps at top and sides. In the dual-purpose
dining room on picture a fascia board above standard wardrobe-and-drawer units has created a svelte run of floor-to-ceiling storage. In fact these units ware the cheapest-of-the cheap and originally came with a white melamine finish and nasty gilt-finish handles. Handles are the weak point of most low-cost storage, but they are easy to replace with something simpler like D-handles. And if you don't want to retain the white melamine finish that the majority of cheaper units come in (worth keeping of course if your walls are white) it's always possible to overprint it. For professional result wet the surface first rubbing it down with a fine waterproof glass paper-just enough to provide key without penetrating the melamine-and use a sheen silk vinyl paint in whatever colour matches your walls.

Even if you have more money to spend and would rather invest in a better quality product it still makes sense to build product it still makes sense to build in free standing units; or buy units from a free-standing range that has been specifically designed to look built in. This way if you move you the built in. This way if you move you have the option of leaving built in storage behind you or taking it with you if need it. And because it's free-standing even if you don't need it in a new bedroom you can separate it into individual units to use elsewhere in the house. After all wardrobe units are really only cupboards and will provide useful storage anywhere.

Interior fittings

How much clothing a run of wardrobe units can pack away depends not so much on the length of the run but how big a use is made of its potential. The largest units inefficiently planned, can simply mean room for a good old rummage; while a smaller unit can hold just as much and have everything within easy reach. The secret lies in interior fittings: knowing which you need and where to put them.

Most wardrobe units come supplied with a top shelf and hanging rail: more with a top shelf and hanging rail: more optional extra. Before buying them, analyze the empty space. If you like separates, or prefer to put shirts on hangers instep of folding them away in drawers, you may only need one unit for full-length storage of items like overcoats and dresses. In this case rather than waste space at the bottom of the other units. you could double their hanging potential by adding another, mid-height rail. If on the other hand you need to store a lot of folded clothes like pullovers and underwear, you could add a mid height shelf with drawers below; even a cheap old free-standing chest of drawers if it isn't too wide from front-to-back. You could add also hanging wire baskets or a tiered shoe rack if you are someone who accumulates masses of footwear.

If you are an intrinsically untidy person, who can reduce the orderly contents of a drawer to chaos in the hunt for just one elusive item, either go for shallow drawers-where things can only be stored single-layer-or choose wire baskets or deeper drawers in clear Perspex. The latter will enable you to glimpse what you're looking for in cross-section.

Free-standing storage

Although a run of modern storage can be papered, painted or even paneled to look perfectly at home in a traditional setting, it can prove unsympathetic in a period room, where the original proportions are all-important. And it can prove disastrous in a bedroom with architectural details like picture rails and cornices, which would get hidden by any floor-to-ceiling arrangement.

Free-standing items have two advantages. They make a bedroom feel more friendly and furnished-and they are instantly portable if you have to move house. indeed, they can provide the perfect solution if you know your present home is so temporary that it's not worth 'building-in' free-standing modern units that a subsequent owner may not need. The bedroom on , for instance, was specifically furnished with a future move in mind-even to preferring rugs to fitted carpet. The pine wardrobe (really just a cupboard with a hanging rail added) and the false-fronted pine coffer with a lift-up lid, cope with storage in an attractive way. Yet if any future home already boasted built-in bedroom storage, both the wardrobe and coffer would provide handsome storage in any other area of the house.

Guest Bedrooms

Few people can afford to leave a spare bedroom spare between guests. But if you intend to make it double as a study, hobby room, or simply a bolt-hole for people fleeing the television, it makes sense to avoid a 'bed roomy' look. So forget frills and fussiness and soft, pretty pastels and go for simpler outlines and more robust colours and textures. If possible, avoid a conventional bed, because its shape and size will dominate the room, and stamp it as primarily for sleeping purposes.

Sofa-beds offer an ideal alternative, because they provide conventional seating during the day, and only turn into a double bed when the need arises. There are three different kinds worth considering if you are looking for an inexpensive sofa-bed. All-foam versions-where the seat unfolds directly onto the floor-are fine for youthful guests but not for the elderly, who might have difficulty getting down to the low level. Wooden or plywood- framed studio couches-where the back drops down level with the seat- are more comfortable for sleeping on than for sitting, because the cushions have to be firm. Japanese futons-where a mattress of calico-covered layers of cotton on a slatted-wood base forms both seat and back when folded-look the most stylish, are available with brightly coloured cotton covers, and could be slept on permanently by people who like a firm bed.

At the expensive end of the market, interior sprung sofa-beds come with either double-action or folding mechanisms. Double-action mechanisms can offer an extra- thick mattress, because it only needs to be folded once, while the rest tucks into the hollow back of the sofa. Folding mechanisms increase the bulk and weight of the sofa without being able to increase the thickness of the mattress, because it needs to be folded twice. If a sofa-bad is likely to be used for long periods at a stretch-or permanently in the case of a bad-sit-aim to buy one that provides proper support and at least a 10 cm (4in) thick mattress.

If you have to make do with a conventional single bad, push it lengthways against the wall and back it with cushions so it looks like a sofa. The most effective way is to make a tailored bedspread with inverted pleats that can fit over the bedclothes, so only the pillows need hiding away in daytime. Then cover square or rectangular cushions with same fabric, add fabric loops, and hang them from a traditional curtain pole fixed to the wall above the bed.
Read more hubs:

The important dining room

The tiny dining room
The beautiful bedroom ideas

Storage for the bedroom
Children's Rooms Interior Designs


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    • tillsontitan profile image

      Mary Craig 

      6 years ago from New York

      Some good ideas here. I loved the 'free standing' storage in the bedroom in picture two. It looks really good and it is so practical.

      Voted up and useful

    • Philipo profile image


      7 years ago from Nigeria

      Nice hub. It actually shows one the various options and the advantages and disadvantages in each. Thanks for sharing.

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      I'm still stuck with the idea of constructing a built-in wardrobe or DIY wardrobe. The former will have space saving and easy to organize things, but latter has the capability of changing style and colors as and when I like. Quite difficult to choose the best in both worlds.


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