Tiny house living has a number of appeals: It is environmentally friendly and cost effective. Smaller spaces are easier to customize, and if your house has wheels on it, you can move it anywhere you want to live.
But it certainly comes with its fair share of challenges, one of which is obvious: finding space for all of your stuff—and most of all, just making space! After all, you do not want odds and ends everywhere. That creates an appearance of clutter. Instead, you want plenty of open room to move around in so you feel like you can breathe.
There are a few approaches to solving this problem through tiny house design. Wide open windows and doors and movable walls make it possible to integrate the inside of the home with the outside environment. Vertical construction allows for spacious interiors which still fit in small lots. And then of course there is clever storage.
And that is what I want to focus on today—elegant and unexpected storage solutions which allow for dual functionality and which maintain an open, airy feel inside even the tiniest of homes. Let’s check out 40 genius storage ideas which are perfect for your tiny home—or any other cramped living space such as a small studio apartment or a compact motorhome!
1. Find clever ways to let the light in.
Speaking of custom furniture, this set of cubbies and drawers is awesome because it is constructed around the window. This is genius, because most builders would simply have covered the window entirely, or looked for a window-less wall to build the cubbies. But there is no reason not to leave the window exposed; it still forms a perfectly usable shelf, and it lets the light in.
2. These A-frame beam shelves integrate structural reinforcement with storage.
Check out this tiny A-frame dwelling. Here is a shot of the kitchen where you can see the beams supporting the structure are also serving as shelves.
3. Open overhead shelves create a sense of openness.
This kitchen includes a wonderful concept for tiny house storage—full overhead kitchen cabinets, except that these cabinets have no walls! They are simply open cubes. This idea works on a couple of levels. First of all, you can see right through the shelves, so they do not intrude as much on the sense of openness as standard kitchen cabinets would. Second, you can grab what you need at a glance without bothering with doors!
4. Use both sides of your shelves.
When you look at a shelf, you think about everything you can put on it, but do you ever wonder what you could fit under it? It is easy to think about a plank of wood as a solitary surface, but in reality every plank of wood has two surfaces—a top and a bottom. Here is a great way to maximize your kitchen storage space!
5. Under-the-bench storage saves space and offers convenience.
This is a room inside the Cedar Mountain Tiny House built by New Frontier Tiny Homes (best known for the Alpha Tiny House). Notice that at first glance this looks just like an ordinary bench. But if you pull up the seat, you will find that it doubles as a storage container.
6. Modular furniture is the ultimate adaptable solution.
One of the smartest ideas I have seen for tiny house storage comes from Pin-Up Houses. Check out these little modules. You can push them around the room as needed, so you can make a bed or a couch or a bench out of them. Alternately, you can take the cushions off of them and stack them up along a wall. Each of them is hollow inside, so you can fill them up with your stuff. As your needs change, your storage can be rearranged to accommodate them. Very cool!
7. Roll this cabinet in or out as you need it.
Now here is a clever idea I haven’t seen before. Check out this desk in Vina’s Tiny House. You can see that there is a ton of storage space here, but I want to draw your attention to the cabinet to the right of the chair. Notice the wheels on the bottom. This is a roll-in cabinet! So you can push it out of the way completely when you don’t need to access it. Now that’s what I call genius tiny house storage!
8. Cabinets against the shower create more storage space in the bathroom.
Trying to find room for a full bathroom complete with a working shower in a tiny home is tough. Actually finding space for a bath is even more impressive. But what really is awesome about this bathroom is that even with the full bathtub, there is room for shelving—against the side of the tub! This is how you make small spaces work!
9. Storage cabinets under the stairs are a tiny house mainstay.
Okay, so this is the most ubiquitous form of tiny house storage in the world. Seriously, if you start looking at tiny house blogs, you will see these in almost every house you look at. But that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t showcase it. It’s a genius idea which saves a ton of space, and architects really should start using it in all houses.
10. This toilet is built into a bench.
This is a great idea because not only does the bench construction make the toilet more aesthetically pleasing (it just blends into the bathroom décor), but it provides you with some space to either side where you can set other items.
11. Keep your shelving high—and don’t forget about fold-down beds.
One great tiny house storage idea which works well in any small dwelling is high shelving. When you first glance at this photo, you do not even really notice the bookshelf—it is completely out of the way. But standing on the bench, you can still reach the books. Also notice what seems to be a fold-down bed. During the daytime it can be pushed up against the wall. While fold-down beds like this have been around for ages, a lot of people forget about them.
