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Under bed storage ideas hardly sound like the most stylish or thrilling part of bedroom design. We get it. But as with all storage, it's a very important part of creating a room that's functional and you can't create a chic, relaxing, sanctuary without some function.
There are many of the same principles at work here as with closet organization. Clever use of space, some artistic folding and separating, a bit of aesthetic flair. Besides, as all these ideas are about to prove, under bed storage can look fabulous, so ditch the visions of dusty plastic boxes and bulky ottoman beds and be inspired by these designer-approved bedroom storage ideas.
The best stylish and practical under bed storage ideas
'The space underneath a bed can be utilized as invaluable storage space, whether this be in the form of drawers in a Divan bed base or simply a void underneath a bed frame.' suggests Saskia Howard, Creative Director at Howark Design. Small bedroom storage ideas thrive on this sort of approach.
'For the latter, ensure items are stored away neatly so that it doesn’t look messy or chaotic. Avoid cheap-looking plastic boxes in favor of attractive, lidded-baskets or decorative boxes which are designed to fit underneath beds and look neat and tidy. Using baskets or decorative boxes which can be pulled out means the contents are more easily accessed and cleaning is easier.'
We particularly like these foldable linen baskets with lids from Amazon.
'Go a step further and consider a bed valance which will conceal either storage baskets or divan drawers,' Saskia continues. 'While valances are sometimes considered old-fashioned, going for a bespoke design in your chosen fabric can be a stylish and practical solution.'
1. Build a bespoke bed frame
When it comes to under bed storage our minds tend to go to bulky ottoman beds or un-aesthetically pleasing plastic boxes. But, as all these ideas are about to prove, you can maximize the space under your bed in an incredibly chic (and equally subtle way).
Case in point, this gorgeous Scandinavian bedroom that really makes the most of the small nook by building everything in – including two very roomy drawers at the base of the bed.
'When building our tiny cabin (30 m2) here in Sweden, storage was key to creating a decluttered, bright and airy space.' explains Niki Brantmark, founder of My Scandinavian Home. 'We were scratching our heads trying to think of ways to sneak it in without ruining the aesthetic. When the bed nook was an empty shell we searched around for beds with front/end facing storage but couldn’t find any. In the end, we decided to design it ourselves and get the bed nook and drawers specially made to measure by a local carpenter.'
'The bed platform is wall mounted on each side with central pillars down the middle. The two drawers are made from wood and around 200 cm deep (spanning the entire length of the bed) and are on castors so they easily roll out (the ladder is removable). We put white paneling on the front of the drawers for a seamless look.
'Having lived in our little cabin all summer, these drawers have been a total life saver and store absolutely everything from towels and bedding to clothes and other belongings!'
2. Keep it simple with subtle wooden draws
You'll notice a running theme here – subtle. Under bed storage should not be seen, but rather blend into the room and only be noticed when it's in use. Drawers that sit flush within the base of the bed are ideal for this.
Now, you could opt for a divan bed but while designs are getting increasingly more stylish, they still add a lot of visual bulk to a room and aren't the most elegant of options (although don't worry we haven't totally shunned the divan, we will touch on that later). Instead, for a solution that fits perfectly within your space and suits your needs create a design that builds in under-bed storage discretely.
In this Seattle renovation, Casework completely overhauled the attic bedroom, relying heavily on built-ins because of the awkward space. 'The homeowners wanted to transform their existing master bedroom and bathroom to include more practical closet and storage space as well as add a nursery with a built-in bunk for naps with the baby.' explains Casey Keasler, founder of Casework.
'We will often build out bed frames with custom drawers on each side of the bed for additional storage. For a more finished look, I always choose wood or woven boxes or baskets to hide things.'
3. Make the most of an alcove
How fabulous is this space? We will get onto under bed storage in a second, but can we take a moment for the green stripes please? How they are cleverly taken onto the ceiling to make this small bedroom look bigger. And see how the floor and the bed frame almost blur into one, making the floor space feel longer too.
Going built-in with the bed frame has not only created the allusion of a larger room and made use of an awkward alcove that wouldn't fit an off-the-shelf bed anyways, but has also given to opportunity for plenty of under bed storage.
'Where space is tight, consider built-in or made-to-measure furniture. Here we had a day bed/guest bed made to fit the alcove perfectly. Incorporating under bed drawers. The mattress was made to order using foam, and it's honestly less expensive than you may think.' explains Jordan & Russell of 2LG Studio.
4. Be discreet with a (stylish) skirt
This is a great under-bed storage idea if you are renting or on a budget. It's so simple – 'if you need to have items stored below your bed, a bed skirt is a great way to hide any bins or boxes.' suggests designer Marie Flanigan.
Bed skirts may not sound like the most glamorous addition to a bedroom and yes they might have once had a reputation of being a tad... fussy, but done right we think they and a lovely relaxed softness. And can hide all manner of sins behind them. Take inspiration from this farmhouse bedroom and keep it super simple in a light, slubby fabric so it doesn't look too formal or frilly.
