How To | Stair Landing Spaces

There are always those awkward areas in homes.  Places where builders don't help you out and maximize the space and you're left with unused square footage.  One of the main offenders in this space battle is the staircase landing.  Some staircase landings are exceptionally large and could really be made into useful space.  However, many people just don't know how to address them.  Today we're giving you a few ideas for ways to use that space.

Now a lot of it depends on the size of your landing so use whichever idea best fits your space....but there's a lot to be said for a cozy little window seat/reading nook at the top of the stairs.  It seems like this would be the perfect little greeting to anyone coming up the stairs and it's the perfect spot to set those items you need to bring down the stairs at some point but don't want to do right this second so you need a place to leave it until tomorrow morning... :)  This little window seat can be accomplished by a built-in bench with a cushion and pillows (never forget the pillows!) or a simple freestanding bench or daybed that fits the space well and serves the same purpose!

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If you don't have a large space but want to do something with it, consider adding some built-in shelving.  Everyone could use some extra storage so if a space is going to be un-used, you might as well add some extra shelves, at the very least!

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If you do have a little more area to work with, try setting up a desk and making a little workstation on that landing.  It doesn't have to be overkill...obviously you won't be spending hours and hours there...but it should look inviting and finished.

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If you really only have a wall and no floor space to build out into, use the wall!  Add a few hooks and shelves and create a mid-way mudroom for the kids.  If your home's floor plan has it where the entrance leads straight up the stairs without taking them through the mudroom, leave an area for them on the landing to hang their stuff.  Now, we'd be lying if we said you wouldn't have to go behind them and straighten it up, but it's still better than ending up on the floor, right?!

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Hope that helps!  Just a few quick ideas to make the most out of your space!

Kitchen Secrets II | Storage Opportunities for the End of the Island

We found this article on Houzz and wanted to share it.  Storage is just always a big deal and optimizing it is key for functionality and livability.  It's also nice to have different ways to display things in your kitchen. Changing it up between glass doors and solid doors or exposed shelves is kindof the extent of display in a kitchen because it is so functional.  However, these options in this article put a new little twist on kitchen display.

All of the storage ideas are for the end of the island which is usually just a flat end panel.  It's pretty and finished but not always decorative and oftentimes completely wasted space.  Instead of just letting that area go un-used, consider adding a mini under-the-counter fridge.  This is the perfect location for drinks and is a much more preferred location to get them during a party--it keeps guests out of the main fridge which is probably stuffed full of party food and platters.  One thing to consider, though, if you have a small child like I do, is locking it!  These little under-cabinet mini refrigerators are just their size and wouldn't they just love having access to all the drinks!

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If you don't have a lot of extra depth on the end of your island, consider some shallow shelves that could be used for cook books (or any other kind of book!).  They may have to be leaning instead of stacked, but 3 shallow shelves on counter-height island will probably be just about all the storage you need for books in this era of ipads and tablets.

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If you do have a little more room, extra standard shelving is also another option.  This could be used for decorative items like plants or pretty serveware or it could be used for everyday plates and bowls giving easy access to the kiddos.  It's up to you how you use it but even though this type of storage isn't anything "new" for a kitchen, a little extra never hurts!

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This last option is one of our favorite.  It sort of combines the idea of extra drawer space with more display. The nice thing is, it can be used for anything from magazines to produce.  Just keep in mind, it's on display so you'll want it to look pretty.  This type of pull down drawer display doesn't require a lot of extra depth at the end of your cabinet either.  It may be a little more expensive option that the book shelves but also gives a more finished look.

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If you haven't noticed, we do have a thing for organization!  Tell us more about what you like, though!  If you're interested in kitchen storage or bathroom storage info, help us out and leave a comment so we can give you want you want!  Or, if you'd prefer to read about what's trending in design, we can do that too!  Just let us know!

 

Pro Tips | Closet Storage

Closets can be a pretty big conundrum for many people...which is why closet designers have a job!  Figuring out the best way to layout your hanging storage and then also adding in all the extra for shoes, hats, bags, belts, jewelry...and whatever else you plan to keep in there is not an easy task!  And whether or not you realize it, closets have accessories too.  How do you think storages like "The Container Store" have stayed in business?!  Obviously a closet system is not an inexpensive investment so you're probably not trying to spend a ton of money on the other accessories you'll need.  Which is why we're posting this today!  We're sharing with you some tips from the pros on what sort of closet storage items aren't worth the money!  So remember these items when you're navigating organization world.

First up, the hanger debate!  There are a variety of hangers out there with pros and cons for each.  Obviously, wire hangers are out!  Pointy shoulders and messy closets are not what we're looking for.  Plastic hangers are a step up and little more streamlined but can still be slippery and may not keep clothing in place like you would like.  They're not too thick, though, so you can still maximize hanging space in your closet.  Velvet hangers are nice to keep clothing in place but they have a very thin frame and can sometimes leave shoulder marks.  And then there's the most expensive, wood hangers.  Great for helping clothes keep shape and slippage but they use up a lot of space on the rail.  Based on that info, you decide what hangers are best for you!

Aside from wire hangers, there's only one hanger pros say not to buy and that's the tiered hanger!  For personal experience, we would agree.  In theory, it adds storage space but it makes it extremely difficult to see what's hanging up.  The skirt or pair of pants in the middle just gets left and forgotten because you can barely see it and forget about hanging it back up with everything else still on the hanger!

Pros also say, don't waste money on "convenient" stackable shoe storage.  While it looks great in the adds, it's unnecessary.  All you need is shelving.  If your closet has adjustable shelves, these are a great place for shoes!  Or if it doesn't, bring in a simple adjustable shelf so you can go up with your storage!

