Storage can be notoriously tricky to get right. Even if you have plenty of it, it can easily overspill and end up looking messy and cluttered, especially if there are no cupboard doors for it to hide behind. As it turns out, however, people with beautiful storage - be that cupboards, shelves, or bookcases - all have one thing in common. It's a simple trick that makes any storage area look more chic and cohesive, all while still prioritizing practicality.
This trick is one that designers and organizers have nailed down, and we’re seeing it crop up more and more across storage ideas. Basically, it's all about color. Painting your storage units or shelving areas in shades that stand out to make a design feature of them, and adding any additional bins and baskets in hues to match, makes a space look so much more elegant. It creates a visual effect that pulls everything together to appear more streamlined and organized, and it's such a simple trick that anyone can use it. I spoke to a design expert and organizer to talk us through how to get the look in our own homes.
Color as the secret to streamlined storage
When we think of storage, functionality is the first thing that comes to mind - and so it should - but we tend to forget that it can also look incredibly chic. ‘Functional doesn’t have to mean boring,’ interior designer Naomi Astley Clarke tells me. ‘I love to incorporate color into a design through millwork, from a deep green above-door bookcase to duck egg blue storage in a country boot room.'
As Naomi goes on to explain, these kinds of paint ideas help to create a vibrant, highly functional focal point that pops against white walls but doesn’t overwhelm the space. 'If you’re not ready to commit to full color just yet, keep your cupboards neutral but consider painting the inside a brighter shade for an unexpected burst of color,’ she adds.
Instead of trying to hide our storage ideas and make them as inconspicuous as possible, experts want us to treat them as a design item in their own right. When you paint shelves, cabinets, or storage units in a beautiful, elegant color that stands out, you create a feature of it.
Take the opportunity to experiment with color and opt for hues that make you happy when you look at them. This will instantly elevate any storage area in your home, from your hallway to your living room, and make it look professionally designed.
Style your storage with accessories
Don’t stop at just painting the unit or area in a color you love, either. Consider the more granular level of storage in your home and make sure it's stylish. ‘Investing in uniform storage is worthwhile,’ says organizing expert and minimalist Shira Gill . ‘Even if you’re organized but your items are in mismatched vessels, it will look busy. Whereas, if you find one style and color of bin, box, or basket and you have neat rows of the exact same vessels, it will just have the appearance of being so easy on the eye.'
If you need some inspiration, Shira urges us to avoid plastic and clear vessels and instead opt for opaque storage, especially for things that are not beautiful to look at like remote controls, cords, and batteries, that you need to store but don’t want to see all the time. We love these seagrass baskets from Wayfair which will look beautiful stacked on your alcove shelving.
It's also a good idea to think of your storage in terms of color harmony. Go for a monochromatic color scheme and choose vessels that match your unit or tabletop for a very streamlined effect. If you want a soft contrast, pick containers like woven baskets, as the natural colors will be softer on the eye. If full contrast is your thing, opt for a complementary color, however, it's best to stick to one. The more different colors you bring in, the more cluttered the space will look, so keep a balance.
And if you want to take it one step further, there's one tiny detail that Naomi says makes a beautiful, unique storage accessory. 'Personalise family storage by decorating cabinetry with initials,' she says. 'That way, everyone can see which is theirs, helping to promote better organization.'
If you stick to these as guiding principles, we're certain your storage will instantly look so much better and pulled together. You won't ever treat it as an afterthought again!
Make your storage look more beautiful with the help of these buys
Price: from $52.99 per Gallon
Paint your storage in a color that stands out, and that you love. Benjamin Moore's color of the year 2024, Blue Nova, is such a warm, elegant and calming blue, it will look striking on a piece of millwork.
Price: from $69.99 per Gallon
Green is a great color to live with because while it makes a statement it's calming at the same time as it comes from nature. A bookcase painted in this color will create a very chic look for a home office.
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Raluca is Digital News Writer for Livingetc.com and passionate about all things interior and living beautifully. Coming from a background writing and styling shoots for fashion magazines such as Marie Claire Raluca’s love for design started at a very young age when her family’s favourite weekend activity was moving the furniture around the house ‘for fun’. Always happiest in creative environments in her spare time she loves designing mindful spaces and doing colour consultations. She finds the best inspiration in art, nature, and the way we live, and thinks that a home should serve our mental and emotional wellbeing as well as our lifestyle.
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