12. Replace walls with cabinets.
If you are building a tiny house, there is no reason to let any wall space go to waste. As you can see, almost the entirety of this wall is made up of cabinets of various sizes. This allows for ample storage space and keeps the floor of the room clear and open. If you already have a home, you can always add in more cabinets to increase your storage space.
13. Implement storage under the couch.
I am loving all the storage space underneath these couches! Those drawers offer plenty of room, and eliminate the need for a lot of shelving.
14. Use hanging storage solutions in the kitchen.
Look at the pots and pans hanging from the ceiling, not to mention all the mugs which are hanging underneath that shelf in the background. These are all items which you don’t need to find a space for inside a cabinet or on top of a shelf. Also check out the clever wine bottle storage to the left. Pretty cool!
15. Make use of baskets and bins.
Sometimes you have shelves without drawers. There are cases where you might want to use them just as they are, but in other situations it makes a lot more sense to purchase some bins or baskets. Why? You can stuff a lot more inside them without making a mess. It keeps everything neat, and it lets you store more on your shelves.
16. Here is another way to do under-the-couch storage.
Previously I showed you some nice under-the-sofa storage drawers. Here is another way you could do it—under-the-couch cubbies! I like this idea for a couple of reasons. First of all, the cubbies provide you with more separate storage compartments, which can help you stay organized. Secondly, I like how the sofa is raised higher off the floor; there is no reason not to do this, and it provides you with even more storage space!
17. Check out this awesome raised bed.
This idea comes from the same house as the one above. As you can see, this bed is raised up off the ground, and the space underneath it is left wide open. This is similar to the high construction of beds you find in college dorms. There is a ton of space underneath the bed, so you can use it however you want.
18. These drawers conceal a lot of surprising storage space!
Here is a storage system with drawers that pull out from under a bed. These drawers are really long, spanning the entire length of the bed. They are fast and easy to pull out, and they give you access to the entire space under the bed.
19. Leave room under the stairs for a closet.
I’ve already shared with you the tiny house convention of putting storage compartments underneath the stairs, but this often leads to a missed opportunity. Instead of creating nothing but shelves underneath the stairs, why not leave a much larger space under one of the higher steps which can function as a closet?
20. Here is another excellent example of modular cubes.
While I shared the concept of modular cubes with you earlier, I can’t help but show you another awesome example. Check out some of the configurations you can make using cubes—all of which have storage inside!
21. Install a bar which you can hang cookware and utensils from.
When you are installing kitchen cabinets, it is easy to forget that there are other options for storing your cookware and utensils. One simple idea which offers you versatile and unobtrusive storage is this: simply install a rod on one of your walls. You can hang anything you want from it. It takes up almost no space on its own, so when it isn’t in use, you will hardly notice it.
22. Use modules to create an expandable guest bed.
Yep, the modules are back, but this is such a cool example! These modules can be moved around to assemble the perfect guest bed.
23. Hide more storage under the floorboards.
A lot of tiny house storage ideas require you to think ahead while you are building, so they may not be applicable if you already live in a finished home or apartment. If you are planning construction, though, put some thought into spaces where you can conceal additional storage underneath your floorboards.
24. Add shelving under your sink.
The shelving isn’t being used here, but you can see how clever it was to install it underneath the sink in the bathroom. True, you could go with cabinets, but the long, open shelves seem to better utilize the available space.
25. Raise up your bed if you have to.
Don’t have a raised bed? There is no reason to go out and spend money on a new one when you can simply modify the one you already own. Here is an example of a bed which was raised up on some concrete blocks. The blocks are stable enough to hold the bed, but happen to be hollow. This means they can be used as little storage cubbies.
26. Use clever pull-out storage in your bathroom.
Wish you had room for an extra cabinet in your bathroom? Maybe you do, and just don’t realize it. This clever storage cabinet is wedged into a spot in a master bathroom which would usually be wasted.
27. Hide your toilet plunger in the wall.
One of the messiest spots in my bathroom is where I have crammed my toilet plunger, toilet bowl cleaner, and cleaning brush all in a pile. I’ve always thought it would be amazing if there were some way that I could get them out of sight, but in my tiny bathroom I thought that was impossible—until now. Check out this plunger storage cabinet that you can hide inside a wall!
