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Get serious about storage – guest post by Phil Spencer

Most people decide to move because they want more space. The problem with many new build properties is that while you might be getting more rooms, you’re not neccesarily getting more space. Developers are squeezing as many bedrooms into a property as they can at the expense of storage. The space under the stairs, traditionally used as a storage cupboard, can become a WC or even a home office. This is because storage doesn’t sell houses, but it should!

under stair storage shelves

Source: Apartment Therapy

Over-extending/ developing a property may add value but the cost will be how you live in it. Turning a 3-bedroom house into a 4-bed at the cost of storage space will, in time, drive you crazy. People often forget about storage, it isn’t as exciting as a flashy kitchen, but it’s imperative to a good home.

drawers under the stairs

Source: Ikea

Most people need two types of storage: for essential household items and for clutter.

I despair when there isn’t a cupboard tall enough to house an ironing board or big enough to hide bulky items, like the vacuum cleaner. These essential items need a home. There’s no point turning your under-stairs storage cupboard into a home office if you don’t have anywhere else to store these items.

Of course, when it comes to clutter you could simply de-clutter, but we all have mementos that we want to hang on to. The loft used to be the obvious place to hide the things you can’t bear to throw away, but with the rise of loft conversions for many this is no longer an option. For this reason when you’re developing your property storage shouldn’t be an afterthought. It should be seamlessly integrated, you shouldn’t even know it’s there – that’s the sign of good storage.

door shelves

Source: Inredningsdesigner

clever seemless storage

Source: Perfectlounge

It’s not enough to just dedicate an area or a cupboard to ‘storage’. The key to making the most of your space is well thought through storage with fixtures, fittings and shelves that make the most of the space and house items such as mops, irons and vacuum cleaners efficiently.

In my opinion you can never have too much storage. I find that when buying a house women think about storage more than men do, so if you’re selling your home remember to point out storage to potential buyers. Think about the re-sale of your home, if your potential buyers are young families they will probably have similar storage requirements to you. People like to visualise how they will live in a property and storage is part of that.

cupboard storage idea

Source: Home Design Martha Stewart

There is often a lot of dead space in houses, areas such as above doors and in awkward alcoves where off-the-shelf products don’t tend to fit. Custom built storage solutions can be expensive, but they don’t have to be. The trend for IKEA-hacking has made popular the customisation of off-the-shelf products that can provide you with the clever solution you need at a fraction of the price. To avoid it looking like you’ve hacked away at a piece of IKEA furniture, I would recommend hiring a carpenter to customise the product to fit the space perfectly.

So think twice before you replace that cupboard with a WC or if you’re considering a loft conversion think carefully about replacing and integrating storage!




Phil Spencer

Phil Spencer doesn’t need much of an introduction, he’s TV’s most well-known property presenter, having co-presented Location, Location, Location and Relocation, Relocation for over 10 years. Phil'ls blog posts focus on adding value and advice/ tips for when you're buying or selling your house.

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  1. Surely the biggest problem ahead is for people who wish to have at least 15 cm loft insulation and then cannot put all their stored items on top of it as compacting reduces efficacy. Where are the cheap stands that would fit in between insulation on which boarding could be placed?

    1. The loft insulation required in now 27cm (glasswool) however it is the first 100mm between your ceiling joists that will keep most of heat inside your house. The avoid compacting the second layer of 170mm you would need to raise the joists by 170mm. You can buy stilts from dyi shops that should be suitable for a small boarded section, however using extra joists cross batten to the existing ones will add more structure and strength to your ceiling joists. Using 100mm or 150mm joists will keep your cost down but compact the top layer, however the loss in efficiency of the insulation would be marginal.

  2. New products now exist such as clever engineered beam systems Storefloor still fairly affordable and even available via Amazon! Seems very good if you can do it (I have no connection with them).
    Slightly less overall systems are at but the first seems better.
    Regards @spreadinggreen (twitter)

  3. I wanted to insulate my small loft but still use it for storage which meant still having head-height space. I lined the area behind the tiles (so on the slopey sides) with very thin aluminium-foil type insulation which is about 14 v thin but efficient layers, bought from Screwfix at the suggestion of a surveyor. It was more expensive (about £90 per roll) but I bought it during the sale. I got a builder in to board out the loft properly over the old v thin insulation and fit the new insulation. It took 2 days and cost £400 + materials. The loft is clean, dry, fully useable and the house is toasty! Also if there is any rewiring needed in the future, all there is to move are the original old insulation and the screwed down floor-boards . The temperature in the loft no longer reaches very high or very low levels so a wider range of stuff can be stored up there.

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