Here’s an Unexpected Spot to Find Some Extra Storage in Your Home

published Feb 1, 2022
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Credit: Liz Calka

When you think of storage solutions, your mind probably takes you to IKEA or The Container Store, right? Both retailers offer luxe-looking, elaborate closet units for less and all sorts of cubbies and baskets to corral clutter. But when it comes to keeping things neat in her own apartment, paper craft designer Aparna Sudhakar had a different idea, and it works like a charm.

Sudhakar and her husband, Simon, are both architects by trade and share a cozy, little 330-square-foot one-bedroom apartment in New York City. They’ve made the most of their place by maximizing wall space and coming up with crafty DIYs. “We’re a couple that loves to design and make things,” Sudhakar says. “The artsy, crafty items that my husband and I made for our space that add more character outnumber the things we store-bought.”

Both Sudhakar and her husband agree the bedroom is their favorite place in the entire apartment because of its abundance of natural light and highly-adaptable layout. While the place is small, the couple still managed to create a style they consider cozy, efficient, and organized. With limited space, they’ve gotten creative with storage, and my favorite of their out-of-the-box ideas is also in their bedroom… and in their firebox, to boot.

Instead of filling the inside of her non-functional fireplace with firewood or decor (I’ve seen everything from books to even disco balls!), she opted to use this space for storage. Since it’s next to the couple’s shared workspace, I can only imagine those stackable bins and drawers contain crafting supplies and other workplace essentials. Their strategic use of the firebox shows just how much they prioritize organization and having their things close but concealed, so visually, their small apartment still feels streamlined.

If you have a non-functional fireplace or want to consider a faux mantel in your space, you should! Don’t limit yourself on how to decorate it or what to place inside it either. That decision’s completely up to you, whether or not you want to stick a file cabinet inside, stacks of your favorite books, candles, or even a little space heater that looks like a kindling fire (so long as it’s safe and not a fire hazard in your space). “Your home should be a place you want to come back to for respite at any point of time, Sudhakar says. What better way to rest and recharge than in a tiny little corner like this, which works overtime for this NYC couple?