Interior Design

The 13 best space-saving ideas and tricks – according to interiors experts

Make the most of every inch to streamline your home in style

Space-saving storage ideas
(Image credit: Future / David Cleveland)

Large or small, every home could benefit from creating more space. From clearing the clutter using some well-thought-through storage that meets your household’s needs to applying some clever tricks that create the illusion of more space, you can make your home feel far more ordered and spacious than ever before.

Start with a good sort out, and be ruthless, sending things you don’t use to the charity shop, eBay, or yard sales, and the broken and worn out to your local household waste recycling centre. 

In living rooms, storage can be tricky. The key to getting your living room storage spot on is choosing pieces that offer as much multipurpose storage potential as possible.  

Marie Kondo’s hit book The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up suggests grouping remaining belongings by type, and designating one place for each – so all books together, stationery, shoes etc – it helps with organization and will reveal the type of storage needed.

See below for 13 clever space-saving ideas, from the interior experts at Heal's.

1. Choose a corner sofa


Matera full corner sofa in Nobilis Velvet Rust, from £5,499, Heal's

(Image credit: Heal's)

Small sitting room? Make the most of the little space you have by opting for a corner, chaise or L-shaped sofa. Offering ample space for family and friends on which to perch, a sofa like this can also act as a room divider, breaking up open plan spaces without crowding the room with too much furniture. 

Avoid sofas where the entire seat is built to touch the floor, instead choosing a design with narrow, tall legs - the more floor you can see underneath, the more spacious the room will feel.

Sabrina Miller, Head of Buying at Heal's says: 'L-shaped sofas are known for their functional and space-saving properties. They can double your seating options without occupying a lot of extra space compared to a regular sofa.' 

2. Keep your home office space light and bright


Glide desk in Oak by Says Who, £699; CH24 Wishbone chair in Soaped Beech by Carl Hansen & Søn, £443; Bolt pendant, £39; Tala Gaia Bulb 6W E27 LED, £35, all Heal's 

(Image credit: Heal's)

Chances are, working from home has been raised to a whole new level in your home this year. When once you may have perched your laptop on your kitchen or dining table, now homes across the country have had to adapt, doubling as comfortable and efficient office spaces, from Monday to Friday each week.

It's important in a multipurpose space like this to ensure the office doesn't spill over into your home life so investing in comfortable, elegant home office furniture is a must.  Look for a desk and matching storage that will blend into your existing decor. Choose pale woods and soft rounded edges to keep the look cohesive.

Sabrina suggests to keep the walls pale in colour: 'If the walls in your make-shift office space are dark, it might be best to revamp your walls to a lighter colour that will allow for natural light to reflect off the walls and make your space appear bigger and brighter.'  

This will also provide a light, bright background for any video calls you may have to make to clients or colleagues.

3. Create the illusion of space


(Image credit: Future/Mel Yates)

One of the easiest tricks to add space to a room is to introduce mirrors. It obviously doesn't actually create space, merely the illusion of it. Adding a reflective surface to wall will act like a window into an adjoining room, giving a more spacious feel while bouncing light around a room. 

Try using an oversized mirror to cover an entire wall, or a cluster of small mirrors together that double as wall art.   

As Sabina suggests: 'If you're looking for more storage in a bedroom, but don’t have the space for another wardrobe, mirrors that can store clothes behind them a great way to add valuable storage space and create a feature.'

4. Invest in a clever console


(Image credit: Future/Polly Wreford)

An elegant console table gives you plenty of extra storage space but also an elegant display to brighten up your living room. 

Built-in drawers are a perfect place to store letters and extra linens can be neatly folded in a basket underneath. A cabinet dresser is also a functional yet attractive way to add storage space to your living room.   

'Sometimes it’s a shame to hide our favorite pieces away, but you can display them while keeping them dust-free with a dresser cabinet,' says Elena Paparozzi, Buyer at Heal's. 'A console table also allows you to display accessories to add color to your room while storing away less show-worthy items.'

5. Use strong vertical lines


(Image credit: Future/Chris Everard)

Use strong vertical lines to draw the eye upwards in a small space. 

Try using a ladder shelf as an attractive way to add vertical lines to your living space while also giving you a creative way to add storage space. You can use the ladder to store books or letters while accessorising with a few plants and ornaments. This will give the illusion of more space.   

According to Elena: 'A tall shelving unit will also work for adding vertical lines to your living area. The industrial trend is still going strong so consider adding an industrial unit which will give the illusion of height and the metal frames are ideal for coping with the weight of numerous books and vases.'

