Storage Hacks Even HGTV Stars Swear By

Storage is a perennial commodity. No matter how much of it you have, it seems like you can always use more. Particularly when closets, shelves, or cabinets are scarce, it's a good idea to use helpful tips to maximize storage space. That's where the advice of trusted professionals comes into play. HGTV stars have seen inside a lot of homes, and they've solved many household problems in the course of their renovations. We've collected some of their best advice to show how you can take your storage solutions to the next level.   

There are many ways you can improve your storage potential at home. You can transform dead space into a usable one, or repurpose an old object into something new. You also may want to conceal a messy storage area, on the one hand, or reveal a stylish one, on the other. You can achieve results with minimal effort, or take on a considerable renovation. The trick is to stay open to inspiration when choosing storage options that work for your home and budget.  

Hide built-in shelves

You could say that the best storage hack of all is to convert unused space into a new liveable space. That's what Dave and Jenny Marrs did when they turned a dusty attic into a movie room. As Dave Marrs said, "This is space that didn't exist before." After they renovated, painted, and furnished this "Fixer to Fabulous" (Season 4, Episode 9) attic, it was ready to serve the family in a new way. "There are a lot of houses that have dead space that can actually be turned into living space," he added.

It's not just the attic that received an upgrade, but the details within it as well. The renovating duo brought order to built-ins when they concealed them by adding doors. Pointing out the new additions to her clients, Jenny Marrs said, "Dave did these little marquees because you have storage here for your movies." Recreating this project is simple enough. Custom cabinet doors can be cut to size and installed over built-in shelves. Alternatively, you can build your own doors from wood boards. While natural or painted wood works fine, you could opt to integrate the door fronts with a room's theme like the theater room.

Add storage under your stairs

A large staircase is an opportunity to add lots of storage space if you're willing to do some renovation. When Dave and Jenny Marrs renovated a Cape Cod in Season 4, Episode 7 of "Fixer to Fabulous," they had to remove a closet to make room for the homeowners' other dream amenities. To make up for lost space, the HGTV couple reclaimed the unused area under the staircase. The newly added slide-out storage drawers function similarly to closets. Fitted with shelves and decked out with baskets, Dave Marrs said on a YouTube clip, "We've got like all the get-up here."

The units glide out by pulling on external hardware. The space is ideal for stowing seasonal items or extra footwear, for grab-and-go access near the front door. When not in use, the shelves can be tucked away. Jenny Marrs said, "And it just goes away clean," indicating that shelves can be pushed into the staircase to create an ordinary-looking wall. Homeowners who already have a staircase with an open area under it don't need to undertake a huge renovation. You can add shoe racks, cabinets, or lockers for a makeshift mudroom. Or, bring in a desk, filing cabinet, and corkboard for a mini office with storage space. 

Remove a closet door

Jasmine Roth had a challenge when she worked with "Help I Wrecked My House" guests, Jess and Rich of Huntington Beach, CA. Namely, she had just a few weeks to revamp their home before their baby was due to be born. Anyone who's short on time or money can add the illusion of space by removing doors, as Roth did when creating this open closet. While this trick doesn't add inches to the room, it can make the space work harder by keeping all of the storage readily accessible. Eliminating the risk of doors creaking or slamming, and waking up the baby, is also a plus. 

To recreate the look, remove the door and hinges. Fill any holes left behind with wood filler, then paint the trim. To keep the closet from looking unfinished, consider how your decorating choices can act as an accent to the rest of the room. Roth said, "If I can put a little bit of pattern in there, maybe some color, I think it's going to make it stand out." After she added some wallpaper, it certainly did. Peel-and-stick wallpaper is easy to apply and can be taken down when a child outgrows the look. 

