As much as I love the ways we’ve prettified and decorated our Handmade Home, I’d have to say it’s the functional changes that have made the most significant improvements. Our house isn’t that big, but we squeeze every inch of space out of it.
Here are five of the most popular space-saving DIYs I’ve completed over the last couple of years of My Handmade Home . . .
Cut an end table in half to get two nightstands (that take up less room than bulky store-bought ones).
This is a quick project if you have a circular saw handy. Just draw a straight line down the middle of an end table and saw it in two.
Then you can paint or stain the two skinnier tables and secure them to the wall.
Down the road if you don’t need the nightstands, try screwing them together and stacking them to make a unique bookcase.
It took me years to get our front hall closet to a place where it was functional and attractive. The key was removing the hanging bar and installing plenty of hooks for jackets, bags and hats. I also installed low bins on the wall (technically they were dish drainers, I think) for the kids to use for their shoes, hats and mitts.
The final phase was changing the bifold doors into French doors that opened wide. That left us with even more space for hook storage.
Our daughter’s cramped bedroom just didn’t have enough room for her furniture and toys to spread out comfortably. So we designed and built a loft bed that stretched from wall to wall — giving her an elevated play area in the space left after her mattress ended.
We also turned the entire area below the bed into a cottage-style playhouse, complete with swing-out doors with their own little curtains. Even though it’s a massive piece of furniture, it was like we doubled the size of her bedroom by giving her a second level.
Our fridge wasn’t wide enough to fill the gap left for it, so what did we do with those wasted few inches of space? We built a tall, skinny pull-out pantry on wheels.
It stores tons of spices, bottles, boxes and packages in that 6” wide nook, and helps us manage our limited cabinet space.
We don’t have a guest room in our three-bedroom, four-member house. What we do have is a daybed in our basement playroom, and it wasn’t feeling very guest-y — just like a bed stuck in the middle of toy chaos. It was also a pain to drag bedding and towels down two flights of stairs whenever we had company.
So I snagged a hand-me-down dresser, gave it a cool paint colour and new hardware, and used it to create a “guest room in a box.” When we don’t have guests, the drawers hold the sheets, quilts and pillows for the daybed — along with a hairdryer, hangers and travel-sized toiletries.
Most of the drawers get emptied when I make the bed just before our company arrives, and then they have a nice place to unpack their suitcase. It also keeps that corner of the room feeling more like a guest space, rather than a toyroom.
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