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Spring Cleaning: Reconfiguring Your Storage

After a year of being cooped up indoors, we're finally creeping back to normal life. And what better way to celebrate than to have a proper spring clean? Clearing out clutter and tweaking your storage to better suit your needs is a simple but effective way to refresh your home.

Storage furniture comes in various different forms to suit a variety of purposes. We'll take you through some of the key pieces and their uses, so you can find the perfect combination for you.

Living and dining room storage

Our living room and dining room are where we spend our waking hours and where we entertain guests. We want to feel at home here, but we also want to present our best selves to visitors. That's why downstairs storage generally serves two key functions: to showcase what we want our guests to see and conceal things we would rather keep to ourselves. The two most important pieces of downstairs storage are the sideboard and the display cabinet.

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Sideboards and buffets

The number one choice for storing clutter. Whether it's spare crockery, stationery, old board games and toys you haven't the heart to throw away, or small appliances you rarely use, a sideboard will keep it tucked away, out of sight but still within reach.

Buffets bring style as well as storage. They can be coordinated with occasional tables and dining furniture for a cohesive look, adding to the sense of order in your home. They are useful for filling wall space, making a large room feel less empty. Plus they are easy to accessorise — place ornaments or table lighting on top or hang a picture above to create a stylish alcove.

Sideboards generally include drawers and cupboard space and typically feature two, three or four sections. The more sections there are, the more space the piece will take up in your home, but the more it will be able to store.

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Display cabinets

Display cabinets are one of the most versatile kinds of storage. They can feature glass doors, opaque doors or even no doors at all, and include cupboards, drawers, shelves and storage compartments. Some will have similar features to shelving units, while others are geared more towards crockery, cut glass, drinks glasses and ornaments. There are so many possible storage combinations that it's a good idea to go into your display cabinet search with a specific function in mind. This will also help you to determine what size of cabinet will be most appropriate for your room.

  • If you want to show off a collection of ornaments, crockery, awards, photos or souvenirs, a glass cabinet is ideal. The glass doors will reduce the amount of dust that accumulates around your items and keep items from being knocked off — perfect for valuables.
  • A cabinet with opaque doors is a good choice for a room that sees a lot of sunlight. Fabrics and paintwork exposed to sunlight will fade over time. Opaque doors will protect your items and keep them looking good for longer. An opaque display cabinet also allows you to maintain some privacy, and choose who to show off your collection to. This also makes it a good option for families, as cherished items are not on constant display to grab children's attention. Finally, a display cabinet without glass doors will not produce glare and is easier to maintain because there is no glass to polish.
  • Open display cabinets, or cabinets without doors, will show off your items and make them easier to access. As they lack doors, however, they will need to be dusted more often to keep them looking their best.

A display cabinet with drawers allows you to organise smaller items and store them safely. Storage compartments may serve more as a design feature, but can give a display cabinet a mix of open and closed storage. Shelves allow you to store more items in your cabinet, while a cabinet without shelves will be able to store larger items.

Bedroom storage

A cluttered bedroom is a recipe for stress, broken sleep and, if nothing else, creased clothes! That's why it's so important to get the correct combination of bedroom storage. Wardrobes, chests of drawers, bedside tables and blanket boxes are all important forms of bedroom storage.

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Wardrobes

Wardrobes are for clothes that require hanging. If you own a lot of skirts, dresses, blouses, trousers, blazers, coats or shirts, this classic storage option will keep your clothing crease-free. Long items, such as dresses, may require a full hanging option, but for shorter items a gents robe or combination robe may suffice. Drawers are useful for keeping underwear, pyjamas or casual clothes, while a top shelf is perfect for storing fresh towels or bed linen. Because wardrobes can be multi-purpose, they can potentially replace other forms of bedroom storage, making them an excellent choice for a small bedroom.

Multi-purpose robes are not just for compact living, however. If you're looking for the ultimate all-in-one bedroom storage solution, you may want to consider a fitted wardrobe. These can be customised to your requirements, so you can select the perfect combination of hanging rails, storage compartments, drawers and more, in the right dimensions for your bedroom. They are often available in a selection of carcass and door finishes to complement your furnishings and come in a selection of sizes to suit your sleep space.

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Chests of drawers

Chests of drawers are useful for accessories and clothes you don't mind folding or rolling up. Typically, these clothes will be casual, such as t-shirts and jeans.

