Evolving the Entryway: Storage Solutions for Small Spaces

Feng shui and interior design expert Jami Lin offers design solutions for this couple's cramped entryway.

| May/June 2010

  • Way Basics modular cube storage, 2Modern, $120, www.2modern.com, zBoard material made with 99 percent post-consumer recycled paper
    Photo Courtesy 2Modern
  • In Lin’s proposed solution, shoe cubbies and “grab-and-go” hooks make coming and going easy and quick. Shelves behind a decorative curtain offer attractive, organized storage.
    The couple's current entryway is cramped and lifeless.
  • In Lin’s proposed solution, shoe cubbies and “grab-and-go” hooks make coming and going easy and quick. Shelves behind a decorative curtain offer attractive, organized storage.
    Photo Illustration By Nathan Skow
  • Key modular storage, Housefish, Short module: $498; medium: $548; tall: $598 www.housefish.com, FSC-certified maple or walnut veneer plywood with zero-VOC finish
    Photo Courtesy Housefish
  • Tetrad Mega, expandable shelving, Brave Space Design, 5-block set: $3,500; 10-block set (pictured): $7,000, www.bravespacedesign.com, FSC-certified walnut or ash; low-VOC finish and adhesives
    Photo Courtesy Brave Space Design
  • Hollow bench, Lebello, Single: $260; double: $456; triple: $656, www.lebello.com, 80 percent recycled aluminum and zero-VOC high-density polyethylene
    Photo Courtesy Lebello

Q: We need an affordable storage solution for our entry area. We need a spot for shoes and boots, hooks for winter coats, and a place for scarves, mittens, hats, and other odds and ends. We’d also like a bench.
—Steph Glaros & Corey McNally, Minneapolis

Steph and Corey’s hallway has limited space, but with some creativity and efficient space utilization, it can house a shelving and storage unit for all of their indoor/outdoor gear, plus a bench and mail table. I suggest tucking floor-to-ceiling shelving behind a decorative curtain. Inexpensive, easy-to-hang, light metal-wire shelving doesn’t collect dust and lets air circulate, reducing musty smells. Rubbermaid offers Greenguard-certified ventilated wire shelving made from 100 percent recycled steel. To keep the hallway easily navigable, the shelving should be no deeper than about 15 inches from the wall.

A curtain will hide the storage, soften the space and add personality. Organic and fair trade curtains come in many styles. Rawganique offers organic hemp; Anna Sova has organic cotton and “Eco Silk,” processed without toxic chemicals.

Organize items according to function. The shelves nearest the kitchen can house cookbooks, pantry items and cleaning supplies. Allow space below the first shelf to hide recycle bins. Organize tools and other “outdoor” stuff on the side closer to the exit. This is also a good place for a clothes rod for out-of-season outdoor gear.



The “central” area houses a bench and “grab-and-go” hooks for outdoor gear in daily use. A bench with built-in cubbies provides a convenient spot to remove shoes, helping keep debris, dust and other contaminants out of the house. Store rarely used items such as holiday decorations in bins on the most difficult-to-reach shelves.

With everything hidden behind the curtain, there’s room next to the large storage area to place a narrow table for keys, mail, a small plant and a favorite piece of art, rounding out the space.



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