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Okay, who out there feels they adequately use all the space available in their home? As I suspected, no one! This is an especially crucial question if you live in a smaller home, condo or apartment, like I did. Even if you have a bigger home, it’s likely you could do a better job making use of wasted space. I hope this blog inspires you to find some much-needed extra space by turning those nooks and crannies into creative, stylish home storage solutions.

Nooks and crannies. We all got’em, so the first step is to perform a thorough walk-through of your home and identify those areas that aren’t being used at all or are being used ineffectively now. Once you’ve targeted your “Ns and Cs,” consider the following ideas to turn them into valuable contributors to your home environment:

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  • Have a corner in your bedroom without a clear purpose? Search thrift stores and garage sales for a nice comfy chair and floor lamp that will just fit, and you’ll have created a great little cozy reading corner. Shopping for bargains saves you money, provides a second “life” for unused pieces, and often leads you to find that unique gem you just can’t find in traditional outlets.What about that empty corner in your family room? It may have potential to feature a shelf that will elegantly display much-loved books, pictures or other treasures.
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  • Perhaps you have an odd space under your stairs that could serve as home to a cabinet or shelves that add extra storage or a display area.
  • Creating an office spot in your home to concentrate and take care of personal business can be wonderful. Somewhere to keep the mail, pay bills, etc. Scan your home and look for a corner that’s crying out to be given a purpose. It’s usually not difficult or expensive to find a great little desk to fill that void and be put in service. Add a chair and lamp, if needed, and you’re good to go. Make sure to consider existing furniture—either in storage or just not being used well—for duty in your new mini-office.
  • How about this classic cranny: the space under your bed. After chasing away any goblins and monsters, measure how much space is available. This can create much-needed storage space for extra linen, kid’s toys, shoes, extra blankets and towels, etc. You can find clear bins at big box discount stores made to fit under beds (make sure you measure the height clearance, too, so you get the right-size containers).
  • I’ve been called a basket case, now I’d like to make a case for baskets: What a great way to add storage in the weird little spaces our homes all have! Would the space between your sofa and wall fit a basket to hold a few fave books? Would the awkward gap in the family room make the perfect spot for a giant basket to keep pet or kid toys off the floor? Be creative when assessing your space. And don’t forget you can cheaply paint baskets to bring in a fun accent color.
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  • Front entryways often sit empty and cry out for an adorable side table perfect to hold mail, keys, purses, etc. Or class things up by bringing in a small but striking work of art since your entryway is the first impression people will have of your home.
  • And don’t forget your back entryway. Slim cabinets or shelving units can be life-savers for storing—and covering up—all the stuff you just don’t have room for (winter gear, backpacks, the stuff you just can’t convince your significant other to part with, etc.)

When you tackle your space challenges, remember to start with the “form follows function” concept. So while you are assessing available space, clearly have in mind what space challenges you want to solve for. Function, style and savings can coexist beautifully.

Now, what will you do next to love where you live?