The Key Dimensions to Know When Designing Storage
An essential guide to sizing up the ideal space needed to store almost everything in your home neatly and efficiently
Also in this series, key dimensions for: The Kitchen | The Bedroom | The Bathroom
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When is comes to coats, you’ll need to choose between hanging them on hooks or on hangers.
Hangers have the clear advantage of keeping your coats and jackets in good shape. A hanging rail in a traditional closet requires a space 60cm deep. Where space is limited, you could fit the rail perpendicular to the wall, in which case you will need to leave 30cm clear each side of the rail to accommodate the hangers and their coats.
Hooks have the advantage of taking up little space, with the disadvantage of tending to get over-loaded and consequently somewhat annoying to use.
Whichever option you choose, a height of 120cm suffices for most coats. So place your hanging rail or hooks either 120cm above the floor or above whatever items you wish to store below.
Kitchen storage is a whole topic of its own: ask an expert – how can I plan the perfect kitchen storage?
With many homes adopting a shoe-free policy nowadays, the matter of shoe storage demands serious thought.
Most shoes measure no more than 30cm in length so a simple solution is to create shelves 30cm deep. Making these shelves adjustable in height will allow you accommodate a range of footwear, from slippers to boots. If you prefer fixed shelves, you’ll need to leave 12-18cm clear between each shelf.
Placing the shelves at an angle can work well, as it will allow you accommodate shoes in a depth shallower than 30cm.
A key decision with shelving for books is whether to opt for fixed or adjustable shelves. Fixed shelves have the advantage of creating in-built, visual harmony. Adjustable shelves mean that each shelf can be positioned to suit books of differing heights. This might be important where space is limited and every centimetre needs to be maximised. Shelves 60cm wide will work well here and allow a single book to be removed without the rest collapsing. Adjustable shelves wider than 60cm run the risk also of sagging under the weight of heavy books
Next is the matter of the types of books to be stored. Most books fit happily on shelves 23cm deep. And most books, including paperbacks, need a clearance (ie, the distance between each empty shelf, measured vertically) of just 23cm, with a clearance of 30cm accommodating all but oversize books. These need shelves 30-40cm deep and a vertical clearance of 50cm.
While you’ll need to fine-tune the dimensions to suit the context and visual appearance of the shelving, good all-round dimensions for fixed shelving would be a depth of 23cm and a clearance of 30cm.
10 of the best bookcase ideas on Houzz
The most important thing with a home office is to make sure that any shelving is of a depth and height to accommodate your biggest files or books. Lever arch files, for example, need shelves 30cm deep and with a minimum clearance of 32cm.
Leave a space of at least 50cm between the top of your desk and the underside of the first shelf. This can provide a useful zone for a pinboard, whiteboard or magnetic paint, should you wish to have an area for notes.
Whether you have a dedicated playroom or a corner in your living space, open shelving works well and allows great flexibility in accommodating all manner of toys. Smaller items such as plastic animals and cars can be housed in tubs and baskets, while books and board games can be easily seen and accessed.
A shelf-depth of 30cm and a vertical clearance of 33cm between each shelf are useful, all-round dimensions. Allow for at least some shelves at 60cm wide to accommodate board games and larger toys.
It’s the fiddly bits that can overwhelm a home, so try to create at least one cupboard for these miscellaneous household items. A closet 60cm wide and 40-50cm deep would be ideal. And a height of 160cm should suit most situations.
Maximise every centimetre of space by strategically placing hooks and shelving baskets on every available surface, including the door.
The secret to great linen storage is shelving that is smaller in all dimensions than you might expect.
A clearance of just 25cm vertically between each shelf works perfectly. This allows you to fit a large amount of sheets or towels on each shelf but without the toppling-over effect that results from shelves placed farther apart.
Shelves 45cm deep work well, allowing you to stack your linen in one tidy pile. Deeper shelves can mean rummaging for stray items in the nether reaches.
From shallow, mirrored cupboards above the basin and toilet to deeper drawers under the basin, there’s a variety of simple ways to add useful storage to even the smallest of bathrooms.
Given the array of potions and lotions we tend to accumulate, there is probably no shelf too shallow to be useful. Deep shelves can, in fact, be a hindrance, making it difficult to locate and access items in the depths. The diameter of a toilet roll (12cm) is a useful all-round depth for shelving.
One item often overlooked in planning household storage is the laundry basket, which would be well placed in the family bathroom. Two baskets would be a bonus, one for darks and the other for lights and whites. While baskets vary in size, a space measuring 45cm x 45cm and 60cm high will house most options.
Tell us: Do you have any storage tips to share? Let us know in the Comments section.