Genius Storage Solutions From Home Town's Erin Napier You'll Want To Steal

Erin Napier's HGTV show "Home Town" renovates historic homes in her hometown of Laurel, Mississippi. The hit show has made Erin known for her cozy Southern style with family-friendly designs. Since many of the homes lack storage space, Erin, alongside her husband Ben, has been crafty with clever solutions. The home design guru also doesn't believe you need to lose all your belongings when you renovate. In her interview with House Beautiful, Erin mentions how it's human nature to have homes that look lived in, but that's not a bad thing. "The clutter is what makes our houses personal," she explains.

But that doesn't mean clutter needs to be messy. To keep homes tidy and well-organized, Erin has come up with some genius storage solutions from years of expertise on her show. You'll want to try these ideas for yourself to preserve all your precious belongings without being an eyesore.

Create a convenient spice rack for storage to the stove

On Season 6, Episode 3 of "Home Town," the Napiers had the challenge of renovating a small kitchen in a century-old farmhouse, which meant they needed to get creative with storage solutions. One way they made the most of the space was to add a chic spice storage cabinet around the small stovetop. They built thin shelves on either side of the range and painted them to match the dark tea color of the new cabinets. Now, the owners can easily reach for spices while cooking without needing to open cabinets or drawers. 

You can replicate this look in a few ways. You can purchase a rack like this Manchester Spice Rack from Pottery Barn and install it against an empty wall near your stove. Or, you can craft this simple spice rack like this one from Simple Easy DIY and fit it next to your stove. You'll need wood, dowels, wood glue, polyurethane, and a stain color of your choice to get started. While the Napiers kept their shelves simple, an added dowel creates support so your spices don't slip off the shelves.  

An outdated window valence becomes a wall shelf

In a recent YouTube tutorial, Napier repurposed an old window valance box into a storage cubby that also works as a wall decoration. Erin explains that when working in older houses, many have outdated decor that's tempting to toss out. Instead, Napier suggests that you can "wrap it in pretty fabric, and then it becomes an upholstered shelf or cubby hole that's perfect for a kid's room and is super cute." In the video, Napier uses a plaid fabric to cover the box and holds it in place with a staple gun. The effect is a charming storage option for books, toys, electronics, or anything else you'd like to stash out of sight.

To make your own, you'll need a window valance box, some fabric, shelf brackets, and a staple gun. You can be creative with your fabric choice and find a pattern that complements the current paint color. Or, for more uniformity, go for a solid color that matches the wall for a built-in shelf look.

Create an appliance garage for hidden kitchen storage

While Napier is over the trend of hiding kitchen appliances, she says there's still good reason to keep some of your less-utilized items stored away. When interviewed by HGTV about how she approaches these items, Erin says she prefers to hide what she uses less often out of sight saying, "For us, that's the ice maker and microwave." Erin and Ben have built several variations of appliance garages for guests on "Home Town" to keep kitchens looking clutter-free.

Appliance garages are diverse, as they can be any space that tucks kitchen appliances out of sight. And, while they're a great storage solution, installing an appliance garage is not as quick and easy as you may think. In fact, the Napiers recommend calling in a professional for installing one. But, if you have the skills and are up for the challenge, you can follow a DIY tutorial to build your own.

A Home Town-inspired vintage kitchen island adds versatility

When Erin and her husband Ben renovated their own country home in Laurel, Ben built a slim mahogany work table to serve as their kitchen island. "Doesn't it look like a family heirloom passed down already?" Erin noted in her blog. The star has used the idea of a slim work table with storage underneath as an island several times as well on her show. In one Season 6 episode, Erin uses a dark wood table with a bottom shelf as a functional kitchen island and as a way to contrast the mostly white kitchen. 

The kitchen island is one of the best secrets to adding more storage to your kitchen. A narrow table island provides additional prep space, and storage underneath can be discrete and decorative or open and functional. If you'd like your island to also function as a table, remove the bottom shelf to fit a pair of stools underneath. You can find a slim vintage table by perusing thrift stores or Facebook Marketplace. You can also look to upcycle an old dresser or desk for a truly unique look.

Create a nook like the Napiers for a guest bed and extra storage

During their home renovation, the Napiers took advantage of a comfy nook design feature to create a sleeping space with some extra storage. Erin fit a twin mattress over a storage shelf for an excellent guest bed that doesn't take up precious square footage of the small bedroom. The star shared a photo of the space on her Instagram, with the caption "I love a nook and a sconce." Erin's solution here combined a functional, space-saving idea with a cozy, relaxing vibe.

If your own home doesn't have a carved-out nook space like Erin's, you can still recreate this idea in an empty corner of a room. You can DIY a nook by building a shelving unit and fitting a small mattress or cushions on top, like these custom nook cushions on Etsy. Bedding, pillows, books, and more can fit into cubbies or drawers for a simple storage solution. Then, attach wall sconces and decorate with a patterned quilt for a cozy look like Erin's. 

Add floating shelves to your kitchen to store easy-to-reach items

In Season 3, Episode 12 of "Home Town", the Napiers renovated an old farmhouse with a cramped kitchen. To create more openness without sacrificing storage, Erin decided to add floating shelves to the left of the sink. "You have a little storage, but it's not taking up the precious little space that you've got,"  Erin explains in a YouTube clip of the episode.  A wine glass rack hangs from the bottom floating shelf as an added storage bonus.

