The right organizers make all the difference.
orange built-in bookcase

In most homes, storage is an afterthought. We can spend weeks picking out paint colors and wait months for the right furniture, only afterwards realizing that we haven't worked organization into the home design plan. Belongings get shoved into cabinets and stuffed into closets.

Don't worry, it's not too late to sneak some customizable storage into your home's decor. From faux built-in bookcases to tailored-for-you closets and on-the-wall organizers, these ideas will provide valuable storage without sacrificing the style of your space. Here are five clever custom storage ideas, all spotted in the 2021 Real Simple Home.

Real Simple Home 2021, Attic Side Desk
Credit: Photography by Christopher Testani

DIY Pinboard

To bring your Pinterest board to life, DIY your own IRL version. By stretching fabric over a piece of foam board (cut to the desired dimensions) and stapling it to the back, designer Ryia Jose crafted the pinboard shown here. You can select any fabric you like, but a plaid pattern serves as a helpful guide for keeping the fabric straight. 

Real Simple Home 2021 Entryway organizer
Credit: Christopher Testani

Wall Organizer

In the small mudroom at the Real Simple Home, a slim, wall-mounted organizer tucks much-needed storage space behind the door. The Maddox Wall Organizer from California Closets lets you select from four different metal finishes, three leather options, and two sizes, so you can customize the organizer to fit your space and style. 

Real Simple Home 2021, Closet
Credit: Christopher Testani

Custom Closets

The benefit of a custom closet is not only that it's built to fit your specific space and wardrobe, but also that it can be personalized to match your decor style. Gold drawer pulls and closet rods, paired with navy blue drawer fronts, make this closet feel more like a boutique. The sliding storage tray for jewelry only adds to the effect.

California Closets lets you select everything from the number of drawers, to shoe racks, to shelf space—plus the color, finish, and hardware option that complements your decor. 

Real Simple Home 2021, Laundry Room
Credit: Christopher Testani

Open Shelving

In the laundry room, empty wall space above the washer and dryer calls for open shelving. The shelves hold the essentials—folded towels, dryer balls—as well as decorative accents, like plants and family photos. By affixing LED strips to the underside of the shelves, senior home editor Leslie Corona helped illuminate the workspace below. 

To introduce counter space for folding clothes, as well as provide a spot to store scrub brushes and detergent, two pieces of plywood transform into a trendy waterfall countertop atop the washer and dryer. 

Orange bookcase in living room
Credit: Christopher Testani

Built-in Bookcases

Yes, you can still fake the architectural interest of built-ins, even if you weren't blessed by the real estate gods with the real deal. By building shelves around a window, installing molding on the top and bottom, and painting the unit to camouflage with the ceiling above, this vibrant bookcase blends right in.