6. Add extra storage with a coffee table


(Image credit: Future/Davide Lovatti)

Coffee tables are an essential feature of our living area and they are also excellent storage solutions. 

Opt for a coffee table with deep drawers and a shelf so that you can optimise the amount of storage.   

'More often than not, your coffee table is covered (think magazines, remotes, coasters, and books), it only makes sense to get a coffee table that doubles as a place to stow away your personal items,' explains Elena. 'For added durability go for a coffee table made from reclaimed wood and a toughened glass top.'

7. Incorporate a sideboard into your scheme


(Image credit: Future/Polly Wreford)

Every living room should have a sideboard, they’re great for hiding away items that you don’t want to be seen. Sideboards with wide tops can also be used to add elegant touches such as lamps, candles and your favourite mementos.  

'Sideboards are a great piece of furniture for any living or dining area, a sideboard will offer plenty of storage space and is the perfect place to display flowers and picture frames,' advises Elena. 

'For a timeless look go for a good-quality oak design as it will stand the test of time and is incredibly stylish too.'

8. Declutter with storage baskets


(Image credit: Future/Jake Curtis)

Baskets are one of the best living room storage ideas. Endlessly useful baskets come in all shapes and sizes – they have a fabulous tactile quality that adds character to a scheme. They are ideal for a pretty way to declutter your living area.   

According to Elena: 'Belly baskets are very on trend and the numerous patterns and shapes available make them ideal for incorporating into any layout. They can be used for storing blankets, magazines and plants.'

9. Save space with wall shelves


Cane sofa bed in Boucle Raven, from £1,999, Heal’s

(Image credit: Heal's)

If space is an issue, getting as much furniture as possible up off the floor gives the illusion of a bigger room. Wall shelves are ideal for this and deep shelves can be used to display and store a range of items such as books, pictures and plants.   

'Stay organized in style,' says Elena. 'A compact shelf design will give you the opportunity to decorate without taking up too much space. Wall shelves turn bare walls into functional storage areas, and, if the shelves themselves are attractive and their display areas are styled well, they can become pieces of wall art in their own right.'

10. Store belongings under the stairs


Massa Bronze ceramic sideboard, £1,899; Solid Shapes print 03 30x40cm by Paper Collective, £45; Solid Shapes print 02 50x70cm by Paper Collective, £25, all Heal's

(Image credit: Heal's)

Nooks and crannies are perfect for storage. You can easily transform the empty or untidy space underneath your staircase into an organised haven using a range of pretty boxes and baskets.   

'Unlocking the potential of this pocket of space can help you find a new home for books, toys or shoes. Without a door to conceal them, it also gives you the opportunity to get creative in how you display your storage. Stack your boxes and baskets into streamlined piles to tidy unsightly clutter.'

11. Maximise space with nesting tables


(Image credit: Future/Paul Raeside)

Nesting tables are ideal for smaller spaces, they can be used around the room for drinks when you need them and then once they are not in use they can be fitted under each other and stored neatly away. You can also add some elegant touches such as house plants and lamps.   

'Nesting tables are great space-saving solutions for small spaces. They allow you to save space without having to compromise on practicality. By opting for nesting tables you save a lot of floor space.'

12. Include bespoke shelving


(Image credit: Future/Brent Darby)

Purpose built shelving is the perfect option for living room storage solutions to make the most out of your space. Tricky alcoves and sloping roofs can naturally lend themselves to built-in storage solutions.   

'There are no limitations with built in shelving units, you can get them designed to fit the space perfectly and they can even be designed to incorporate televisions, books, photos and ornaments. Making the area handy for storage and also a key feature of the room. '

13. Set up a stylish ottoman


(Image credit: Future/Jan Baldwin)

Space is at a premium in small living rooms so furniture that can double up as storage is always a bonus. Storage ottomans are perfect for adding style and storage to your living room.  Whether it’s towels, blankets, bedding or shoes you’re wanting to store away, ottomans make a lovely addition to any room not just your living area.

'Storage ottomans come in all shapes and sizes which makes them so versatile for any size room. You can opt for a beautiful upholstered version in a bold jewel hue for a style statement that works double duty as a secret storage spot.'

Jennifer Ebert
Deputy Editor (Digital)

Jennifer is the Digital Editor at Homes & Gardens. Having worked in the interiors industry for a number of years, spanning many publications, she now hones her digital prowess on the 'best interiors website' in the world. Multi-skilled, Jennifer has worked in PR and marketing, and the occasional dabble in the social media, commercial and e-commerce space. Over the years, she has written about every area of the home, from compiling design houses from some of the best interior designers in the world to sourcing celebrity homes, reviewing appliances and even the odd news story or two.