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Everyone who’s ever rented or bought their own place, will know that space is expensive. If the space you can afford feels a little too crowded, use these ideas to add non-plastic storage space without losing the furniture look. Remember to visit AAA Paint to add a coat of colour that will blend in with the existing palette.

Skinny book shelves
Build a tall but skinny book shelf of about 10cm deep on the side panel of a cupboard or behind a door. Add a horizontal rod across the open front of each shelf to secure your books, which you can now arrange face-front with their backs flat against the wall.

The rolling spice rack
Give a small, old book case a fresh coat of paint in the colour of your kitchen. Attach a set of dolly wheels to the bottom and a drawer handle to the side. Slide it in between the wall and your fridge for a neatly tucked away pull-out rack for spices, condiments and canned food. The fresh paint look can be further enhanced with patterned adhesive paper on the shelf backs.

As a side note on book cases: You can also add extra surface to your kitchen or dining area by displaying crockery on a humble repainted book case. They are usually not as deep as traditional kitchen cabinets but every bit as sturdy.

The magic of floating shelves
As floating shelves are hung on the wall, they take up zero floor space and double up as décor elements if you do it right.

  • In the kitchen: Get bulky items like bags of flour, sugar, pasta and cereals out of the cupboards by moving them into large clear jars and onto single wooden floating shelves. Repeat the motif with smaller floating shelves on an opposite or adjacent wall and spices in small identical bottles.
  • Above sofas and beds: Books or your collection of pretty vases can be arranged over a sofa. In a young child’s room, the prettiest toys can be arranged above the bed. In an older child’s room, it might be text books, pens and piggy banks. You get the gist.
  • In the bathroom: Clean towels neatly rolled up, bottles of perfume or shampoo and shower gel decanted into identical containers – any of these will be acceptable to display on an open shelf on the wall.
  • Over door frames: Eliminate these dead spaces with floating shelves (or bathroom cabinets with doors, if neatness might be a problem).
  • Awkward corners: Nooks that are too small for furniture but too big to waste can be fitted with triangular corner shelves from top to bottom, perfect for small-item storage or ornament display.

Add crates, baskets and boxes
Save floor and cupboard space by going vertical. Repaint an old book case or install multiple tiers of floating shelves. Now fill the shelves with identical, pretty storage baskets for a stylish look in the bedroom or bathroom. Repainted wooden crates or even large gift boxes with lids can be shelved in the living room or kitchen for neat-looking storage of spare bulbs, cords and plugs.

Sleep on it
The space underneath the bed is often utilized but difficult to keep tidy. Solve the problem by using same-size, same-look wooden crates which you can paint to appear to be part of the base. Sort items like shoes, extra handbags and even extra bedding into the crates. For easy access, fit the crate bottoms with small dolly wheels which can cost as little as R25 each.

* Remember that painting your book cases, shelves and crates will require you to prep the surfaces by cleaning it, sanding it down and applying primer before you start. Ask one of our in-store experts if you need advice.