5. DIY a stylish solution
Up for a weekend project? This ingenious idea by Grillo Designs allows you to really maximize the space under your bed and you can create a design that suits your style too. Keep the fronts plain and simple for a more minimalist Scandi look, or to add a pop of color or pattern go in with the bold shades or some leftover wallpaper cut offs.
Now if you are a bit of a DIY novice, you can recreate this look using off-the-shelf wooden crates (just check they fit neatly under the bed). This set of wooden crates from Amazon is absolutely perfect. Attach small wheels to each corner and add a handle for easy access. Easy peasy.
However, if you fancy more of a project and really want to use every inch of your space, be inspired by Medina's project and built the boxes yourself so they fit perfectly. 'Rolling under bed storage boxes are the perfect space-saving solution for storing, shoes, bags, and other stuff you can't shove into the wardrobe!' says Medina. '
6. Or go off the shelf
And if DIY really isn't your thing, of course, there's always IKEA. IKEA reigns in the bedroom storage department and their under bed storage options are chic, simple, and affordable. No DIY skills necessary.
'To organize smaller items, try a lightweight storage case such as the STUK case which comes in a variety of different sizes with a zipped lid to protect items from dirt and dust. Storage boxes like the VARDÖ box are great for putting away quilts and seasonal clothes, equipped with a protective textile lid and wheels that make it easier to access.' explains Grant Robertson, Interior Design Leader at IKEA. The VARDÖ is what is pictured above and it's a personal favorite of ours, and super easy to hide with a valance.
'For small bedrooms, multi-purpose solutions help maximize space. The FREDVANG offers under bed storage while doubling up as a bedside table, meaning it can be rolled out and put away when needed. Or for built in bed storage, the MALM ottoman is perfect as the bed flips up and gives a clear view of items stored.'
7. Choose a chic ottoman bed frame
On to the classic divan beds, a simple solution that takes zero thought. And as you can see in this apartment bedroom, they can look chic if you pick the right design, color and fabric. Look for styles that have drawers running the full length of the bed, and look for handles that sit flush so they almost disappear when not in use.
'Don’t overcomplicate it.' advises designer Christian Bense. 'I always opt for a simple storage ottoman base, upholstered in the same color/fabric as my headboard. I don’t bother with a valance or a cover over the divan, and just let the bed throw or blanket hide the handles if needed.'
Just remember to consider sizing, divan beds are bulkier than normal bed frames – 'Check carefully the size of the bed frame itself.' says David Norman of Furl. 'We think of beds as coming in standard sizes, but this often refers to the size of the mattresses. Many ottoman beds have large frames to accommodate the mechanism needed to lift them, so the footprint is far larger than it needs to be. Storage beds are meant to give your more room, not take it away.'
8. Maximize awkward spaces
Platform beds are a huge interior design trend right now, they fit with that whole minimalist, unfinished vibe that's doing the rounds. Personally, we love the style but it doesn't leave much space for efficient bedroom storage. But you can get that simple platform look, and make space for storage underneath. Again, if you are on a budget and feeling up to the challenge you can DIY this look yourself and built a bedframe from scratch.
Check out this studio bedroom designed by Studio DB, the bed frame is raised, not only making it feel like its own zone within the open plan area but it also creates a space for roomy drawers underneath.
Is under bed storage a good idea?
Who doesn't think more bedroom storage is a good idea? Even if you have limited space for freestanding storage pieces, you will always need a place to sleep so might as well double that up as extra storage. Just pick an option that's going to suit your style and budget, whether that's simply sliding a few baskets under the bed or opting for something permanent and built-in.
How do you make under bed storage look good?
Honestly? The best way to make under-bed storage look good is to hide it. Or make it as subtle as possible if you are going for a divan bed or built-in design. However, if you want your storage on show, or you have a bed frame where that's your only option, consider using pretty baskets or simple wooden boxes that are practical but don't add too much visually to the room.
As Marie Flanigan suggests, 'You can always place wicker baskets under beds as they are practical, aesthetically pleasing and keep the space looking tidy. They’re also easy for kids to access and use.'
Vintage pieces like old suitcases or trunks can also work as under-bed storage and add character to a room; they work particularly well in a more modern rustic bedroom.
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Hebe is the Digital Editor of Livingetc; she has a background in lifestyle and interior journalism and a passion for renovating small spaces. You'll usually find her attempting DIY, whether it's spray painting her whole kitchen, don't try that at home, or ever changing the wallpaper in her hallway. Livingetc has been such a huge inspiration and has influenced Hebe's style since she moved into her first rental and finally had a small amount of control over the decor and now loves being able to help others make decisions when decorating their own homes. Last year she moved from renting to owning her first teeny tiny Edwardian flat in London with her whippet Willow (who yes she chose to match her interiors...) and is already on the lookout for her next project.
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