The One Space for Storage You’re Probably Not Using

updated May 4, 2019
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(Image credit: Hayley Kessner)

I’m always interested in what the kids these days are doing in their dorm rooms. Yes, I realize that statement makes me sound like a geriatric. But seriously, were there ever so many dorm-dedicated brands and options ten—even five—years ago? I look at Instagram, lookbooks and big box circulars longingly. But you know what? There are some great storage ideas and products for the rest of us disguised in all that college ‘ish. Ya feel? Er, I mean, case in point: this Simple by Design Over the Bed Space Saver. While it reminds me a little bit of those kinda creepy over-the-toilet cabinets, I have to admit, it’s a good idea to put all that blank wall space to work. With a coupon, this one from Kohl’s would set you back about $50 bucks, and you can’t put a price on organization, people. Believe me. I might not do a unit like this in my own space, but seeing it got me to thinking, what could I be doing for more storage in my bedroom above my bed? Art is great, but it isn’t exactly holding my collection of vases. Or houseplants for that matter.

Feast your eyes on the simple, single over bed shelf above. It’s basically just a slab of wood lacquered white, and yet, it’s a plant stand, an interchangeable art ledge, and a place to drape string lights when you want a little ambiance. Brilliant!

(Image credit: Hayley Kessner)

A floating shelf works in a straight up kiddie space, too. Again, it’s a place for artwork, decorative accessories and even a toy or two. Just don’t put anything up there that you think your little one might fall trying to grab.

(Image credit: Melanie Rieders)

Of course, you can also double up on over-bed shelves, as evidenced in this NYC studio. I love the idea of putting your books up there. Or even diplomas? If you’ve bothered to frame them, you should find a place for them.

(Image credit: Cathy Pyle)

Real talk though—if you’re worried about bopping your head, or worse, having stuff fall down on you while you’re sleeping, just go high and tight, to the ceiling, that is, with your over the bed shelving. I also like the kind of exaggerated, very visible brackets. They make me feel safe while adding a little more visual interest to this white-on-white set up. Bonus points for also providing a surface on which to clip a reading light.

(Image credit: Minette Hand)

Sure, this shelf situation is more decorative than purely for storage, but collections have to go somewhere. Jury is out on whether this would be a total dust trap for your artisanal pottery or not, but I like the space-utilizing sentiment and the artsy mix seen here.

(Image credit: Stephanie Strickland)

No bed or space is really too small to do a shelf, if you like a decorating challenge. Here, the homeowner placed her twin bed in a nook, daybed style, and then ran a shelf for books along its side. Very crafty!

(Image credit: Cathy Pyle)

Okay, this isn’t pure over-the-bed storage, but it is an example of how to build shelving into the focal wall of a bedroom, and some of those shelves are technically over the bed. The point here is you shouldn’t be afraid of a built-in in a bedroom either. Storage is pretty much always your friend, even if it’s asymmetrical and part of a wall niche. And just like you shouldn’t worry about putting a bed in front of a window, you shouldn’t stress about parking one in front of a recessed wall either. Sometimes you have to just work with the architecture you’ve got.

(Image credit: Lauren Kolyn)

Why add something to the equation when you can get a two-for-one? That’s right. I’m talking about a headboard with built-in storage. The one from this Toronto home has closed and hidden storage for your things as well as a nice flat, over-the-bed perch for, you know, your cute little lamps.

Okay, so if these spaces have convinced you at all that over-the-bed storage might be worth trying, but you’re hesitant to put holes in your wall for straight up shelves, here are a couple more readymade over-the-bed storage options in addition to the Kohl’s one linked above.

(Image credit: Amazon)

Want closed storage for your bigger bed? Then this queen/full headboard featuring drawers just may be the answer.

(Image credit: Dorm Co.)

This particle board design offers two shelves and a more built-in vibe than something made of metal.

Astrid Bookcase Headboard at Target, $78.99

(Image credit: Target)

A surface to prop up against while reading—and a place to stash your books? Perfect.

*Re-edited from a post first published 11.03.2014 – B.M.