best space saving project?

kathyanddaveJune 4, 2007

Just wondering what everyone's best space saving project in your small house was? With us it was in the kitchen. We had a very typical, very small galley kitchen 8' x 16'. When we decided to remodel I had my husband build a wall and shorten the kitchen to 8' x 13' and put in a pocket door which gave us a 8' x 3' walk in pantry. Our kitchen is a little smaller, but the amount of storage we gained is unbelievable. What have you done to your house to make the best of a small room?

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I don't really know if it's 'space-saving' or not, but we found that using a small spare bedroom for a den is very efficient. We put our modest entertainment center in the closet, and the bi-fold doors can completely cover it up. The couch is a sleeper sofa for overnight guests. Two big benefits- the TV has its own room, so it doesn't bother the rest of the household, and in a small room, you don't have to buy a big, expen$ive TV set!

    Bookmark   June 4, 2007 at 5:28PM
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Best space saving project for us was the kitchen, too. The room is 9x9 with a doorway on one wall to the adjacent laundry/mudroom and doorway on another wall to the hall and living and dining rooms. Had to keep the current footprint of the room because it was the most practical, but custom cabinets allowed us to use the space in the room efficiently. We also had a butler's pantry installed on the end wall in the laundry/mudroom. We carefully weeded out unused kitchen stuff. Actually, I just went through this process again after four years and found I could part with even more things!

Our house has a lot of built-in cabinets and shelving throughout, which is really useful storage-wise, but it is also space saving, too. We added a built-in bookcase at the top of the stairs on the landing under a short curved wall.

As an ongoing project, I have begun organizing and cleaning out all the closets and storage areas in our home. Since it is an older house, it has very little to begin with, but I have found that by weeding out the unnecessary items the house has begun to feel much more spacious.


    Bookmark   June 5, 2007 at 1:01PM
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Our house design has two "bump outs". One is for a build in sofa and the other a built in desk. This saves a lot of floor space and adds interest to the look of the house. One window seat opens and has file cabinet hangers inside. In the LR two window seats have wood storage inside and are accessible from outside. Tom

    Bookmark   June 6, 2007 at 11:39AM
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We also installed a pocket door for our bathroom (it had one of those flimsy folding plastic doors - unacceptable!) I thought it would be an expensive project but it ended up costing about $400 - much less than I expected. Definitely recommend this route if you've got a tight spot!

We didn't install our kitchen cabinets (also a galley)but I like how they go all the way up to the (9 foot) ceiling.

    Bookmark   June 6, 2007 at 4:04PM
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No new earth shattering ideas here but I second previous posters approaches. Build in every bit of storage you can afford.

We also have kitchen cabinets to the top of 9' celings. It was one of those things I was warned over and over against as they would "just end up as wasted space". ROFLMHO. There IS no wasted space in a small home!!! Those spaces are easily reached with a step-stool for things that we use infrequently but are realy important to us. A shocking number of which are kitchen things anyhow.

We have managed to find a number of very nice (low) roll out drawer and cabinet units that fit into hard to reach spots like low eave areas of closets, beneath the lower shelf in the back of the linen closet, and a funny shaped leftover spot between the washer and the wall in our laundry area You can just pull them out to where it's convenient to rummage through them.

I wish I had more of those pull out slides and organizers for my cabinet spaces. I will probably put them in as I can afford it.

    Bookmark   June 7, 2007 at 9:41AM
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Getting rid of stuff is our best idea for space saving, for any house!

We have a 1200 sq ft home, and we have started lightening up in anticipation of moving next year or the year after. Everything that goes makes us feel lighter. When we move, we will gotiate to leave all our outdoor tools and furniture.

