Living Large In Small Spaces - 10 Clever Ways to Maximize and Organize Your Space

Thirty-third post in the series 
"Living Large in Small Spaces"

Hello Cottage Friends,

Welcome to another edition of Living Large In Small Spaces.

Today I thought it would be fun to share some nifty space saving/organization ideas and products that help small spaces live larger. (And declutter castles, too.)

No compensation was received for sharing these ideas and products. If you pin any of them, please do so from the original site. 

Ready?  Here we go!

#1 - Pull a wheely.

For a small kitchen where counter and floor space is limited this rolling cart really fits the bill. Roll it out when you need extra prep space and then tuck it back under the counter when you're done. Neat.

#2 - When is a step more than a step?

Our friends at Small House Catalog are brilliant.  This is such a super solution for stowing shoes, boots or garden clogs before entering the house. Conquer the clutter!

Freshly stained deck, door and storage steps
A Stair with a Difference
Small House Catalog

#3 - The cat's meow.

This ingenious built-in stairwell laundry is part of a Montreal loft renovation.  Miss Kitty has her own lounging spot, too.

#4 - A real page turner.

An under-the-stairs library with a place to curl up and read. The only thing I'd add is some storage under the bench. 

See this and more great under the stair ideas here.

cozy nook How to utilize the space under the stairs
Float Project Design & Ideas

#5 - What's under your bed?

This pretty bed is practical, too. The platform has real drawers for storage. So much nicer than pulling out plastic boxes and canvas bags from under the bed (which is what I've done the past 5 years).  

Chunky Wool & Jute Rug - Natural
Pottery Barn

Sawdust Girl has a free tutorial for a DIY version of  this Pottery Barn Queen Size Platform Storage Bed here.

#6 - Think inside the wall.

Claim the space between your wall studs for storage. The Family Handyman has directions for building this wall niche here.

(Our new cottage has room for a built-in wall cabinet next to the shower.  We've blocked out the space between the studs, should we decide to add it later.)

#7 - It's a wrap.

Repurpose a common stool into a movable gift wrapping center. Or how about an umbrella and outdoor wear organizer in the mudroom? Get the tutorial at 2 Little Hooligans here.

Repurposed Stool
2 Little Hooligans

#8 - Here's the skinny.

In tiny bedrooms where room for nightstands can be tight, this repurposed desk really knocks it out of the ballpark. Check out how it was done at Mandy's Sugar Bee Crafts here.
Sugar Bee Crafts

I did something similar in our last home, removing and painting the drawer units from a beat-up 1940's vanity.

#9 - Don't stub your toe.

Your kitchen storage solution just might be hiding behind your cabinet toe kicks.  The Family Handyman has a tutorial for building under-cabinet drawers here.

Toe-kick rollouts
The Family Handyman

#10 - Know when to fold 'em.

For just under $400 you can have a wall tool storage and fold up/down workbench from  

Workbench when you need it.

Workbench & IdealWall Kit

Folds down when not in use.

Workbench & IdealWall Kit

Not up for spending $400? has a DIY version here.

Picture of Make a cheap fold-down workbench
Instructables DIY Fold Down Workbench

Hang a tool peg board above the workbench and you're good to go.

What storage and/or organization challenges do you face in your home? Or maybe you have a tip or two to share with us. 

Do tell. :)

Join me next Saturday for another post in the special series
 Living Large in Small Spaces

See more of the 
Living Large In Small Spaces Series here.

From the comments I've received, many
people have been encouraged by the homes and lives shared here.
If you live in a small space I'd 
love to feature your story, too.
Send me an email and let's collaborate.
(See the "Contact Me" page for my email address.)


  1. Hi Nancy,
    All clever ideas. I really like the library nook under the stairs and the laundry solution/kitty retreat.
    Hope the rain is over and clear skies are ahead for your holiday weekend.

  2. Great ideas... This really appeals to me, simplicity....

  3. Great tips! My house is a non-stop lack of storage dilemma! lol

    Happy Saturday!!

  4. I am in love with that wheeling cabinet. What a fabulous idea! I also have a cut out in the wall...we use if for display as it's in the hallway, so it doesn't really add storage, but it does add interest! My daughter has a bed with drawers from Ikea. It's white breadboard...pretty for me, pj and clothes storage for her! Perfect!

  5. I LoVed all those great tips for organizing and hiding out out sight ideas! Thanks so much for sharing. It's also great in a large know, the more room you have..the more you need spots like that.
    Have a great weekend! Hugs Marg.

  6. Hi Nancy,
    Love that Library area under the steps that is super clever. Also love the garage fold down work area. I pinned that for Terry. Hope you have a great Holiday Week End.

  7. Good evening Nancy! GREAT ideas! Small homes truly give us a chance to be creative. I love those steps/storage space. I wish I could do that for our winter boots but we don't have small steps like that. I think we need to be creative about where we need to store out boots.

    Having a nice spring? We surely are. The garden is looking great! Hugs, Anita

  8. Some great ideas here! I like the stool turned upside down for the wrapping station. The library book shelves are really nice...what a cozy corner that would make! Happy Sunday !

  9. The reading nook under the stairs is fabulous! I have lots of storage in my house but it's all filled up! Actually one of them is a closet in my dining room that has a staircase in it! Must have been a servants stairs at one time and it is just cut off about waist high. The stairs make a nice graduated storage area.

  10. great ideas! i especially like the idea of turning a desk into nightstands. :)

  11. Great tips! I'm always looking for more storage in my small Cottage.

  12. Love this! I would really like to build a house in the 400-600 square foot range.

  13. All great ideas, I love the steps with storage and the ideas for under a staircase.

  14. Hi Nancy, Well the idea that amazes me and that I see many possibilities for, is the upside-down stool caddy. I just might be copying that idea for my art barn, or maybe for an in the house sewing caddy for my hand sewing projects. Very clever!
    Connie :)

  15. Nancy dear such wonderful use of space! Great ideas. Have a lovely weekend. Hugs, Jo

  16. Great ideas . . . all of them!
    I loved the "Under The Stairway Library."

  17. Hi,
    Great ideas. My favorite are #2 and #4!

  18. Great ideas! The library nook under the stairs is my favorite.

  19. All these ideas are so clever. I'm still pulling the plastic containers from under the bed! My absolute favourite is the drawers in the kickboards. Genius!!

  20. We live in a small (about 730 square feet) Craftsman-style bungalow in Missouri, and I'm basically obsessed with maximizing storage so the house doesn't get cluttered. With that in mind, I stumbled across a great idea on Pinterest for a little pull-out pantry in that narrow space between the fridge and the wall. My version looks more utilitarian and less decorative than the one I found on Pinterest, but you get the idea:


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