How to Sneak Custom Storage Into Every Room of Your House

The right organizers make all the difference.

orange built-in bookcase
Photo: CHRISTOPHER TESTANI

In most home designs, storage is an afterthought. We spend weeks picking out paint colors, wait months for the right furniture, and then realize we didn't work organization into our plan. The result: Belongings get shoved into cabinets and stuffed into closets, sometimes never to be seen again.

Don't worry, it's not too late to sneak some customizable storage into your home's décor. From built-in bookcases to tailored-for-you closets and on-the-wall organizers, you can create valuable storage without sacrificing style. Here are five clever custom storage ideas highlighted in the 2021 Real Simple Home.

01 of 05

DIY Pinboard

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

Bring your Pinterest board to life by DIYing your own IRL version. To make the pinboard shown here crafted by designer Ryia Jose, stretch fabric over a piece of foam board (cut to the desired dimensions) and then staple it to the back. Select any fabric you like, but a plaid pattern like this one helps keep the fabric straight.

02 of 05

Wall Organizer

Real Simple Home 2021 Entryway organizer
Christopher Testani

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

03 of 05

Custom Closets

Real Simple Home 2021, Closet
Christopher Testani

The beauty of a custom closet is that it's built to fit your specific space and wardrobe, and can be personalized to match your décor style. In our Real Simple Home, gold drawer pulls and closet rods paired with navy drawer fronts make this closet feel more like a boutique, while the sliding storage tray for jewelry 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 to complement your décor.

04 of 05

Open Shelving

Real Simple Home 2021, Laundry Room
Christopher Testani

In the laundry room, empty wall space above the washer and dryer calls for open shelving. These 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, we used two pieces of plywood to create a trendy waterfall countertop atop the washer and dryer.

05 of 05

Built-in Bookcases

Orange bookcase in living room
Christopher Testani

If you weren't blessed by the real estate gods with the real deal, you can still enjoy the architectural interest of built-ins. We created a vibrant bookcase in our Real Simple Home by building shelves around a window, installing molding on the top and bottom, and then painting the unit to camouflage with the ceiling and blend right in.

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