10 Ideas for Utilizing Your Vertical Space

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Home Decor

Don’t let your walls go unused!
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When living in a small space, it’s natural to try and find new ways to store your belongings. Eventually, you will run out of room and need to find new ways to utilize your space. People are starting to invest in outdoor rooms and storage sheds to create more space, but before you do that, consider using your vertical space for storage and design ideas.

10: Stack Your Items

Stacking is a great way to save space and it’s not a new idea. Think of a bunk bed. You can use the space overhead to store items, but getting to them can be a hassle. Planning is key. You can create stackable solutions that sit on top of each other or are attached to a supporting frame for easy access.

You can invest in a stackable washer and dryer or platform beds with under-bed storage. You can even stack occasional tables or shelves. Evaluate your needs and take a look around your local furniture outlet or home improvement store. You’ll be surprised at the number of stackable solutions available.

9: Add Storage

Vertical space is perfect for storage. If your furnishings look dull because you have very few things to draw the eye upward, vertical storage can be a decorative and practical solution. Adding an armoire to your bedroom, an entertainment center to your living room, or a baker’s rack to your kitchen can elongate the look of your room and increase storage space.

TLC Tip

Storage can be found anywhere. Use the space inside your luggage (if you aren’t using it), the area behind the couch, and of course, under the bed.

8: Decorate with Freestanding Shelving


An underused closet is perfect for some freestanding shelves.
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Shelving is perfect for vertical storage and there are many options to choose from. Collapsible or stackable freestanding bookshelves can make outfitting even an oddly shaped room easier. With prefab shelves available in various heights, including floor-to-ceiling, your books, magazines, and albums will be safe and secure without having to store them in the garage or pay for rental storage.

Shelving can be used in various areas of the house, not just on the walls. It can be installed in a linen closet, under stairs, or in a kitchen pantry. The designs for shelves are endless and can be customized to fit your needs and style.

7: Incorporate Loft Beds

Bunk beds have transformed into loft beds, which offer an open space below the top bunk that can be used as a computer workstation, wardrobe, or storage area. Loft beds are perfect for small bedrooms and can add style to the space. Some loft beds even have a tree-house look and include a bottom bed rotated 90 degrees from the top bed. Grown-ups can also enjoy loft beds in small apartments or dorms.

TLC Tip

Before purchasing a large furniture piece like a loft bed, armoire, or entertainment center, use online or software options to plan the perfect layout for your room.

6: Utilize Modular Storage

Modular storage combines prefabricated construction with custom design. While wire shelving is commonly used in closets, modular concepts can be utilized throughout the house. Modular solutions are easy to install and can fit unique needs. They can be used in various areas of the house, including the closet, garage, home office, storage shed, mudroom, attic, and laundry room. Modular solutions can mount to a wall, suspend from a ceiling, or hook over a door.

5: Create a Vertical Garden

A vertical garden is a great alternative to cluttered windowsills. It allows for healthy plants to grow in a smaller space. Hydroponic setups can stack for a wall-mounted column of green, while vines like ivy or pothos can be trained along hooks tacked to a wall or grown in hanging baskets. Houseplants are an affordable and attractive way to filter impurities out of indoor air. A vertical vegetable garden can also produce impressive yields in a small outdoor space.

Fun Facts:

Even if you have a history of killing houseplants, it’s not necessarily because you’re toxic to greenery. There are many indoor plant varieties that can thrive in different environments, so it’s just a matter of finding ones that will flourish in your particular space.

Tip #4: Embrace Open Shelving


Open shelves can help keep your space tidy and organized.
©iStockphoto.com/jmsilva

We’ve already talked about freestanding and modular shelving options, but open shelving can be another great way to keep your home organized. Rather than hiding away your nice dishes and serving bowls, why not display them on open shelves? This way, they can add beauty to your kitchen or dining area while still being easily accessible for your next dinner party.

