HGTV's Hilary Farr Explains How Bulky Furniture Could Be The Real Problem

No matter how large a house is, it seems like finding and maximizing a sufficient amount of storage space always becomes a challenge at some point. In Season 1, Episode 4 of "Tough Love with Hilary Farr," designer Hilary Farr pointed out that a lack of actual space isn't always the issue in many of these cases. The true culprit when it comes to swallowing up your home's space for storage solutions is oversized, bulky furniture pieces.

Bulky furniture can disrupt the natural flow of traffic through your home and encroach on space that could be used for storage. "The house isn't the problem," Farr stated in the episode (via YouTube). "The house, filled with all sorts of incongruent, oversized pieces of furniture; that's the problem." If you frequently find yourself wondering why you can't find enough storage space in your adequately sized home, it may be time to assess the size of your furniture. 

How to upgrade bulky furniture

If your space has been filled to the brim with oversized furniture for years, imagining it with smaller pieces can feel nearly impossible. Start with just one piece. For example, you can save a surprising amount of space simply by replacing your large, overstuffed sectional sofa with a standard sofa that features slim lines and minimal stuffing. If you require more seating in the living room, add a minimal accent chair or two — potentially in another part of the room to create the appeal of two separate seating areas.

Unless you happen to be particularly attached to an intentionally oversized, comfy aesthetic, it can help to learn a little about furniture styles. Embracing a style like Scandinavian, modern, or mid-century modern can make it easier to create a cohesive look when replacing your bulky pieces, and following one of those styles provides guidance for finding the appropriate replacements. All three styles highlight simple, slim, minimal designs without extra bulk.

How to utilize saved space

Once you've upgraded your furniture pieces to ones that are appropriately sized, it will quickly become apparent just how much extra space your oversized furniture was taking up. Your next challenge is to figure out how to utilize that space to create more opportunities for storage. One option — the one chosen by Hilary Farr in the "Tough Love with Hilary Farr" episode — is to install a custom built-in unit.

Opting for a built-in unit allows the exact shape and size of the area to be utilized for maximum storage space. Your contractor can transform a room with a custom built-in bookcase that features specially made cabinets and drawers. However, this option is pricey. According to HomeGuide, built-in shelving, on average, can cost up to $850 per linear foot. Pre-made shelving units, on the other hand, will cost you up to $300 per linear foot on average. Unless your space is very uniquely shaped, it's likely that a pre-made unit will fit your needs and still look great. Either way, your storage problems will be solved.