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Smart Ways to Use Furniture to Add Storage (and Structure!) to an Open-Plan Space

(Image credit: Martha Stewart)

Although open-plan apartments come with plenty of benefits: soaring ceilings, better sound, and lots of natural light—they also make hiding your stuff from plain sight pretty hard. That's why it pays to know what kinds of furnishings offer up some additional storage space, too.

To help you make the most of your lofty layout, I've rounded up nine ways you can use furniture to create more storage room. From wall beds to a do-it-yourself room divider, here's how to make your open-plan space work for you.

Create an entryway

Who knew you could turn your doorway into a proper entryway with nothing more than a bookshelf? Whether you opt for an oversized bookcase—like Martha Stewart did above with a 4-by-4 IKEA KALLAX—or a mudroom-style organizer, it's a great way to carve out a unique space while creating extra storage room.

(Image credit: Overstock) Devise a room (or two) with a divider

Believe it or not, you don't actually need walls to have your own room—and storage—in your open space. Multifunctional room dividers, especially ones with lots of built-in shelves like this one from Overstock, allow you to construct defined spaces throughout your home (and create some fun hiding places).

(Image credit: Home Depot) Think vertically

Tall ceilings mean you can invest in super tall storage pieces, such as wall cabinets and other wardrobe-style units. Consider a closed number to make an empty space seem fuller, or something backless if you want to keep things ethereal. We dig this sky-high shoe cabinet from Home Depot (for more than just storing shoes).

(Image credit: West Elm) Invest in pieces with hidden storage

Open floor plans allow for all kinds of multifunctional furnishings, particularly ones that can double as storage hubs. Invest in chairs, ottomans, and even coffee tables with hidden storage room and stash your necessities in privacy and style. The coffee table above is from West Elm.

(Image credit: Wayfair)

Make room for wall beds and sleeper sofas

No guest room? No problem. When you're working with an open floor plan, pieces of foldout furniture (i.e. ones with hidden mattresses or bedframes) are perfect for forging an impromptu bedroom. It's pricey, but the Murphy bed unit above from Wayfair will make your four walls feel like home.

(Image credit: Urban Outfitters) Use clothing racks in lieu of a closet

Forget that your closet is lacking in size, you have a whole a dang loft to devise more storage space. Open spaces offer ample opportunity for cool standing, leaning and wall-mounted racks—meaning you can score tons of extra room to hang clothes (no walk-in closet necessary). I love the rack above from Urban Outfitters, but you can find even more of our picks right here.

The Best Freestanding Wardrobes and Clothes Racks

If you're living in a space with a teeny tiny closet (or no closet at all), that's no reason to fret. A freestanding wardrobe or clothing rack can provide a home for all your…


(Image credit: Hayneedle) Folding screens are your friends...

Much like a multifunctional room divider, folding panels with shelves are a clever way to carve out private spaces and storage room in your studio. Along with all of the stylish options the web has to offer (the one above is from Hayneedle), there are loads of online DIY tutorials just begging to be adorned with shelves and hooks to transform your apartment.

How To Make a Quick & Easy Folding Room Screen

Privacy screens are like folding sculptures, both visually interesting as well as functional. In an outside space, they are a buffer between you and the neighbors, or can block…


(Image credit: CB2) ...And so is anything wall-mountable

Whether it's a chic closed cabinet or floor-to-ceiling floating shelves, wall-mounted storage is the perfect way to best take advantage of all your open wall space. Start by adding a few near your bed or closet to store your unmentionables and then add accordingly throughout the rest of your place. The photo above from CB2 features some smart wall-mount storage, like the white Hyde cabinets and this corner hanging bar.

(Image credit: Lowes) Build your own multifunctional furnishing

When all else fails, you can always make your very own multipurpose furnishing—like this DIY modular room divider and bench tutorial above by Lowes—to suit your one-of-a-kind open layout. Pinterest is also brimming with crafty ideas, so grab your trusty toolbox (or handyman) and get to work!

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