ARTICLE Penny Lewis IMAGES Blum, Scott Espie
London-based architect Anthony Hoete of WHAT-architecture says architects “are often guilty of aestheticising lifestyle” by neglecting storage. “A good house will have 30 percent of its volume occupied as storage”
The most cost-effective way to kick-start a storage overhaul sounds pretty obvious, but it will make the world of difference. Sort out your belongings and get rid of anything you don’t want or don’t need anymore. Sell, donate or bin items that are past their use-by date for you.
Go through your linen cupboard and separate out old tea towels, sheets and towels – they’ll be handy as rags and drop sheets for painting. Trawl through your kitchen cupboards for chipped crockery, burnt pans and plastic containers missing their lids. Discard or recycle anything that’s not useable and donate items which are serviceable but you never use.
After you’ve completed your home cleanse, we’ve put together some storage solutions, starting from $2,000 to help you keep your home in order.
If you’re not extending the footprint of your home, look at its existing dimensions and see where storage space can be eked out. “If your home has good-sized roof cavities, these can often be enhanced as storage areas with linings and flooring board and attic ladders for access,” says Wayne Gordon from Refresh Renovations.
Consider too, space under the upstairs eaves. It may not be accessible at the moment but talk to your renovation builder about opening up access to an otherwise dead space.
To extend your space and create a layout that provides better storage space expect to pay $60,000+.
There are also plenty of creative solutions available on a high-end budget. For just $10,000 - $15,000, you can change your garage layout into an ideal storage space. For full home, high-end renovations that seek to expand on space on storage, expect to pay $100,000+.
How much does it cost to improve my bedroom storage on a basic budget?
Businesses, such as Mitre 10, sell wardrobe organisers to store anything from jerseys, t-shirts and shoes to handbags. There are also inexpensive hooks to provide a home for belts, handbags, ties and scarves. Another trick is to use your home vacuum cleaner to “vacuum-pack” your items, for safe-keeping.
Drawer organisers work much the same as cutlery drawers do in the kitchen. Get your renovation specialist to build an organiser within the drawers where you keep your smaller items so that everything is visible at a glance.
Little changes can make a big difference in the bedroom. Installing pop-up power outlets can give you that little bit of extra space bedside tables and drawers. You can find them at PDL by Schneider Electric.
If the layout of your bedroom is limiting your storage, consider a basic bedroom renovation for approximately $30,000 - $60,000. If it makes your space easier to relax in, and find things in, it will be well worth it.
How much does it cost to add extra bedroom storage on a mid-range budget?
When considering bedroom storage, consider fitting customised joinery units into an existing space, rather than asking to construct built-in wardrobes or cupboards, says Wayne Gordon.
“Joinery units are generally more expensive, but they can save a lot of space because they’re constructed from Melamine or Melteca-type panels which are very strong, but don’t take up the amount of space that traditional timber-framed building work does.”
Talk to your renovation builder about including sliding shoe shelves into your wardrobe, as well as lined jewellery trays.
For voids above conventional wardrobe hanging space, go for pull-down wardrobe rails with a lever to pull your clothes down to you. It allows you to make use of that space that would otherwise be inaccessible.
A well-designed walk-in-wardrobe will significantly add to the storage space in your bedroom. Expect to pay $10,000+ to add this to your room.
If a built-in wardrobe isn’t an option for your bedroom, Meluka’s multi-functional open wardrobes are a fantastic alternative. Placing crates alongside your wardrobe is a helpful way to keep folded clothes or shoes together with the rest of your outfits.
If space is really at a premium, choose furniture that multi-tasks to save space. Hidden beds are available which convert to a desk for daytime use. Perfect for small spaces and studies. All you need to do is flick a switch and the desk pulls down to reveal a bed.
Alternatively, opt for a bed that offers plenty of underneath storage space. Underbed storage in children’s rooms provides plenty of space for a trundle bed - great for sleepovers.
How much does it cost to add extra storage to my bedroom on a high-end budget?
Entire rooms can be dedicated to clothes, shoes and bags, so if you have the budget to fit out a dressing room, embrace it! Both local and imported wardrobe systems are available, with both standardised components and bespoke elements. If you have $20,000+ to work with you can really turn your wardrobe into something special.
For a high-end wardrobe, you can get options like trays and drawers built-in with timber or glass fronts, pull-out shoe racks, trouser hangers and short hangers.
Custom made bed end storage is another lovely addition worth considering, and can serve as both a storage unit for bedding and a seat. Expect to pay a minimum of $2,000 - $3,000 for custom made storage units and furniture.
How much does it cost to improve my kitchen storage on a basic budget?
Clear containers in your pantry, such as Sistema or Tupperware, will allow you to see at a glance what they contain. Do regular clear-outs of your pantry and fridge to throw out any spoiled food or ingredients past their best.
Consider a butcher’s block in the centre of your kitchen if you have room. It will allow extra storage and bench space and can be moved aside when not in use.
