Best storage hacks for small flats: big ideas for tiny spaces

·8-min read

Whether you rent or own, living in a big city comes with its own unique set of challenges - not in the least space.

While we love nothing more than ogling at optimistic rental adverts of cupboards masquerading as modern studios, the truth of living in a city as great as London is that there’s never quite enough space. Data shows that searches for ‘storage hacks for small apartments’ has increased by 129 per cent over the last 12 months, and a recent study by HIPPO the waste removal specialists, found that over half of us (56 per cent) have rooms in the house that are unusable because of clutter.

So if you’re looking for creative ways to bring order to your space, you’re far from alone.

Organisation - one drawer at a time

There are two kinds of people: the Pinterest perfect hyper-organised folks who have time - or a well paid team - to label everything in their pantry (see: Khloe Kardashian) vs the time poor with busy lives, living minute to minute amongst the chaos. The truth is that the extreme organisation that we see on social media is unattainable and takes a lot of time and effort to keep it looking pristine. So, where to start?

It’s all about baby steps, says Vicky Silverthorn, a professional organiser and author who has sorted the cupboards of high-profile clientele like Lily Allen. “Instead of looking at your home as something to be organised as a whole, start small - like with your sock drawer. It doesn’t take long to organise, and the sense of achievement you’ll feel at having cleared one small space will motivate you to sort out another drawer or cupboard when you have time. Chip away, and after a couple of weeks, you’ll see how far you’ve come.” Once an area starts to look organised, you’re more likely to keep it that way. Vicky agrees, “mess breeds mess”.

Double duty furniture

Aside from introducing a storage system in small homes, “multifunctional living is key. It’s about doubling up the use of a room,” reveals Vicky.

Take your spare bedroom, for instance. Getting a flip up bed like a Murphy design means you have somewhere for guests to sleep, but it can be folded away for the majority of the time and leave the space free to use as a kid’s playroom or a study without having to work around a bed.

Instead of a plain old coffee table, get one that can extend into a desk or full-size dining table. Similarly, opt for a chest of drawers with storage rather than a plain table. Throw in one that will work for your bedside table too and you’ve tripled your space.

With a few ingenious pieces of homeware, you can magic yourself up a little more breathing room. Whether you’re renting, in a houseshare or living alone, there are all sorts of clever ways to maximise your square footage to make it feel positively palatial.

We’ve gathered the best space-saving storage ideas for small homes below.

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Lechi Coat Towel Hook

No space for a hallway coat cupboard, or bathroom woefully short of towel space? Nail this gold-coloured three armed swivel hook into the smallest of wall spaces and whip up storage seemingly from thin air. It’s ideal to hang anywhere you need a little more space, from the kitchen to the garage, bedroom to bathroom. Use wall plugs to minimise damage to surfaces.

Buy now £12.99, Amazon

Nordlux Grant Wall Light, Brass

Lighting is key in any space, big or small but if you’re pushed for space, clear your side tables and other surfaces of bulky lamps by having them installed on the walls. You’ll achieve the same soft ambient glow without the clutter. Nordlux’s spherical wall light looks straight out of a hotel and will add instant glamour beside bathroom cabinets, above beds and over framed artwork in your space.

As with all John Lewis electricals, it comes with a two-year guarantee.

Buy now £45.00, John Lewis

MADE Click Clack Sofa Bed with Storage, Cygnet Grey Weave

Turn your one-bed flat into a two bed with a clever three-seater sofa bed that not only gives you another space on which to sleep, but offers ample storage for extra duvets and pillows underneath too. The grey hue may not be to everyone’s taste, but you can always brighten it up with a colourful throw and some statement cushions - it’s function that matters the most here. A sound investment you’ll be glad you made.