To add floating shelves, measure the area where you plan to hang them and shop for coordinating sets with multiple options, like these from Ballard Designs. Then, install them into the studs or using drywall anchors, and fill them with any cooking supplies, spices, or other items you reach for frequently. These have a benefit in addition to functional storage space. You can use them to display plants, cookbooks, and pretty linens to add character to your kitchen.

Use built-under appliances to free up counter space

Erin is a fan of building storage around kitchen appliances. For example, in her own home renovation, Erin surrounded both her refrigerator and microwave with cabinets. Erin takes this concept one step further in Season 5, Episode 6 of "Home Town" when one of her best kitchen design ideas was to add the appliances into the cabinet space underneath the counter.

Appliances under the counter space may seem strange at first, but they can work well in kitchens with limited counter space, much like the one that Erin worked with in this episode. If you want to borrow this idea, you may be facing a partial renovation to alter your cabinets to fit the appliances underneath. Or, you can consider adding open shelving below the countertops as a way to store but not hide your everyday appliances. You can even pair an under-counter appliance with an appliance garage door to keep it out of sight and off the counter. 

Hide dirty laundry with a laundry chute

Laundry chutes have been around for centuries as a way to hide dirty clothes. The trend is slowly making its return as a simple way to keep homes clutter-free. Erin and Ben have installed several laundry chutes in their renovations, such as in Season 6 when Erin added a hidden laundry chute to a bathroom closet. The dirty clothes dropped into a wicker bin below.

A laundry chute can be as simple as Erin's solution, or you can craft one in several other ways. You can use a window chute or a tilt-out chute as a way to move laundry from one room into another on the same floor. Or, you can get more advanced and send your dirties down from the top floor to the bottom. For this DIY, you'll need to create an opening in your floor, to send the clothes downward. 

Use ottomans for storage and extra seating

Napier loves finding storage solutions that are family-friendly, like these ottomans that Erin showed off during an appearance on Today. Erin was asked to find solutions for fitting lots of guests into a home for the holidays, so she demonstrated how easy it is to use ottomans and poufs for both flexible seating and hidden storage. "There's tons of seating, and you can find them with storage and stackable cushions," the designer says on the show.  

Ottomans with lids like this one from Wayfair are great options for conveniently stashing items like throws and blankets. Storage ottomans come in a wide variety of styles, from simple footrests to larger table-sized ottomans. Consider buying a pair of matching storage ottomans for more arrangement options. Or, choose nested ottomans like these from Chic Home, where the smaller ottoman can be stored within the larger one to tuck it away as needed.

A ladder makes for easy blanket storage

In Season 4, Episode 5, Erin helped a woman turn her grandmother's old home into a cozy cottage. With such a small space, storage was a serious issue. However, the high ceilings gave Erin an excellent excuse to repurpose the owner's old wooden ladder. Now, this cottage features an impressive statement piece as well as a functional storage rack. 

A wooden ladder is a simple and smart storage addition to your living room. There are tons of options for blanket ladders, like this one from Wayfair. Or, you can go the upcycle route like Erin and repurpose an old ladder from an antique or thrift store. A single ladder can be spruced up with some sanding and fresh paint to hold all your comfy throws. You can even add shelving across the rungs of a double ladder for more versatility in your storage and display options.

Add a banquette for extra dining seating and storage

In the appearance on Today, Erin and her husband Ben also showcased how a bench can be used for extra seating and storage in a tight dining area. On the show, the couple showed off a dining room banquette like the one in their own home. They opened up the top of the bench to reveal the hidden storage underneath. "You can build them yourself....or you can go to a thrift store and get an old church pew," Ben recommends. 

So, follow the Napier's advice and repurpose an old thrift store find, or purchase a banquette like this one from Pottery Barn with storage cubbies underneath. You could also take the DIY route and make one yourself! You, if you have woodworking skills, you can follow a DIY tutorial to create a custom-fitted banquette with plenty of storage. Then, either leave your banquette free-standing for flexibility, or attach it to the wall for a seamless look.

Create flexible guest room storage and sleeping space

The smallest house Erin has ever worked on came in at a staggering 250 feet, so storage was a major concern. For the bedding option in this small space, the Napiers built a custom sleeper sofa with a bespoke frame and mattress that folds into a couch. "We've figured out a very unique design. It is the only one of these beds in existence," Ben says in a YouTube clip of the Season 7 episode.

In small spaces, it's important to have smart storage, as well as furniture that can serve dual purposes. You don't have to create a custom piece of furniture to reap the benefits of a bed that stows away. Consider a sofa bed with drawers in the bottom like this one from Bed, Bath, & Beyond. That way, you can hide the mattress during the day but still enjoy the added benefit of the accessible storage underneath. 

Build a bookshelf around a fireplace

In one Season 6 renovation, the Napiers noticed the owners had a small bookshelf next to their fireplace. They took the concept one step further in the renovation and created two new bookshelves on either side and extended the shelves up to the ceiling. This solution provides maximum storage with some serious countryside home inspiration. It's great for displaying antiques, heirlooms, and your favorite books while creating a warm, inviting, and cozy atmosphere. 

To replicate this look, you can build matching bookshelves following a tutorial like this one from HGTV. Or you can pop in a simple floor-to-ceiling bookshelf like this one from AllZone that uses a tension mount. Otherwise, you can find two identical bookshelves, like the Billy bookshelf from IKEA, and add trim. Installing crown molding trim above the bookshelf can fill in the gaps to give it a built-in look.