    Bookmark   June 7, 2007 at 8:46PM
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In our last house, one problem area was the bathroom. It already had a linen closet, which I used for sheets, blankets, tablecloths, broom, mop, whatever. I needed space for towels and personal items for 3 people. The old, large two-sink vanity had cabinets underneath, which wasted a lot of space. So I got the carpenter (against his better judgment, since he insisted houses with 2-sink baths sell better, like I cared!) to take out one sink and add a linen tower, and the lower cabinets were replaced with 2 stacks of drawers and just one cabinet under the remaining sink. The drawers and the linen tower increased the functionality of that room 1000%. Before, the room was so frustrating; after, it was wonderful. As far as I'm concerned, drawers in bathrooms should be mandated by law! ;)

    Bookmark   June 8, 2007 at 3:33AM
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The wall between our hallway and guest bath is framed with 2x12's. The cabinet maker is making cabinets that will fit into the framing. On each side of the bathroom door there will be 3 stacked cabinets. The lowest and highest open into the hallway and the center one into the bathroom. The surround for the soaker tub in that bath conceals the radiant heat tubes where they exit the house and go to the boiler. The area in that surround will be very warm so the contractor is building a large towel warming drawer into it. Every little bit of space helps. Tom

    Bookmark   June 8, 2007 at 8:35AM
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There are some really good ideas for enhancing small houses in the summer edition of Fine Homebuilding 'Houses'. One designer suggested thinking like a boat designer- they certainly do know how to use every cubic inch of space! Nice, but expen$ive magazine.

    Bookmark   June 10, 2007 at 4:29PM
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When we owned our 940 sqft. cabin, every inch made a difference. One thing we did was install a large pot rack over the Jenn-Aire. It was great and I still miss it to this day. We only had 2 closets (took the third one out during the remodeling to enlarge the laundry and added a 1/2 bath). DH put shelves along 3 walls in the hall closet that held just about everything as far as linens. That closet was about 6' deep by 3' wide. Plenty of room to move around and there were 5 shelves. (Our ceilings were 11'.) We were lucky to have an attic we could stand in and used a portion of it for storage also.

Also if you need furniture make sure coffee tables, end tables, etc. have storage. (One end table became our liquor cabinet and the other stored trays, candles, etc.)

We sold in and now we're in an 1140 sqft. apartment. I have so much space I can't stand it--haha!

    Bookmark   June 13, 2007 at 10:16PM
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Our new stainless kitchen sink has a back drain, and it is installed in a 24" cabinet with a full height door attached to a 6" deep drawer with a half moon routed out in the back to accommodate the plumbing and disposal. In this cabinet drawer, I can fit a large trash can, instant hot tank, kitchen cleaning supplies, and empty milk cartons used for green trash. Because it is a drawer, access is easy. Back drains are fabulous! They don't drain quite as well as centered ones, but our pull-out faucet pushes debris along.

An over the refrigerator cabinet that is 24" deep is great for storing trays, cut boards, cookie sheets, etc. with room for shelves above. The old 12" deep one was impossible to access even with a stool.

Setting shelves close together with minimal head space enables one to store a lot more very cheaply. I found I could add an extra shelf or even two to practically all my upper shelves or tall cabinets.

I also hung a deepish cabinet above a door to store party and picnic goods. I can only access it using a stool, but previously those items were stored in various places and I would lose track of the inventory so I would have no plates, no birthday candles, too many large paper cups, and no napkins. Now, I know where to look.

    Bookmark   June 16, 2007 at 9:52PM
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We stacked the washer and dryer in our small, badly designed laundry closet, leaving room for two 30x30 wall cabinets to be hung one atop the other on the wall beside the machines. These hold all the cleaning, laundry, and pet supplies. We could have fit a third cabinet but we wanted to be able to tuck the litter box for the future cat underneath the cabinets. I think there's room enough for a 12" base cabinet for the dog/cat food, too. With the giant w/d side by side they were so big that they took up the entire room, blocked the doorway and half the window, and the machines were so deep that you couldn't reach a cabinet mounted over them. Stuff just sort of accumulated on top of the machines, which always looked messy and was inefficient for storage. I have ordered wall-mounted tool organizers for the broom, mop, duster, etc. to get those up off the floor. Now the laundry room seems much more relaxed and has a nice traffic pattern, which is pretty impressive for a room less than 5x6'!

Ditto on just plain getting rid of stuff, too.

    Bookmark   September 17, 2008 at 12:45AM
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