Opt for pegboards with hooks and overhead racks, which will help you keep your kitchen utensils and pots and pans in order. Arrange them well enough and they can even look quite artistic.
How much does it cost to add extra kitchen storage on a mid-range budget?
“Slide-out racks can really maximise the use of narrow cupboards and really good kitchen design and innovative kitchen storage can often increase existing storage by 25 to 50 percent in my experience. People are often very pleasantly surprised with the increase of storage that new kitchen cabinetry can offer”, says Wayne Gordon.
If you are really in need of some extra storage space, adding a scullery could be the perfect solution. A mid-range kitchen scullery can be installed for approximately $5,000. Alternatively, you could extend your kitchen and enjoy new built-in storage solutions for around $10,000.
How much does it cost to add extra storage to my kitchen on a high-end budget?
For a high-end kitchen storage solution, you can include drawer inserts which help to separate your draw space, cutlery drawers with multiple compartments so that even your parfait spoons will have a home, pull-down systems for wall units, pull-out and swing-out pantries and corner storage units for your hard-to-reach items.
So that your kitchen isn’t an overwhelming mass of cabinetry, many renovation builders will integrate appliances and cupboards behind doors designed to look like wall panels. Remember though that the simpler the finished result looks, the more complicated it was to achieve. Apparent simplicity can be costly as the design and workmanship need to be top-notch.
How much does it cost to add extra storage in my laundry and bathroom?
For high-end storage in your laundry think about including pull-out hampers and built-in ironing boards. Many high-end laundries can rival kitchens for their size, scale and finishes palette. If you’re talking to a renovation builder who’s also designing your bathroom, ask them about what ideas they have for your laundry. Often these wet areas will have similar tapware, tiles and benchtop surfaces.
If you’re particularly tight on space, opt for a front loading washing machine so that you don’t need to allow clearance for a top-loading lid to open. Then your dryer can stack on top of your washer. If you live in a small apartment or granny flat, then you might like to consider a combination washer and dryer to take up even less room. You can purchase these for around $2,000-$2,500.
How do I improve storage in my home with a basic budget?
Make sure your furniture suits the space you have. There is no point keeping a 10-seater dining table if it’s for one or two people with no children living with you. If you love having dinner parties, opt for an extendable dining room table. You won’t necessarily need a full contingent of dining chairs, either. Stackable stools or bench seats can be brought out of storage when you have guests over.
No guest bedroom? Make sure your lounge seating does double-duty by having a sofa bed. Use a wooden chest as a coffee table where all the bedding and blankets can be handy but out of sight when not in use.
Gone are the days of CD racks – digitise all your music and listen to if from your phone or iPod in a docking station. Do a stocktake of all the cords, plugs and leads gathering dust in your entertainment unit. Get your renovation consultant to install a wall-hung TV for a more streamlined and spacious living area.
To really make the use out of your home’s available space, think about whether your garage could be better utilised as a storage space. Garage renovations start from $3,000+.
How do I improve storage in my home with a mid-range budget?
Sofas with hidden storage can really make a difference if your cupboard space is limited. Sofas that convert into a bed, and have under-seat storage, provide an ideal hiding place for bedding. Or you can even use the space for bulky items like ironing boards and vacuum cleaners.
Garages are also a blessing when it comes to storage space. If you have a garage and a $7,500+ to work with, you could transform your garage into an organised storehouse.
How do I improve storage in my home with a high-end budget?
On a high-end budget, you can get creative and design cabinetry to suit your taste and living areas. Take the bespoke route and get something custom-made.
Aren’t keen on televisions dominating your living room? No problem, get a cabinet made that hides the TV when it’s not in use. If you want to watch a programme, push a button and the TV rises up majestically from its cabinet.
For the ultimate storage solution, there is always the option of a loft conversion or second storey addition. This form of additional space can be achieved within the $200,000 - $450,000+ range.
Can I transform unusable spaces into storage rooms?
Wayne Gordon says a sometimes unexpected bonus of upgrading your hot water system is that it often completely frees up space in your existing hot water cupboard. There’s no need for a bulky hot water cylinder if you install a continuous gas hot water heating system mounted in a ceiling space or on the outside of the house.
“As hot water cupboards are often close to main plumbing areas, such as the kitchen, bathroom or laundry and often back onto an existing linen cupboard, the newly available space from removing a cylinder can either create an entirely new linen cupboard, or significantly enhance an existing one.”
If you would like to discuss options and ideas for your next renovation project, please use the enquiry form alongside to provide us with your contact details. We will get in touch with you at a time that suits you to discuss your project. If you would like to provide us with more information about your project, we have a more comprehensive enquiry form on our "Get in touch" page too.
*Costs are rough estimates and are subject to change. For a fixed-quote accurate to your specific project, please consult your local Refresh Renovations specialist. All Refresh Renovations franchises are independently owned and operated.