By Ailis Brennan published
Every parent knows that toy storage ideas are essential to keeping their house tidy, and their sanity intact.
Having children in the house is a recipe for endless tidying, meaning storage ideas that are well thought through, effortlessly neat and easily accessible for both parent and child is crucial to a harmonious home.
The need for toy storage isn’t just confined to the kids’ bedrooms either – living rooms, playrooms and even hallways are often in need of clever nooks and crannies to hide the playthings that inevitably make their way across the home.
Toy storage ideas
From discreet benches to personalized trunks, we’ve brought together some stylish but practical toy storage ideas to inspire you, and asked the experts for tips too, so that, whether you are looking for playroom ideas or solutions for children's rooms, you will be well organized.
1. Put shelves and cupboards at a lower height
While the likes of kitchen storage ideas may see you placing bits and pieces out of reach of little hands, you’ll want to do quite the opposite when storing toys.
‘As adults, we would naturally fit shelving at our own height, but installing it so that your child can easily reach items from it is much more effective,’ says Peter Erlandsson, Co-Owner of String Furniture. Making it easy for your child to reach shelves and cupboards will help encourage them to keep the space tidy by themselves.
2. Choose modular storage that can grow with your child
‘Investing in timeless furniture and designs when decorating your child’s room is important,’ adds Erlandsson. ‘As children get older, their storage needs change. With a modular shelving system you have the flexibility to curate a configuration that grows with your child, and their equally expanding toy collection.’ Modular systems are also great for the likes of small kitchen storage ideas where space is tight, allowing you to easily adapt to your family’s changing needs.
3. Keep living room storage discreet
‘A great place for children to play, whilst also allowing parents to keep an eye; the living room is a foundation in many family homes,’ say Alex and Kris Tolofson, Directors and Founders of Nöa & Nani. Living room storage ideas for toys take a little more consideration, as you’ll need to make them feel natural among their grown-up surroundings.
‘For a storage solution that will blend seamlessly with existing décor, homeowners should opt for a toybox in a neutral colorway, for example white or wood as this allows homeowners to keep their floors clutter-free without taking up too much space,’ say the Tolofsons. In this example, a large wicker hamper fits in perfectly.
4. Go low with underbed storage
Making use of the space under the bed is an easy win when it comes to bedroom storage ideas. For kids, consider choosing a bed fitted with storage underneath the mattress or, for existing beds, get hold of drawers on rollers that can slide under. Alternatively, go all out with a loft bed with tons of fitted storage.
‘A high sleeper bed is a great option for those who are tight on space, allowing the underneath to become a useful area to store toys and a space to play when children are little,’ say the Tolofsons. ‘This can then easily be changed into a functional desk area for learning when children are older. We also suggest adding some high shelving so that books can be easily reached for bedtime stories.’
5. Keep it neat with cube storage
For small bedroom storage ideas, try boosting the utility of open shelving with boxes that function similarly to drawers, as demonstrated in this nursery.
‘If space is at a premium, try open shelving with wicker basket storage stacked in cubes,’ says Arlene McIntyre, MD at Ventura Design. ‘This can help a small space feel larger than it is and avoids closing off the room making it look cluttered. It will also help encourage children to tidy away belongings themselves, with a basket for each specific item such as toys, crafts and any clothes.’
6. Use open-shelving to display favorites
‘When it comes to compact rooms or homes without a dedicated playroom, it’s important to be clever when it comes to storage,’ say the Tolofsons. ‘Shelves are a great way to display your little ones’ favorite toys without using up any additional floor space as they can be placed above desks, bedside tables or even beds. An ideal way to add a playful accent or add interest to interiors, opt for shelving in a bright color, this will create contrast when paired against a plain white wall.’
In this bedroom by interior designer Alexis Hughes, the built-in bookshelf ideas create a wonderful surround to the window seat, and can also be used to display choice toys.
7. Take a seat with bench storage
Boot benches may be a favorite among hallway storage ideas, but seating with added storage beneath its padded cushions can be a great addition to playrooms and living rooms frequented by children.
‘It is worth investing in joinery that doubles up as toy storage beneath and open shelving for the top,’ says McIntyre. ‘This now only allows the space to work in a multi-functional way but it also hides unsightly clutter when the extended family visits. The storage can also grow with your family, swapping soft toys with blankets and extra throw cushions as the children leave the nest.’
8. Stash it under the stairs
‘When it comes to hidden storage, both bench seating and under the stairs are always winners,’ says McIntyre. ‘We have seen a multitude of clever ways to convert the space under the stairs, such as a small home office with a desk and chair or with pull out drawers for shoes and winter accessories.’
Landing storage ideas are one way to make the most of your stairwell, while the cavity under the stairs is also a great space for storing larger toys, as well as the likes of bikes and scooters. If the stairs fall in something of a dead space in your home, consider converting it into a small play area like in this example.
9. Diversify your desk storage
Most of us are having to think a bit harder about home office storage ideas these days – so take inspiration from the multi-tasking talents of a child’s bedroom desk. Not only can it be a space for homework, but also drawing and play – that’s if you make the most of its storage potential, of course.
‘For older children or those who might need a quiet place to study, opt for a desk,’ says the Tolofsons. ‘Not only does this provide a helpful surface for books, gadgets or arts and crafts but the integrated drawer provides another more discreet space for small toys.’
10. Make it personal
Kids love anything personalized to them and their interests – or better yet, something they can personalize themselves. Consider upcycling old furniture by giving it a lick of chalkboard paint like this dresser so they can get creative, or get a professional in to create something bespoke.
‘Beautiful bespoke toy boxes are very on trend and perfect for adding a fun, colorful and stylish pop to a children’s bedroom,’ says McIntyre. ‘For an extra special and luxury touch, the boxes can be monogrammed with your child's initials, making it an ideal gift from the grandparents. Toy boxes are also a lovely heritage piece that can be held onto for years to come and passed down through the family.’
How do you store lots of toys?
While one or two toys stacked on open shelving can add personality to the space, you’ll need to think a little harder to ensure the masses are tucked away neatly. If you feel like you’re running out of room, investigate what you can do with the space under your child’s bed – roll-out drawer inserts can be a lifesaver. If you’re designing a space from scratch, think about dedicating some built-in storage to toys in wardrobe-like cupboards.
How do you store toys in a living room?
In the living room, toys need to be tucked away effortlessly, leaving no sign that they were ever strewn across the floor. They also need to be stored in a space that blends seamlessly into your design.
The likes of ottomans and storage benches can provide ample space for discreet toy storage. They are easily disguised with padded tops that fit your room’s aesthetic, but include a cavernous amount of storage potential for awkwardly shaped objects. Plus, they double as a seat for grown-ups joining in with play.
I started out at British GQ, where a month of work experience turned into 18 months of working on all sorts of projects, writing about everything from motorsport to interiors, and helping to put together the GQ Food & Drink Awards. I then spent three years at the Evening Standard on the GO London team, covering restaurants and bars, and getting to eat and drink a veritable smorgasbord of wonderful things around the city. I left the paper in 2020 and went freelance, writing about food, drink and homes for publications including Conde Nast Traveller, Luxury London and Departures. A little less than a year later, I started at Homes & Gardens as a Digital Writer, allowing me to fully indulge my love of good interior design.
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