Eliminate Upper Cabinets in Adjoining Spaces
There’s a balancing act in any open floor plan between storage and hewing to the connection between spaces. When a living space flows into a kitchen, it’s best to eliminate any uppers that might block the view -- here, over the peninsula that divides the two areas. Instead, opt for extra cabinets in an island or closed storage that faces the living space.
Make Accents Moveable
Part of any good storage is its flexibility, and that's especially true in open floor plans. Even simple accents like this tray can make it easier to move things from room to room, or to stash odds and ends if needed.
Get Creative with Doorways
In some open floor plans, there are still marked transitions from one space to another. Those offer a good opportunity to include living space storage, especially around and over doorways. This expansive shelf unit isn't overly cluttered with items, making it less likely to overwhelm the room.
Turn a Wall into Storage
Located out of the main traffic flow, walls of storage are a great way to add shelves, drawers, and doors to an open floor plan without impeding the views from living room to other spaces. Consider dividing yours by threes with visual tricks or material shifts -- here, a black trim piece and open shelves -- in order to offer visual variety. If you can, plan space for space-hogging electronics in that wall of storage in order to keep from needing furniture for TVs, DVD players, and the like.
Make Storage Pretty
If you have an open floor plan, you can generally see a lot, no matter where you are in your house. That also means you have to be more thoughtful about how your storage looks -- sturdy wooden shelves in favor of plastic bins, pretty painted cabinet doors instead of temporary carts. Here, a mix-and-match approach to kitchen storage transforms open cabinets into display spots for charming, colorful pieces of oft-used dishware.
Be Thoughtful About Storage Height
When you’re adding storage to open floor plans, it’s important to be cognizant of how quickly doors, drawers, and cabinets can overwhelm a room, especially if they reach from floor to ceiling. Instead, consider stopping your storage short of ceiling height; you’ll gain loads of organizing and stashing spots while still allowing your floor plan to breath.
Try Flexible Furniture
Furniture that does or stores more than one thing is a practical addition to open floor plan storage. That includes side tables with two shelves instead of just one or coffee tables with drawers and multiple shelves that rolls. Try hidden-storage ottomans, which work for extra seating in a pinch, too.
Spice Up Details
Living in an open floor plan doesn’t eliminate the need for practicalities -- storage among them. There are HVAC grates to work around, as well as the more aesthetically minded desires of wall display. The best storage helps to solve multiple problems, much like this wall unit. Bigger-than-normal vertical trim pieces offer slim but creative spots for small-scale pieces, while decorative ceiling details hide air return units.
Integrate Storage with Design
Storage in open floor plans should never be an afterthought, but an integral approach to design decisions. Here, in order to include a family-focused work/homework station, the homeowners carved out a U-shape nook, chock-full of drawers, doors, and open shelves. It's a casual space that contributes to the retro-contemporary feel of the house with a patchworklike wallpaper grounded by white cabinets.
Hide Storage Nooks if You Can
The whole purpose of an open floor plan is to establish uninterrupted sight lines. But sometimes corners and nooks are OK to include and use to hide storage. Here, a short wall offers a good spot for the fridge in the kitchen area, but left a dead corner next to a door. Instead of wasting it, the homeowners created a pretty desk spot outfitted with built-ins that match the rest of the open floor plan’s traditional details.
Turn Awkward Areas to Your Advantage
Open floor plans prevent lots of room divisions -- a disadvantage for messy areas like mudrooms, which often beg to be closed off from the rest of the house. Instead of scrapping this necessary area entirely, look to your open floor plan for unwieldy spots that can serve storage purposes. Here, a corner got a slightly rounded storage unit, with just enough space to serve as an entry way drop for kids and adults.
Establish Continuous Banks of Storage
In open floor plans, it's OK to continue storage from one room to the next. It's a way to establish consistency in details. Here, trim and cabinets flow from kitchen to living area. For visual tricks to denote a change in room, slightly change the details, such as eliminating upper doors and adjusting the height of a countertop.