28. Check out this gorgeous sub-floor storage in the loft of the Shenandoah Tiny House.
I have shown you some examples of storage underneath floorboards, but this has to be one of the finest I have seen yet. This whole video is well worth watching, but you can jump to 1:57 to check out some amazing under-the-floor loft storage in a tiny house bedroom. These storage compartments are huge, and totally eliminate the need for bedroom cabinets. That leaves all that space free, preventing crowding in a space which would generally feel claustrophobic if you packed it full of furnishings!
29. Put in storage between your studs.
This impressive storage cabinet is wedged between two studs in a wall. The long thin design makes it possible to fit the cabinet between the studs and also makes it an ideal spot to store mops, brooms, and other cleaning supplies.
30. Conceal storage in your spiral staircase.
Here is a take on staircase storage I haven’t seen before! Spiral staircases are becoming quite common in tiny houses, but I have never seen one utilized for storage until now. Each of these steps has a storage compartment which you can pull out on the reverse side of the staircase, and as you can see, they are quite roomy.
31. Purchase a bathtub with storage compartments.
Another easy way to integrate storage into your tiny bathroom is to purchase a tub which includes storage compartments. You can use these for bath supplies, towels, books, and more. Usually they are considered luxury items, so they do not come cheap, but they do a lot to conserve space!
32. Install cabinets which fit your space.
When you live in a tiny house, you cannot afford to let any of your space go to waste. So while in a larger home you might have a little unutilized space between your chest of drawers and your bed, in a tiny house you want to find a way to use it. Here is a specialized dresser which includes some narrow vertically-oriented shelf space filling up that gap which would traditionally exist next to the bed. Shop for storage solutions like these or build them as needed!
33. Old-fashioned basket storage still works.
While many tiny house storage ideas are very clever, they do also require you to purchase or build custom solutions. That is not always an ideal option, which makes mainstays like hanging basket storage an appealing alternative.
34.Check out this clever boat storage.
This 190-square-foot structure pulls double duty as a boathouse and a writing studio. Multiple elements of the structure were designed to fulfill dual functions. The canoe storage area for example may serve as a workspace and bed. I can’t say I see exactly how this is supposed to work from the photo on the architect’s site; regardless, I can say that this is a really nice compact storage compartment for a boat. It keeps the vessel from being exposed to the elements, but doesn’t eat into the main living space too much.
35. Utilize floor-to-ceiling storage.
Here is another storage solution I like. This entire room has a very clean, open look to it, with plenty of room along the side of the bed (the impression of which is amplified by all the windows). This is accomplished by consolidating all the storage in the room to one set of cubbies which spans from floor to ceiling. Traditional storage solutions usually only stand half as high, which is why they end up taking up twice as much space on the floor.
36. Install brilliantly clever furniture.
How cool is this sink basin? Sink basins usually either have nothing but open space underneath or closed, confined cabinets which make it hard to find what you need. This basin offers clever storage compartments on both sides, fully utilizing the space under the basin without making it hard to access your supplies.
37. Come up with simple on-the-wall solutions for storing your gear.
While this “micro home” by Wind River Tiny Homes isn’t nearly as tiny as some, it does present a clever idea when it comes to storing a surfboard. An item like this can take up a ton of space on the ground level, but attached to this upper wall, it stays completely out of the way while adding a market of individuality to the home. You could in theory grab it easily from the stairs.
38. Here is another way to create under-the-stairs storage.
Have a traditional staircase in your home you do not want to replace? You may be able to create a more effective cupboard under the stairs through this clever method. Here we have three different compartments, which ascend in height along with the stairs to maximize usable space. Here is the amazing part; when they open, they pull out to reveal a series of long shelves extending all the way to the back wall!
39. Install shelving that makes use of your corners.
Wind River takes a lot of pride in their storage solutions; if you visit their site, you will see some spectacular photos which showcase their clever shelving designs. These shelves extend around the corners in the kitchen to provide you with extra space.
While many tiny homes have storage integrated into the steps, some tiny homes take the opposite approach: steps are created out of storage compartments. Here we see a series of storage compartments which double as a set of steps leading up to a couch. While they are not traditional steps by any means, they are sophisticated space-savers.
Now you have explored 40 genius storage ideas inspired by tiny house design. Some of these ideas are easy and involve simple adjustments to your décor or furnishings, while others are big custom jobs which you need to build from the ground up. All however encourage you to look at the small space you inhabit in a much bigger way!