As you start to think about your possessions as potential decorative collections, you’ll be surprised at the new life you can give to items like leftover yarn or a pile of matchbooks. If you’re worried about displaying unattractive or redundant items, you can always hide them away in decorative boxes or baskets. Floating shelves, wall shelves, and shadow boxes all work well for open shelving, and you can even put them in unexpected places like over a window or in an unused corner. As you get more comfortable with open shelving, you’ll start to appreciate the colors, textures, and shapes of your belongings as you arrange and rearrange them to suit your needs.

Tip #3: Add Art

While we’re used to seeing art displayed at eye level or slightly above or below, there’s no reason why you can’t get creative with where you hang it. Try elevating your artwork to ceiling height, suspending it from the ceiling, or even mounting pieces below waist height for a surprising and delightful effect. Whether it’s modern, traditional, or folk art, it can add character and interest to your space. Consider hanging framed stained glass pieces over unused windows or arranging coordinating framed prints in horizontal rows over tall headboards. There are plenty of ways to make your walls more interesting and appealing.

Fun Facts:

You don’t have to break the bank to find beautiful wall art. Rugs, quilts, plates, plaques, and even framed fabric can all make for attractive and inexpensive artwork.

2: Make an Optical Illusion

If you have a lot of vertical space in your home, it can sometimes feel too empty. While large rooms with high ceilings can look beautiful, they can also seem cold and uninviting. To create a more welcoming atmosphere, try painting your ceiling a darker color than your walls. Avoid creating strong vertical lines with your window treatments and wallpaper. Instead, think horizontally to downplay the height of the room. Add a chair rail, use shorter window treatments, and create strong horizontal lines with shelving and wall art groupings.

1: Reconsider Your Lighting

To make the most of your vertical space, think carefully about your lighting. Instead of using tabletop task lighting that keeps the light low on the walls, try using track lights. Track lighting can update the look of your rooms and make it much easier to change the illumination to make a playroom, family room, or craft room more flexible and functional. These days, track lights don’t look like oversized tin cans anymore, and you don’t necessarily need an electrician to connect them. You can even find fixtures that plug into your existing outlets for a fast and easy installation.

TLC Tip

Need a quick, inexpensive way to make your small space look less cramped? Replace a table lamp with a floor lamp. The taller lamp will redistribute the light upward, eliminating some bulk. The update will also give you more table space.

More Information

Related Articles

  • How to Furnish a Small Space
  • Small Space Design
  • How to Make the Most of a Studio Apartment
  • Decorating and Design
  • 5 Ways to Maximize Bathroom Storage Space

Sources

  • Apartment Therapy. “Making The Most of Your Space Going Vertical.11/30/09. (2/7/11).http://www.apartmenttherapy.com/la/organizing/making-the-most-of-your-space-going-vertical-102698
  • Apartment Therapy. “Small Space Solution: Going Vertical.” 4/29/08. (2/7/11).http://www.apartmenttherapy.com/la/organizing/small-space-solution-going-vertical-049313
  • Boulden, Steve. “Interior Courtyard Design – Designing Vertical Space.” 12/3/06. (2/7/11).http://searchwarp.com/swa114581.htm
  • Hillstrom, Susan Boyle. “The Smart Approach to Small-Space Living.” Federal Marketing Corp. 2007
  • Home Design Find. “Design Dilemma: Making Use of Vertical Space.” 5/4//10. (2/7/11).http://www.homedesignfind.com/how-to-tips-advice/design-dilemma-making-use-of-vertical-space/
  • Life on the Balcony. “Creative Ideas for Taking Advantage of Your Vertical Space.” 12/3/10. (2/7/11).http://lifeonthebalcony.com/creative-ideas-for-taking-advantage-of-your-vertical-space/
  • Loft Bed Station. “Dorm Loft Beds.” Undated. (2/7/11).http://www.loftbedstation.com/Dorm.htm?utm_source=Google&utm_content=1-lft2694-12&gclid=CKr1jonygKcCFYrt7QodKFzKdQ
  • Microliving. “Maximizing Vertical Space Solutions.” 6/15/09. (2/7/11).http://www.micro-living.com/maximizing-vertical-space-solutions/
  • Repair Home. “Home Decor And Decorating Tips: Sprucing Up A Small Space.” Undated. (2/7/11).http://www.repair-home.com/decorating/small-space-ideas.html
  • Stagetecture. “Storage – Using vertical space to save space!” 4/21/10. (2/7/11).http://stagetecture.com/2010/04/storage-vertical-space-bookshelves/
  • Style at Home. “A Fresh Kitchen Facelift.” Undated. (2/7/11).http://www.styleathome.com/kitchen-and-bath/kitchen/a-fresh-kitchen-facelift/a/29260/6
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  • Walton, Stewart and Sally Walton. “The Complete Home Decorator.” Anness Publishing Ltd. 1997
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  • Write in Time. “Upwardly Mobile.” 8/22/04. (2/7/11).http://www.writeintime.com/Art_8_22_04.htm

