At NTS, we have a rule: Things need to have “a place”. For example, if the shoes don’t fit on the shoe rack or the new hobby materials can’t be put away, it’s time to make some decisions — whether that be donating some items or simply holding off from getting anything new.
Even if you’re not a minimalist (perhaps you’re passionate about tchotchkes), you don’t need to be one with clutter, to have to look at all of your things all the time or fight to fit them in a drawer. However, we’re aware that not everyone likes, nor has space for, cumbersome storage units. Dilemma. Barring getting rid of everything and starting fresh (a common fantasy), we have found clever storage to be the best solution.
These NTS homes take clever storage to new heights by getting creative with every inch of available space to make the most of their small footprints:
Under-the-bed storage is a classic. Rather than simply shoving your things under the bed so they disappear, the addition of drawers or a “pop-up” mattress can help keep your items clean, organised, and accessible.
In this Singapore apartment, architect Woon Chung Yen of METRE Architects custom-built a tiered platform that combines elements including the bed, sofa, coffee and dining table, and multiple forms of storage into one striking unit. The clever design — replete with under-bed storage — offers comfort and flexibility of use while maintaining a feeling of lightness in the room.
Another popular trick used by the architects and designers of NTS-featured homes is under-seat or bench storage. By adding storage beneath seating — whether it’s built-in at the dining table or a multi-functional piece by the front door — you can double the functionality of a piece of furniture and tuck some things away.
You might not guess it just by looking at it, but this Hong Kong apartment is an underseat storage star. The deep and comfy sofa, which easily doubles as a daybed, has built-in drawers along the base to house odds and ends like weights or crafting materials. Across the space, self-taught interior designer Daphney Ho of F.A.L WORKS Studio added a curved, booth seating with under-seat storage compartments. By tucking the bench into the corner (beneath a wall-mounted shelving unit, we might add), Ho maximised the footprint while keeping a cosy, inviting atmosphere.
Hold the phone, it’s built-in floor storage. Of course, we wouldn’t recommend attempting this in a rental, and probably not in a pre-existing building either. But, if you are building your very own tiny home (like the one in this episode), built-in floor storage is a truly clever way to tuck away things like tools, sporting equipment, you name it.
Need a versatile space? Try storage on the move. It is a reality that your needs of a space will likely change over time or even from one day to the next. The use of easy-to-move storage systems like the freestanding units in this Melbourne apartment ensures the room can be adapted to meet the needs of the day — and have the added bonus of acting as separators to create distinct, semi-private zones.
Building a platform for the bed or creating another living “zone” is a clever way of creating storage and maximising a floor plan. There are many ways to approach platform storage. This Melbourne home uses a raised platform floor-cum-storage unit to create distinct rooms and declutter all at once, while this Hong Kong apartment added under-foot storage pockets into the platform around the bed.
However, this micro apartment in Sydney really takes platform storage to the extreme (in the best way). By lifting the bed high off the ground on a platform, architect Ashkan Mostaghim was able to create space for a full-size wardrobe, a sofa, and a dining table. Watch the episode to see how the couch and dining table roll out.
In the realm of compact living, the challenge lies in striking a balance between functionality and space efficiency. Clever storage solutions become paramount in making the most of small-footprint homes.
Explore more NTS episodes to discover even more storage tricks.