Wouldn’t it be great if houses grew organically to accommodate a growing family? Until someone invents the Amazing Expanding Rubber House, though, most of us are faced with a choice of moving to a bigger place or making the most of what we’ve got.
Moving is a good option for many people, but not for everyone – you might want to stay where you are for ease of access for work, school or families, or you may not be in a position to afford to move up the property ladder. While building an extension on an existing property can offer the space you need, again it’s not a practical choice for everyone.
Sometimes, you just have to the best you can with the space available – but that might be more practical than you think. Here are some things to think about.
First, consider the basic space you have available. Is there any scope for increasing it? For example, rooms originally designed as box rooms or storage areas may also house boilers, hot water tanks or airing cupboards.
There may be a possibility of replacing old boilers and tanks with new, space efficient combi-boilers, freeing up valuable space and making the room less of an odd shape. Depending on the layout of your house, there may also be an opportunity to steal some space from a hallway or landing, and incorporate fitted cupboards to give more storage without impinging on the original room.
The largest item of furniture in the room will be the bed, so think about how you can minimise the impact on the room space. If you need to get two beds in, bunk beds are space efficient and sometimes offer extra storage as well.
Alternatively, think about a bed that incorporates underbed storage which could save you having to have a separate chest of drawers.
You can also get ‘high sleepers’ which sit off the ground on a frame. The bed itself is accessed via a stepladder (and what child wouldn’t love that?!), and the space underneath it can be used to create a study area, play area or for storage.
Frooti cabin bed, Little Folks Furniture
Perfect for keeping clutter at bay, this full-sized single bed is elevated and offers storage space underneath. A drawer, a handy shelf and two large cupboards with doors to close and say goodbye to mess. £495, available from Little Folks Furniture.
Clamber Doodle kids’ bed, Loaf
This cabin bed not only has lots of storage underneath, but also has a chalk board at the end, ideal for everything from homework to messages. £1,295, available from Loaf.
The difference between a nice bedroom and a messy, crowded boxroom is definitely having enough storage.
If you have a younger child, they won’t necessarily need a lot of space to hang clothes up so go for a small wardrobe and a chest of drawers or storage chest. Hanging rails are ideal for making use of small, awkward corners. Make sure no space is wasted – if you can’t find an off-the-shelf furniture of the right size or shape, a local handyman may be able to build you something bespoke.
Make use of space on the walls and put hooks on the back of the door to hold an overflow of coats or scarves. If you have an ordinary bed with space underneath it then invest in some low baskets or boxes to go underneath.
Modular furniture is a practical choice, as you can change it round as your child grows and needs to use the space differently. If possible, use storage that doubles as something else – for example, chests that are also seats.
Vitra Uten.Silo wall storage unit
When there’s limited storage space on the floor, make the most of wall space instead. This Vitra Uten Silo storage system designed by Dorothee Becke hangs on the wall and provides umpteen slots that can be filled with toys, crayons, pencils and other accessories. Available from John Lewis.
Three drawer wicker storage unit, Sue Ryder
This storage bench would make an ideal toy box, and won’t break the bank at just £69.99 from Sue Ryder.