FAQ

1. What are some creative ways to use vertical space in a small room?

When dealing with limited space, vertical space can be your best friend. Some creative ways to use it include installing floating shelves, using a bookcase as a room divider, hanging plants from the ceiling, and mounting a TV on the wall. You can also opt for tall furniture pieces that take up less floor space, such as a tall dresser or a loft bed.

2. How can I maximize vertical space in my kitchen?

Kitchen cabinets can only hold so much, but there are plenty of ways to use your vertical space to your advantage. Install shelves above your cabinets to store items you don’t use often, hang pots and pans from a ceiling rack, and use a magnetic knife strip on the wall. You can also use a tiered organizer for spices and a hanging fruit basket for produce.

3. What are some ways to make use of vertical space in a home office?

A home office can quickly become cluttered, but you can make use of vertical space to keep things organized. Install shelves above your desk for books and paperwork, use a pegboard for office supplies, and hang a whiteboard or corkboard on the wall for notes and reminders. You can also use a vertical file organizer for incoming and outgoing mail.

4. How can I use vertical space for storage in a bathroom?

Bathrooms are often short on storage space, but vertical space can be a lifesaver. Install a medicine cabinet above the sink, use a towel rack with shelves, and hang a shower caddy from the showerhead. You can also use a tension rod under the sink to hang cleaning supplies, and install a small shelf above the toilet for extra storage.

5. What are some ways to use vertical space in a closet?

A closet can quickly become cluttered, but vertical space can help keep things organized. Install shelves above the hanging rod for shoes and folded clothes, use a hanging closet organizer for accessories, and install hooks on the wall for bags and belts. You can also use a vertical pant hanger for pants and skirts.

6. How can I use vertical space for storage in a garage?

A garage can easily become a dumping ground for clutter, but using vertical space can help keep things organized. Install shelves above the garage door for seasonal items, use a pegboard for tools, and hang bikes from the ceiling. You can also use a vertical garden for gardening tools and install a workbench against the wall.

7. What are some ways to use vertical space in a living room?

A living room can quickly become cluttered with books, magazines, and electronics, but using vertical space can help keep things tidy. Install floating shelves for books and decorative items, use a tall bookcase for storage, and hang a TV on the wall. You can also use a vertical storage ottoman for blankets and pillows.

8. How can I use vertical space in a bedroom?

Bedrooms can be short on storage space, but using vertical space can help keep things organized. Install shelves above the bed for books and decorative items, use a tall dresser for clothing storage, and hang a jewelry organizer on the wall. You can also use a vertical tie rack for ties and scarves.

9. What are some ways to use vertical space in a laundry room?

A laundry room can quickly become cluttered with cleaning supplies and laundry baskets, but using vertical space can help keep things organized. Install shelves above the washer and dryer for detergent and dryer sheets, use a hanging rod for clothes, and hang a drying rack from the ceiling. You can also use a vertical ironing board holder for your ironing board.

10. How can I use vertical space for storage in a pantry?

A pantry can quickly become disorganized, but using vertical space can help keep things tidy. Install shelves from floor to ceiling for food storage, use a hanging organizer for snacks, and install hooks on the wall for bags and utensils. You can also use a vertical can organizer for canned goods and a spice rack on the door for spices.

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