Make your own modular shoe storage with PVC pipes

Egypt Sherrod and Mike Jackson, of "Married to Real Estate," presented this mudroom storage idea on The Drew Barrymore Show. Sherrod said, "So we have created shoe storage cubbies out of PVC pipes. Literally six-inch PVC pipes, wrapped them creatively with... stick-on wallpaper to give you this look." Sherrod added, "No one can ever have enough storage. So you can make this as large as you want, just add more, as small as you want, as high. You can even do abstract designs with it because, look at this. They don't move!" 

Mike showed viewers how to recreate the storage solution. He said, "PVC usually comes precut, right, usually at 24 inches. So at your big box, you can have them cut it for you to the size that you need." He also pointed out that cutting PVC pipes results in jagged edges, so you should sand those until smooth. Then, adhere the sticky end of peel-and-stick wallpaper to the PVC. Once it's lined up, you can roll it across the surface, slowly removing the backing as you go. Once the wallpaper is fully applied, double-sided tape is added in order to stick the pipes together. If you have any leftover materials from this project, you can find many other ways to reuse PVC pipe.

Get your storage off the floor

You may already know that using wall space for storage is a good idea, especially in rooms where square footage is scarce. For instance, a well-placed shelf or wall hooks come in handy in an entryway that lacks the space for a closet. Sarah Richardson, of "Sarah's House", "Real Potential", and other HGTV shows, went above and beyond with this wall storage idea. In addition to adding the aforementioned shelf and hooks, she also installed IKEA cabinets in an interesting way.

As Richardson explained on her YouTube channel, "Maybe you want to think about wall-mounted storage because then you still have the opportunity, you can tuck a little pair of shoes underneath it." She went on to add, "You can float it off the ground. It makes it easy to clean the cabinets here in our little entry area." 

The idea for the project came naturally to Richardson, who had purchased the cabinets for a different purpose initially. "I bought [the cabinets] to use elsewhere and then realized that I could repurpose them. I've stacked one on top of another, and so we get full-height storage." The shelves are narrow enough to fit neatly behind the door when opened. When recreating this look, you can opt for cabinets from Ikea or other big box stores. Or, check resale and architectural salvage shops for old cabinets and lockers. 

Upholster old decor

Repurposed storage ideas can be found in unlikely places, as Erin Napier, of "Home Town," proves in a short segment on YouTube. Newly-made and well-built storage units can be expensive. Meanwhile, existing decorative elements are often durable. Napier said, "A lot of older houses have really outdated decor that you might be tempted to throw away." Rather than wasting the potential of these materials, Napier said, "You can take it down, wrap it in pretty fabric, and then it becomes an upholstered shelf or cubbyhole that's perfect for a kid's room and is super cute."

Follow Napier's lead when recreating this project by laying down some yards of fabric in your choice of pattern or color. If you have an old valance box, as she did, set it on top of the fabric, front-side down. Of course, you can use other decor items that can be fixed to the wall, instead. Enlisting the help of another person, if needed, wrap the fabric around the back of the piece. Then, secure the wrapped fabric with a staple gun. Your creation could be installed in a game room, den, or whatever room you prefer. Depending on the piece's shape, it could be used for book storage, toy storage, or other items worthy of display.

Add a plate rack

Open shelves are frequently featured in Joanna Gaines' kitchen renovations. That said, there are plenty of people who are reluctant to take the plunge, no matter how convenient they may be. For those who don't want to commit to open shelving but like the idea of keeping daily dishes accessible, there's always the plate rack. Plate racks are not new, by any means, and they can still be found in older homes. That said, in more recent years, you may have seen them included in newer kitchen remodels. Plate racks have been featured in Gaines' creations, including the one she completed in "Fixer Upper" Season 5, Episode 14. 

Gaines said on her Magnolia blog, "I love the nostalgia of a plate rack... It's similar to open shelving in its functionality because it keeps your go-to dinner plates close at hand. This is a great option if you like the idea of open shelves, but aren't excited by the idea of styling them." You can integrate a plate rack into your cabinetry or purchase a standalone option. You can even DIY your own, like this repurposed window shutter that was transformed into a plate rack. Keeping your dishes on display also frees up room in your cabinets for other items.