8 storage ideas for small spaces that are actually useful

storage ideas for small spaces

Tried and tested IKEA small space storage hacks in real homes.

When you don’t have the luxury of space, the mind kicks into high gear to realize all sorts of genius storage ideas to organize and decorate. As they say, necessity is the mother of invention. Limited storage options and getting rid of clutter buildup can make the most interesting IKEA storage hacks.

These IKEA storage ideas for small spaces do not cost a lot and you can adapt them to other areas in your living space. From closets to entryways, above the bed, and forgotten nooks, these ideas to create more storage space actually work!

Load up on these organization tips and IKEA hacks for small spaces.

1. Maximize space behind the door

IKEA STALL shoe cabinet stacked behind door

For her small bedroom, Alicia needed a dresser cabinet with a small footprint. Instead of a regular dresser with drawers, her storage hack was to use the IKEA STÄLL shoe cabinet. The STÄLL shoe storage unit measures less than 7″ deep, exactly all the space she had. And the unit has the advantage of legs only at the front so it can stand flush against the wall, above the baseboard.

IKEA STALL shoe cabinet stacked behind door - storage ideas for small spaces

She assembled four units of the STÄLL and installed them into the wall behind the door. Two of the units were assembled and screwed to the wall as per instructions and two were built without the front legs. These two were stacked on top of the wall units. (I’d recommend screwing these two upper units to the wall as well to avoid any tip-over incidents) It’s a perfect fit for the 7 inches behind the door. Cabinet space that lets you organize your clothes, compartment by compartment!

This small space hack works well for hallway storage too.

~ by Alicia, Long Beach

2. Use compact open shelving for small kitchen storage

storage ideas for small spaces - spice rack shelving unit

I LOVE my teeny-tiny kitchen. But I did have to get creative with kitchen organization ideas to keep it from getting cluttered, without throwing away my stuff and without drilling into the tiles.

I tried a number of different cabinets and storage solutions. Turned out, this DIY shelving unit for spices and condiments is what worked best for me.

Inspired by this video I used 3 small IKEA VARIERA shelves and one of the top parts of the ORDNING dish-drainer left over from my previous hack. I also needed some zip-ties and 2 small nuts to hack this small, sleek spice rack. It doesn’t take up too much counter space. And I made it as tall as I could to take advantage of vertical space.

This VARIERA shelving rack will work as bathroom storage too, as it does in the kitchen. Or in the patio as a rack for small pots of succulents.

Here’s how I hacked my space-saving spice rack

tie the ORDNING dish drainer rack to the VARIERA shelf insert with zip ties

I assembled the two top shelves with the shelf itself upside-down. For the bottom shelf, I assembled it the way it is supposed to be, only I turned the whole thing around. I played a bit with the direction of the legs, to align all the holes together.

Then I used nuts to secure the screws that kept the bottom and middle shelves together. And then attached the ORDNING rack with a few zip-ties (I wanted to avoid using glue) to keep the spices from falling behind the stove.

ORDNING dish drainer rack attached to VARIERA shelf insert

Besides functioning as a guard rail, the ORDNING rack is great for hooks and hangers to hang up my cooking utensils.

Sadly, I don’t have a “Before” picture, but it was just one VARIERA shelf, with all the spices crammed on top of it and below, and the olive oil and salt jars taking up extra space on the countertop in front of the spices.

Now it’s a lot more organized and allows for easy access.

~ by Meira

3. Make use of a forgotten nook for storage

storage ideas for small spaces - filling a nook with ikea DYNAN storage unit

My hubby and I live in a 300 sq. ft. home. While he walked the 200-mile Camino Primitivo in Spain, I designed and built a small space IKEA hack to fill a 6 x 16″ niche in our “living room”. On the far right appears a floor-to-ceiling custom built-in shelving unit. On the left, an efficiency kitchen and laundry room I built from a SUNNERSTA KITCHEN and CART in a 5 x 3 ft. former laundry closet).

I built and installed this in one day. It cost about $100 USD:

Supplies needed:

  • 6 DYNAN wall shelves
  • 6 deep, fat-headed screws for studs
  • 2 VARIERA shelf inserts 11” depth
IKEA DYNAN wall shelf and VARIERA shelf insert

Six DYNAN wall shelf units were stacked, bolted together following the IKEA instructions, and each unit also anchored to a stud in the back wall. Although not designed to stack this high, given it is rammed between three walls and anchored to a stud, it has already survived a 3.8 California earthquake without budging!