Different size drawers will better accommodate different items. A very shallow drawer is generally intended for jewellery. Wider, deeper drawers are better large items of clothing, or big collections of the same item — you will likely want all of your jeans to fit in one drawer, for instance, as this will be more convenient. Small drawers are best for smaller items such as underwear, makeup, hair and beauty products and hair styling tools such as straighteners and hairdryers.

When choosing a chest of drawers, be mindful of both the width and depth of the drawers. A medium sized drawer that is deep may fulfil your requirements just as well as a wider but shallower drawer. You should also consider how much space you have available: a tallboy takes up less floorspace than a wide chest and may be more suitable for a compact bedroom.

Chests of drawers may have drawers that are the same size or a combination of differently sized drawers. The more drawer sizes there are, the more varied your storage. Drawers that are the same size don't necessarily limit your options, however — you can accessorise your drawers with drawer organisers and drawer dividers to achieve your ideal storage combination.

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Blanket boxes

Blanket boxes or storage ottomans are an attractive bedroom accessory generally used to store extra bedding or spare towels. If you are a fan of throws, pillows and blankets, a blanket box will allow you to store these items easily when necessary.

A blanket box is also useful in a guest bedroom. Not only does it ensure you always have enough bedding for visitors, it also gives your guests the option of adding extra layers if they find they are too cold during the night. A blanket box can also serve as a toy box, although we would recommend choosing a box with a soft close mechanism to protect tiny fingers.

Some blanket boxes double up as benches, creating additional seating in your room — perfect for getting dressed in the mornings.

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Bedside tables with drawers

Bedside tables are very useful first thing in the morning and last thing at night. They are a good place to put things you wish to access easily from the comfort of your bed, such as books, glasses, drinks, phones and remote controls. You can also place a table lamp on top of the bedside for additional lighting.

Generally, it's more inconvenient not to have a bedside table, so having a bedside table with storage simply makes this small but valuable piece of furniture even more useful. Since bedside cabinets contain small drawers, they can either be used to store underwear or items you would otherwise keep on the table top.

Single beds are generally accessorised with one bedside, while double beds, kingsize beds and super king beds typically have a bedside on either side. Choosing bedside tables with storage over bedsides without storage means a potential gain of six small drawers in a double or master bedroom.

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Bookcases and shelving units

Bookcases come in a lot of different shapes, sizes and styles. When making your choice, it's best to think about what you would like to store in it, as this will impact the height of your shelves and, by extension, the amount you can potentially store. DVD and Blu-ray cases, for instance, tend to have similar heights and widths, and are not especially tall, so you can store these on narrower shelves. If you have adjustable shelves, you may even be able to squeeze in an additional shelf.

Paperback books generally follow a similar rule to DVDs, albeit with a bit more variation. However, craft books, textbooks, reference books, cookery books, children's picture books and hardbacks can all vary much more in terms of width and height. If you are hoping to store these kinds of books, you may need to opt for taller, deeper shelves to make sure everything fits comfortably. A double deep bookcase is a good choice here.

If you have a mixture of books, look out for options with a taller bottom shelf. This shelf is intended for large or irregularly sized books, giving you the best of both worlds. As larger books and hardbacks are heavier, having these on the bottom shelf will help to stabilise your unit (hence why you should work from bottom to top when filling it).

Do you want the unit to be for storage or for show? Many modern shelving units have striking symmetrical or asymmetrical designs with spacious shelves and compartments. These function more as open display cabinets, allowing you to store any combination of photos, plants, ornaments, folders and books. What you lose in storage space, you gain in style. Backless options also double up as attractive room dividers, separating your living space more effectively.

The overall dimensions of your unit will depend on your storage needs and the space you have available. Tall options make better use of wall space, while shorter alternatives provide an accessible extra surface, potentially replacing a sideboard or bedside table. A narrow piece will take up less floor space and is a good option for compact living. If your collection of books or DVDs is extensive, and you have the room, you may want to pick something tall and wide that will offer maximum storage.

You should also consider who is using the furniture and how. In a child's room, it's better to choose a low bookcase with one or two shelves. This is harder to topple and allows your children to choose books for themselves at bedtime. On the other hand, a large, tall option, fixed safely and securely to the wall, will have shelves that small, sticky fingers can't reach, providing a safe place for rare, delicate or cherished books in a family home.

What storage do you require?

What storage will you need after your spring clean? To browse our storage furniture, visit one of our showrooms or explore our collection online.

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