Buy now £575.00, MADE

Hampton Wall Mounted Folding Kitchen Table

Few London flats have the luxury of a room dedicated to dining. Most of us make do with a corner of the kitchen or the living room to eat meals, but if your home is particularly small, filling it with a dining table feels a shame. The answer? One that folds out directly from the wall, giving you a surface when you need it and space when you don’t. This design knocks on the cottagecore aesthetic with oak-effect panels and brass metal details.

Buy now £169.00, JD Williams

Dripex Storage Trolley Cart

Make no mistake, in the interiors world we are living in the age of the bar cart. As fun as it looks to serve yourself happy hour cocktails in your lounge every evening, it’s a luxury few small home owners can afford. Until now.

This ingenious trolley has three shelves to fill with your favourite bottles and is easy to move around at your next house party thanks to the castor wheels and pull handle. The best bit? It folds flat when not in use, fitting behind sofas, in cupboards or that empty space between the fridge and the worktop. Absolute genius.

Also available in blue, pink and white.

Buy now £39.99, Amazon

SPACEKEEPER Storage Trolley 3-Tier Slim Storage Cart

Speaking of that empty space beside the fridge, there are other ways to make the most of this gap too.

A telescopic roll-out trolley can serve as a fantastic larder, giving you space to store spices, oils, condiments and more. Alternatively it’s helpful in the bathroom to display products as well as the living room to keep your remote, snacks and other box set marathon essentials close to hand. Measures: 13 x 61 x 40 cm.

Buy now £19.99, Amazon

Spinningfield VonHaus Black & Cane Trunks

A beautiful set of trunks for all your unsightly junk, in the en vogue rattan that’s been on top of the interiors trend list for years now. Use the spacious interiors to keep blankets, sheets, momentos and more. We like the idea of stacking them on top of each other to form a chic bedside table, adding even more to its functionality.

We’ve also had our heads turned by this classic houndstooth-patterned trunk, £69.99.

Buy now £129.99, VonHaus

H&M Rattan Basket

Short on space? Frankly, who isn’t when living in London? A small but no less chic storage option, H&M’s rattan basket comes with two handles for easy carrying and is lined with contrast black or beige details. Storage that you’ll want to show off.

Measures D35 x H28cm.

Buy now £34.99, H&M

Safina Striped Top Ottoman Storage Bench in Baby Pink Velvet

Score instant style points with this chic blush blanket box which also doubles up as a bench or footstool. Set on ribbed wooden legs, there’s plenty of space to store everything from off-season clothes to towels and spare bedding.

Measures W130 x D45.5 x H48.5cm.

Buy now £139.97, Furniture123

The Cambridge Satchel Company Steamer Trunk

Better known for its cross body bags, The Cambridge Satchel Company offers plenty of smart storage solutions on its website too. This dark green hinged trunk reminds us of the huge boxes that bands use while on tour. It comes with two clasp closures and a lock and key to keep your things safe, and is about as rock and roll as storage gets. Available in a selection of colours.

Buy now £295.00, Cambridge Satchel

Brabantia Foldable Dish Rack, Large - Dark Grey

Once you start thinking about storage, you begin to find opportunities to maximise space everywhere. Even the side of your kitchen sink can work harder with a little help from home solutions company Brabantia. This dish rack offers multiple layers and spaces to dry crockey, cutlery and glasses with a matching drying mat underneath boosting countertop real estate too. It folds away flat, so you can keep it out of sight until you need it.

Buy now £52.99, Robert Dyas

Brabantia Set of 4 Tasty+ Square Stackable Food Canisters

Inspired by Khloe Kardashian’s OTT and extremely organised pantry? Join the club. While we’re not completely convinced by the need to separate croutons by flavour into dedicated jars, you can bring uniformity and order to your kitchen cupboards by using canisters. Decant baking flour, sweets, pasta, rice and more for that Insta-worthy aesthetic.

There’s only one rule: stick to square jars over the trendy round Kilner type as this will make the most of your space. Oh, and Brabantia’s square jars are not only air-tight and hardwearing, but stackable too. Win.

Buy now £36.75, Amazon

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