The only real hack is cantilevering the shelf out using 11″ deep VARIERA shelving insert shelves (without support legs). The VARIERA shelf piece clicks down into the bottom rear of the DYNAN base. It is secured with a protruding screw and tiny wood block. This keeps the VARIERA shelf from popping up in the back. As I only put objects whose weight is substantially supported by the DYNAN base, it is merely a comforting visual that wider objects have a deeper shelf for support.

storage ideas for small spaces - filling a niche with ikea DYNAN storage unit
small space storage hacks filling a niche with ikea DYNAN storage unit

~ by Sally Martin of zippityglobal

4. Shoe storage idea for small entryway

small space storage hack for shoes

Even in the slimmest of entryway, you can squeeze in a bit of shoe storage. Farida shows us how to create a shoe rack for the tightest of places, using a few IKEA picture ledges and LOSJÖN knobs. The knobs not only add a pop of color but hold the shoes in position. Next to it, she hangs a wire basket (for socks?) off a pair of hooks. This shoe storage idea is perfect for the wall behind the door and doesn’t take up any floor space. See how it’s done.

Further up the wall, you can also add hooks, hangers, and storage bins to hang up and store items such as keys, hats, coats, bags, and all the things you’ll need before you get out of the door.

I recommend a stain-resistant wall paint behind this shoe storage organizer in case of any dirt and scuffing.

5. Rethink your work desk

standing audio work table with KALLAX unit and capita legs to hold up countertop

A home office does not necessarily take up lots of space. If you have standing room only, you can squeeze in a standing desk. You can easily find space to fit one in. Start with a KALLAX 2×2 shelving unit, then suspend a worktop/ butcher block above it with angled CAPITA legs or any other furniture leg of your choice. Above that, stagger another shelf to work as a monitor stand for even more functionality. Use a bar stool when you need to take a break from standing. Get the standing desk tutorial.

6. Add countertop to small bathroom sink

storage ideas for small spaces - extra bathroom countertop space made from IKEA chopping boards

Here’s a clever bathroom storage idea. Add a shelf or countertop where you didn’t have one and instantly increase your storage potential. This IKEA hack used chopping boards but in all honesty, you can use any solid wood shelf to make this.

All you need to do is install the shelves on the wall with L brackets under them, right next to the pedestal sink. And there you have it, a simple shelf for makeup, towels, etc. You’ll still have room under the shelf for a laundry basket or cleaning supplies, even a pedestal sink storage unit from IKEA. See how you can add bathroom counter space even in the smallest of bathrooms.

7. Over the bed storage headboard

storage ideas for small spaces - Over the bed storage bookshelves made using IKEA HYLLIS shelving units

Using the space under the bed is one of the most popular small space IKEA hacks, but Mieke took another route. She need extra storage space in her small bedroom and she wasn’t going to change her bed into a storage bed.

Looking around, the space around and above the bed frame seemed the only possible spot. Her storage solution is to use the IKEA HYLLIS shelving units. She liked how the storage units framed her bed and each cubby is kept clutter-free with storage bins and baskets. All in, it’s a very affordable solution as HYLLIS shelf units cost only $25 each. She recommends using real, solid wood on the overhead shelving. Tutorial for the over the bed storage bookshelves.

8. Above the toilet storage hack

storage ideas for small spaces - over the toilet storage cabinet

Over-the-toilet storage units can be surprisingly pricey. They also didn’t meet Natasha’s needs, as most of them didn’t fit her decor style and were expensive. She also wanted a storage cabinet that looked good with closed storage but with open access to the power outlet located above the toilet.

A tall order but browsing at IKEA, she found the solution in the IVAR shelving unit. She assembled the IVAR side unit with 4 shelves and the cross brace installed. Now, plenty of shelf space for toiletries, etc. For the finishing touch, she sewed curtains to hide the clutter.

However, this IKEA small space storage solution is entirely dependent on the width of your toilet, measure the width and height first then compare with product dimensions/ information on IKEA product site.

If you have more storage ideas or hacks for small spaces, send them here.