As a professional interior designer, I often hear complaints from our clients about problems with clutter and the lack of storage space in our homes today. Several studies have indicated living in a cluttered home can create constant low-grade stress and subtly but steadily drain your energy.
Being in a space characterized by order, tranquility, and a physical manifestation of your tastes, on the other hand, can soothe you and help release stress. Coming home to an orderly home can help you feel like you’re entering a sanctuary away from the pressures of the outside world and create a more beautiful existence for you and your family.
An organized home can save time, money and other resources too. A messy, disorganized home can cost you more than just your inner peace. If you don’t have a ‘home’ for all of your belongings, you spend more time trying to put things away when you’re cleaning up, and waste time looking for items when you need them. There are many other ways your clutter may be draining your resources that you don’t even realize.
While the cost of real estate and energy continue to impact many American’s lives, the need for proper design of lovely and functional, smaller homes is greater than ever. With smaller spaces come larger demands on functional storage and the necessity to stay organized.
Beautiful Furniture Creates Storage
One of the quickest and most fabulous ways to create storage for the home is to purchase beautiful multi-use furniture pieces. From buffets to drum tables, from ottomans to bookcases, the industry has responded to consumer’s taste for functional and attractive storage pieces. Media cabinets and home office furniture has made tremendous inroads and improvements with many styles and finishes from which to specify. The possibilities are limitless, and a professional interior designer has access to pieces which the public will never see in retail furniture stores or online.
Built-Ins Add Value
Another very attractive and value-added storage solution for the home is custom built-in cabinetry. An attractive armoire can be a nice focal point in a room, but sometimes you want your storage to blend into the room and look like a part of the house itself. Built-in cabinetry allows you to achieve this look. Some of the advantages of built-in furniture include:
- Built-ins provide storage in plain sight.
- Built-ins blend in instead of stand out from the interior of your home allowing you to have other focal points such as art or a view. An armoire which sits against a wall and projects 24″ may very well appear “bulkier” than a somewhat shallower cabinet that is fitted to the entire wall.
- Built-ins can provide large quantities of storage because they can use an entire wall without overwhelming the look of the room.
- Built-ins can provide more efficient storage because they can be tailored to fit specific needs. Old stereo equipment was often 18-19″ deep and so with space for cables, backs and doors, one had to build cabinets 22-24″ deep. Now, it’s not uncommon for equipment to be less than 12″ deep, and flat-screen displays are the norm. As a result, you can built very effective cabinets that are only 16-18″ deep.
- The trim (millwork) in your house can be coordinated with the cabinets and crown or base moldings can run right across the cabinets.
- Custom finishes and door styles can be coordinated to your home and make a design statement
- Lighting can also be easily integrated into your built-in cabinet.
Before deciding on your built-ins, we always suggest books, magazines and internet research to our clients. Here are some things to think about:
- What are you going to store? There are some wonderful interior cabinet parts for audio/visual equipment, but you need to know the sizes before you decide on the cabinets. A/V equipment is going to require planning for cabling and ventilation, as well as access.
- What are the materials in your house? Do you have hardwood floors? Are your interior doors stained or painted? You want to use finishes that are already in your house to help your cabinets feel natural and coordinated.
- Using the materials in your house, which of those materials are going to achieve your goals? A full wall of dark oak cabinets is going to look more massive than birch or white cabinets.
- Are the built-ins going into a larger or smaller room? A big room can take a full wall of bookcases, but a smaller room would be better served to have the mass broken up with a possible combination of cabinets and furniture. Open shelves will give more depth to a wall of storage, but will also appear more cluttered. Glass or frosted glass doors may be an appropriate compromise. Varying the depth and height of the cabinets can go a long way towards balancing the overall look.
There are many local cabinet builders that can bid on your project once you and your interior designer decide on the look and basic design. A designer will always find or create an exact door style, obtain a finish sample, draw custom cabinets in AutoCAD and review them with your cabinet builders to ensure you achieve well-coordinated and premium results.
Modular Closets Adapt Through Time
Another great way to create storage in the home is by leveraging well designed modular closet systems. A professionally designed and installed closet can create up to three times more storage than typical builder-installed entry level wire shelving. This type of system is adjustable to meet your ongoing needs, meaning shelving, drawers or hanging spaces can be added or subtracted over time.
Great modular closet systems come in a variety of base materials like laminates or hardwoods. Each option will look and be priced differently. The most popular systems now have a variety of attractive finishes and optional accessories. Locking jewelry drawers, sock drawer dividers, belt and tie racks, pull out wire laundry baskets and beautiful hardware all complete the look and further function of the system.
Make sure to select a reputable company for modular closet systems. Many firms got into the business in the past as their popularity grew with consumers, only to turn around and go out of business. The better companies have showrooms you can visit to gain ideas. The process should include a free design consultation in your home to assess your materials and spaces. A closet designer should provide you a complete set of drawings, finish samples and a quotation. A great closet company will employ installers who respect you and your home. An interior designer can direct you to the best firms from which to obtain bids and oversee the design process to make the most of these systems.
Modular garage storage systems are also gaining in popularity as the garage is a very important storage area for the home. Again select a reputable firm as your vendor, because as your needs change you want your company to be there to help you adjust the systems to meet your changing needs.
Professionals Can Control Clutter
There are individuals specializing in just organizing spaces. This is still an emerging industry with many providers having short histories. Professional organizers now have an industry association with training classes and ethical standards. Do your homework when hiring these types of service providers.
If all else fails, bring in an interior designer. An educated and experienced interior designer can certainly consult and solve home clutter issues. Your interior designer can specify unique furniture, create and source built-in and modular closets, plus provide other creative storage solutions. You’ll never regret investing in good design to bring organization and tranquility to your interior spaces.
Please feel free to contact us via telephone at (317) 357-0155 with any questions about this material or to request more information about our services. Visit the It’s YouTM section on our website at www.jeffsheatsdesigns.com to learn more about the Jeff Sheats Designs, Inc. interior design process. We are your partners in interior design.