WORDS: ANNE SCHAUFFER IMAGES: SHUTTERSTOCK

Speak to any kitchen and bathroom designer like Umhlanga’s Morley Miller, and they’ll come up with a host of stylish storage concepts. “Storage for kitchens and bathrooms is coming of age. Superb quality products in contemporary colours and materials specifically to fit into or onto existing cupboards or units, not only look good, but function brilliantly. Larson Industries produce some really stylish storage options,” Natasha Miller of Morley Miller says.

Storage as decor

For smaller spaces, keep storage off the floor and ideally use the items to be stored as an integral part of the decor. So, if it’s beautiful waffle-weave grey towels, fold or roll them into boxed, cubed or floating shelves – even tubes – or fit them into baskets on those shelves. The towel colours, the type and colour of the wood or melamine, all talk to the look and feel. Nothing is accidental.

Tinks Robinson of Peppergreen Interiors says, “Wooden shelving in various forms is big – floating, hanging, or shelves with attractive forged brackets with rail and hooks beneath.”

A bedroom headboard is a wonderful multipurpose storage unit-cum-side table. Designed around your bed size and bedroom look, custom design it as a wall fixture. Whether you choose a rustic untreated wood unit, or matt or glossy spray-painted surfaces, the unit can combine cubed cupboards with open cubes and shelving, mood lighting and reading lights. A large, slim, plain box in a colour/woodgrain as a headboard, can be very effective, but with side access which includes deep narrow shelves – open or with doors.

Multifunctional furniture

Today, there’s a wide range of beds with superb storage facilities in a range of permutations. You might like the entire mattress section to lift from the empty base or platform – near invisible – or rather include feature shelving and cupboards. It’s ideal for linen and scatter cushions.

For kids’ rooms, cubes and baskets are perfect for holding toys. Units on castors make for easy manoeuvrability, whether under a bed or as an ottoman.

Upholstered ottomans and cubes have long been storage vehicles; so too, says Robinson, “built-in window seats, with hinged seats that open”. If you prefer, day beds or window seats can rather have open or cubed shelving.

Hidden storage

For those tight on space, Robinson suggests raising the floor, so it’s essentially a low wooden platform with a useful gap beneath. “Flat baskets on castors as well as suitcases can be stored in there, while removable front panels disguise the fact that there’s storage space.”

Robinson also suggests converting stairs. “Install drawers where the riser panel is, or the riser panel could be made into a door, allowing space beneath the tread open for storage. Also, utilise your ceiling space by installing a tucked-away ladder or quality pull-stairs – it’s ideal for little used items or any bulk household purchases.”

Quirky or repurposed storage

Spray paint old steamer trunks, a vintage fridge shell or industrial lockers; mount old metal wire baskets or trays on the wall. It’s wonderful to have an element of quirkiness, even in the most traditional of decor spaces.