While boxes in closets seem nice and do add storage, they're not practical.  For starters, remembering what's inside the box is always a challenge and forget being able to access anything in it if the box is stacked.  If you must use boxes, buy something inexpensive (think IKEA not Container Store) and keep a single row low so it's easily accessible.

Finally, professionals say that cloth lined hampers are great IF the liner is removable and washable!  Any sort of damp towel or pair of clothing that sits in a fabric-lined hamper can grow mold or mildew so it's important to be able to wash the liner.  Breathable is better when it comes to damp, dirty clothes and towels.

We really love a well-organized closet so if you've got pics of yours, share them below!

Christmas Is Over | Where Do I Store All of This Stuff?!

If you're like me, the post-Christmas mess was slightly overwhelming.  Everything from the tree and all of the other Christmas decorations need to come down and be stored away...and then there was all of other new stuff.  Two days after Christmas I literally had to re-do my son's closet...by adding more storage!  I have a garage sale planned for later this month, needless to say and I'm about ready to sell my husband if he brings any other junk into our house!  Do you get it?  Are you there too?  I love a cozy house for the winter but post-Christmas, New Year cleaning also has me wanting everything to just go away.  So today we're talking storage.  Everyone could always use more storage.  Let's face it--we grow into our homes.  We use up every inch of space they give us and then need more.  So here's how you can add it!

Think of places were you already have a piece of furniture but maybe it's not a storage piece---areas like the foyer or hallway console where you might place something decorative.  These are the little corners of your house that can magically become secret storage without anyone realizing  it.  Add a piece of furniture with drawers and you've immediately expanded your storage options!

Make your furniture work for you!  If you have an ottoman but it's not a storage ottman, you're missing out.  Storage ottomans are the best place for those blankets and pillows we use infrequently but want to hold onto....and also work as a fabulous place for the kids' toys to be hidden but still accessible.

Don't forget about baskets either!  Baskets have become increasingly popular in design.  Many designs incorporate them for added texture and something a little earthy.  But don't forget that baskets HOLD STUFF!  These tiny storage miracles should be all over your house.  They're cute and decorative while also being functional.

Don't be afraid to bring furniture pieces into the kitchen.  A big armoire or free standing cabinet that may have previously been used in a family room, could be the perfect thing you need to add storage to your kitchen.  And don't forget about all of that space on top of it either!  Hello!   Can you say, basket storage?!

This isn't our favorite option because it's not as containing, but if you trust yourself to be strict about not letting this area overflow, then you're good.  Screens.  If you've just got that one corner that you can't seem to get under control, a screen may be the piece you need.  If anything, it'll hide the clutter and stop driving you crazy!

What are your storage dilemmas?  And solutions?  We'd love to hear from you!  Comment below!

Interior Function | Closets

Closets are tricky!  Which is why there are so many companies out there that you can hire to customize your closet.  They're trained professionals who come out, measure your clothes, take note of the different quantities (short hanging, long hanging, shoes, etc.), and discuss special options.  They then go back and draw out the closet to scale, taking into consideration your personal style and how you use the space. NOT an easy job!  Closets are personal.  It's where your clothes are stored and where you get dressed and undressed every day.  They matter!  But we get it.  Closet designers can also be expensive.  They're definitely worth it when it comes to bigger closets, but it's also important for you to understand how to customize a closet on your own.  There are a variety of DIY options for closet systems outs there---like IKEA, Martha Stewart, even the generic brands that are carried at Home Depot and Lowes, so it's available for places that might be a secondary closet at a much lower cost IF you can figure out how to plan it!  So today we're going to try to give you a little lesson in closet function in the hopes that you can save a few bucks on the next small closet you need customized.

For starters, linear length matters!  Not just the height of clothes--like long dresses, pants, jackets, etc. but the actual linear length of the bar space your clothes take up when hung.  You don't want to add a custom built-in to your closet only to realize that you don't have enough hanging space for all of your dress shirts.  

Decide on shoe storage first.  There are a number of different options when it comes to shoe storage in closets.  There's shoe cubbies, angled shelves, straight shelves, and drawers.  You may be limited to the type of shoe storage you can incorporate based on the size of your closet but it is something that's important to figure out early on.  Just like hanging space, you'll need to know how many pairs of shoes you have and decide how you want to store them.

Incorporate a seat.  A lot of people think that something like this might be unnecessary but it's very important!  Even if you don't have room for a full bench or chair, a little ottoman can make your life 10 times easier when there's space made for it in the closet.  Just think how much time you'll save by sitting down to put your shoes on IN the closet instead of having to walk to a different part of the room to find a place to sit.  Trust us!  This is a must so plan for it!

Leave a space for a full length mirror.  It is tempting to fill up every single wall with storage space but if you can spare even one little sliver of wall for a mirror, do it!  In the same sense that the seat is necessary in a closet, a mirror is necessary and time-saving as well.  Plus, who doesn't want to be able to give themselves a quick once-over before they head out of the house.

Don't forget the small stuff.  It's easy to spend so much time worrying about all the linear hanging space and shoe storage that you need that you might forget about the smaller items like purses, belts, and jewelry.  These items can take up a lot of space so it's important that they don't get forgotten!  Add some hooks and keep some shelves open because those hats and bags have to go somewhere!

Finally, look at other closets!  If you just haven't really thought about it before but you know you need to make a move, check out some closet ideas online.  There are so many options for closets out there now that you won't come up short in your search!