Luxurious storage solutions with guest blogger Bianca Hall

Our new guest blogger Bianca Hall, creator of French For Pineapple, shares her clever home storage tips with leading interiors PR agency Homestyle PR …

Bianca Hall and one of her bespoke living room units

If you hanker after a calm and uncluttered atmosphere at home, then storage is the first thing to address. Nothing makes a room feel more unkempt and busy, than too many things on display. Don’t get me wrong, I’m no minimalist, but ample, clever storage really can be the difference between chaos and chic.

It’s something I’m still working on myself, years after moving from a home where I had storage pretty much sorted, to a home with next to no storage at all! I’ve become quite obsessed over the years with figuring out ways to add storage that not only looks good, but is as practical as possible, and doesn’t take up too much space.

‘Sometimes… bespoke is the only way to go’

Sometimes off the shelf furniture just doesn’t maximise the available space, and bespoke is the only way to go! The first thing I did when we moved into our current home, was to book a carpenter to build a floor-to-ceiling bookcase in the dining room, in what was a redundant corner. It holds all our books and has cupboards below for hidden storage too.

I also designed bespoke built-in wardrobes for the bedroom which were built around a chimney breast that we couldn’t afford to remove. It contains drawers hidden behind a door for a more sleek and symmetrical look which are actually built into the recess that was once the fireplace! To take full advantage of the ceiling height, we had pull down clothes rails installed so that a second row of clothes, that are used less often, could be hung above the easily accessible lower rails.

Years later, still on my storage mission, I added banquette seating in the kitchen, with cupboards underneath.

Mark Taylor Design bespoke cupboards and Bianca Hall's sideboard

‘Consider the pros and cons of open versus closed storage’

Can you keep those open shelves looking nicely styled and uncluttered, or are you a hopeless case? Be honest with yourself. Perhaps you just need more doors on cupboards than you’d care to admit! It’s good to consider the pros and cons of open versus closed storage.

Personally, I’m a bit of both. I love open shelving to an extent, but I definitely need a tonne of closed storage too, because despite my best intentions I do have hoarding tendencies, and I don’t necessarily want the proof of that on display! I also don’t like having toys always in sight in the living or dining rooms, which is why we have space in several cupboards for them. Even the kids art supplies are hidden in the dining room sideboard.

I love this clever built in cupboard from Mark Taylor Design, with doors on pivoting hinges that slide back into the unit for an uninterrupted view of the normally hidden TV, with additional storage above and below. It’s such a great example of clever, well thought out and well executed storage design.

Mark Taylor Design bespoke TV cupboard and living room alcove unit

Alcoves and less pretty things

Making full use of the entire wall, and incorporating both open shelving and cupboards for less pretty things is a great idea as illustrated so beautifully again by Mark Taylor Design. The often tricky alcove space on either side of the chimney breast are nearly always odd sizes, especially in older homes, so once again, bespoke really comes into it’s own.

After years of never finding the right thing for the awkwardly sized alcoves in the living room, I designed more bespoke units (see top picture), with shelves for display up top, and the television, although still visible, sits neatly within it and the cables are hidden. The cupboards below house the cable box, DVD player, and a surprising amount of toys.

At the end of the day, it’s so easy to just throw everything back into the baskets in the cupboards, and close the doors, and the room transforms from playroom, to grown-up space in minutes.

Roper Rhodes mirrored bathroom cabinet and Laura Ashely modern and traditional under sink storage

Last but not least, the bathroom

The bathroom is a room that often severely lacks good storage (I should know!), and the area under the sink is dead space unless you take advantage of it with a clever, purpose built unit, giving you easy access to all your daily essentials, and then some.

The Laura Ashley Bathroom Collection has a fabulous selection of freestanding units with styles to suit traditional and more contemporary tastes.

The mirror above the bathroom basin is another opportunity to maximise storage opportunities like this from Roper Rhodes. Mirrored cabinets hold a surprising amount, and the shallow depth assures your most used items are always immediately within reach!

With smaller storage, always consider options with dual purposes – for example, an ottoman with drawers or a hinged top to hide away the clutter, or an upholstered blanket box at the end of the bed which not only gives you a place to put your clothes at the end of the day (or to lay out your clothes for the next day if you’re the organised type!), but additional storage for bed linen, as well as a place to sit and ponder the day ahead…