8 Creative Shoe Storage Ideas That Double as Decor

published Apr 18, 2023
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Even if you don’t consider yourself a sneakerhead or a Carrie Bradshaw-level footwear fanatic, shoe storage is pivotal in organizing any bedroom or entryway. But it doesn’t necessarily have to look ultra-utilitarian — especially if it’s out in the open. That particularly goes for small spaces, where a lack of closet space may mean you have no choice but to put your shoes on display. 

Recently, though, more brands have gotten this stylish shoe storage memo, as seen with the beloved Open Spaces entryway rack or IKEA’s line of sleek shoe cabinet options. You can also upcycle existing pieces you already own for a low-budget DIY shoe shelf, cabinet display, or bookcase. Whether you’re experiencing closet overflow or just need some organizing inspiration, I rounded up eight shoe storage ideas below that allow your shoes to double as decor and can work all throughout your home.

Credit: Erin Derby

Bookcases Turned Shoe Displays

As seen in her New York City apartment tour, Apartment Therapy’s Executive Home Director, Danielle Blundell, turned an empty corner into a sneaker collection showcase. Here, she stacked two freestanding book towers from The Container Store side by side to put Nikes, New Balances, and more on their own compact, minimalist pedestals. 

Subtle Under-Bench Entryway Storage

In narrow entryways, maximize unused floor space by lining shoes up underneath a thin bench. Your favorite styles stay easily accessible and somewhat out of sight; plus, you have a spot to sit and slip them on before heading out the door — win-win-win! The longer the bench, the more pairs you can stash.

Stepladder Storage

If you have a home with a neutral-heavy color scheme, take advantage of a light-toned wooden step stool — it blends with your existing decor and works vertically to carve out multiple tiers of storage. Depending on the size, a piece like this hardly takes up much square footage, either, regardless of where it’s styled. 

Credit: Lana Kenney

Accessories Cabinet

This homeowner in Cape Town, South Africa, converted a passed-down chest — formerly used for cups, saucers, and crockery in her parents’ and grandparents’ homes — into a shoe “cupboard” full of heels and handbags. The glass cabinet doubles as a personalized bedroom display and an extra closet of sorts. 

Credit: Erin Derby

Gallery Wall-Adjacent

Because Christina Goldschmidt, head of product design at Etsy, turned the coat closet in her New York City condo into a small home office, she needed to prioritize an organized entryway area. That involved hanging Muuto Dots for coats and purses as well as a low-to-the-ground, wall-mounted shoe rack from handmade home brand onefortythree. Paired with the surrounding maximalist gallery wall, this setup practically blends in with the art. 

Decorative DIY Storage

Rather than downplaying your shoe organization solution, try turning it into a punchy focal point. This U.K.-based renter, for example, used black-and-white patterned adhesive vinyl to transform a simple IKEA BISSA shoe cabinet. This living room statement piece aligns with her colorful decorating scheme and doubles down on storage opportunities: shoes inside, and books or decorative objects stacked on top.

Credit: Anna Spaller

Open Shoe Bookshelf

This backless bookshelf exposes the blue wall behind it, lending the spacious storage piece an airy, open feel without cluttering the room. Grouping similar shoe styles together also accomplishes a slightly more organized and cohesive look, from top to bottom.

Floating Shelf Storage

Instead of filling a built-in closet nook with clothes, L.A.-based creative director Willow Rothbart took a decorative-yet-still-functional approach by installing a three-tiered, industrial-looking shelf. Even in a 500-square-foot studio apartment, this storage idea feels clever and well-designed, especially with footwear living alongside records, cameras, and a plant.