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Storage Bed

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Look and you shall find. Discovering extra storage space without a major remodel is much easier these days because of the influence of European sensibilities on products and furniture design. There are many more options in the marketplace at all levels of pricing that expand storage space and improve efficiency in your smaller home. The mantra for those who seek more storage might be under, over and inside.

Think about how you can organize certain things under your bed or daybed. For very little money, you might purchase bed risers that lift up an existing box spring and mattress so that you can access a slightly more functional area below the bed. Check out Walmart, Bed, Bath and Beyond, The Container Store or Big Lots where you can spend under $20 for adjustable to rigid riser designs. Once you get the additional space, expect to pay around $110 for a set of five sturdy plastic containers that roll out from under your bed. Look at Target, IKEA or on Amazon.com for ideas. Even a local hardware store or Home Depot offers simple individually sold plastic storage boxes.

You might also consider the purchase of a bed frame that comes with integral storage drawers below the mattresses, such as this elegant design available from Design Within Reach. Designed by Sean Yoo as part of the Matera Collection in 2007, the bed doesn't scream "storage," yet offers six full-extension drawers open by pulling from underneath. A king size model will cost just over $5,000, and a full size is $3,800, making this a higher price solution. But if this piece fits your budget, the sleek and minimal design includes drawers with soft-closing vacuum glides, so they never slam noisily shut.

For an option at a lower price point, consult with Pottery Barn for a full size/queen bed Stratton model with six storage drawers that sell at just under $1,600 in antique white or mahogany stain finish. There are also models that feature warm wicker pull-out baskets. Known as storage beds, the Internet is crawling with options and long standing furniture retailers such as Macy's, Bassett and others that offer choices in varying styles.

Up and over storage solutions generally involve some type of door or wall hanging system, and my favorite is the elfa Door and Wall racks available through the Container Store. You can customize storage with tiny baskets that can create a pantry where none was before. You might use the media rack to hold CDs, DVDs, Blu-ray discs, video games and VHS tapes. The elfa utility allows you to get things off the garage floor or up off the floor of a broom closet. Even a pocket organizer can be hung over a closet door to provide better organization for underwear, jewelry or accessory items such as ties, hats, or belts. Finally, the guts of any drawer or closet might be improved by concentrating on exactly what is stowed inside a storage space.

First, give an honest effort to purging and thinning out what needs to be stored. Next, analyze what might help you the most to best organize. Maybe the best solution is drawers, open shelves, hooks or a combination of all of these devices. The basics of the well designed tradition of Euro cabinets are based on portability, precision, and elimination of wasted space. An ordinary drawer can be transformed into a Euro-style drawer with the addition of drawer organizers. Many styles, from hardy plastic Rubbermaid trays to expandable natural bamboo trays, are available in a variety of prices that are invaluable in organizing small personal items. You drop an insert in and immediately increase efficiency. The same is true for a closet where creating double pole storage and adding shelves will increase your storage space without adding anything to the footprint of a closet. Even stacking storage boxes hidden inside a closed closet can improve organization and increase retrieval time. Nothing is as frustrating as plowing through piles of disjointed "stuff" in a closet or cabinet.

Photo Credit: Design Within Reach

Christine Brun, ASID, is a San Diego-based interior designer and the author of "Small Space Living." Send questions and comments to her by email at christinebrun@sbcglobal.net. To find out more about Christine Brun and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at www.creators.com.

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