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DIY Solutions to Maximize Vertical Space in Every Room

If your home feels cluttered, it's time to look up.

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Vertical storage in the kitchenAndreas von Einsiedel/Getty Images

Think Vertically

If the square footage of your home has you feeling boxed in, it’s time to raise your sights — literally. DIY vertical storage projects and solutions can help you unlock hidden storage space in every room of your house.

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Storage wallFamily Handyman


The garage is one of the most clutter-prone spots in your home. Building a customized garage storage wall lets you create exactly the storage you need to fit your stuff. Or get things completely out of the way with an overhead DIY garage ceiling sliding storage system.

If you prefer to go pre-made here, check out this garage wall storage solution with metal pegboards that allows you to use slotted brackets, hooks and shelves as well as magnetic accessories. It comes in lots of great colors, too.

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Build Mudroom LockersFamily Handyman


Even the smallest entryway can be transformed into an effective and organized mudroom with vertical storage. Building mudroom lockers allows you to stash lots of gear out of sight in a cabinet that looks good enough to put in a front hallway. Or go for a hardworking hall tree with storage bench with an updated look to match your decor.

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FH98DJA_01234LEAD bookcase with rolling ladderFamily Handyman

Living Room

The living or family room is a great place to follow the organizing principle of using open shelving as decor by displaying your favorite items. Classic floor-to-ceiling bookcases use every inch of vertical space, and a built-in ladder makes everything easy to access.

For a smaller project that’s trending now, make a ladder that serves as a shelf, or look for a pre-built leaning ladder shelf with a finish that matches your decor.

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tips for organizing your home under cabinet wine rackFamily Handyman


Your kitchen likely already has overhead cabinets, but are you using them to their full advantage? Adding a DIY bottle rack below your cabinets is just one way you can free up countertops by mounting easy-to-reach storage under your cabinets.

To make the most of your top shelves and over-cabinet areas, invest in an anti-slip foldable kitchen ladder that stores easily when not in use. It will help keep that high-up space accessible!

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murphy bed deskFamily Handyman

Dining Area

With a dedicated dining room, the entire space can be wasted if you aren’t in the habit of hosting formal dinners. Consider building a DIY Murphy bed and bookcase, which turns your dining room into an entertaining space or home office by day and pull double-duty as a guest room at night. (This DIY Murphy bed/desk option would clearly define it as an office.)

For a small eating area, try a space-saving table with storage shelves built right into the table legs.

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bathroom storage cabinet afterFamily Handyman


Building a bathroom cabinet between wall studs — like a medicine cabinet on steroids — extends bathroom storage without extending into your space. An over-the-toilet rack, or étagère, is another popular solution for creating storage out of wasted space.

A freestanding bathroom organizer, including a toilet paper holder and hooks, offers extra functionality without added drilling.

In the kids’ bathroom, a mesh organizer with multiple pockets can store bath toys and toiletries in one simple, quick-drying solution.

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DIY closet systemFamily Handyman


Avoid a rude awakening or possible serious injury by storing anything directly over your bed. Instead, make the most of the space over your bureau. (Tip: You can repurpose a desk organizer on top of a dresser.) Or try some DIY closet storage updates that maximize interior vertical storage and keep clutter out.

Install a wall sconce to free up your bedside table. Or try this narrow nightstand with a built-in lamp and lots of storage for an all-in-one solution.

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behind the door storage shelves laundry roomFamily Handyman

Laundry Room

A lot happens in a laundry room’s small space. To help it all unfold, make the most of wall space that usually goes to waste by building slim behind-the-door shelves to store cleaning supplies without crowding or tipping.

The space over your washer and dryer is another must-use piece of real estate for shelves, a flip-down laundry folding table or a freestanding laundry room shelf unit.

Helen Newling Lawson
Helen Newling Lawson is a published garden writer and freelance content marketing professional. She is a lifelong gardener, originally from central New Jersey but now digging in Georgia clay. She has been a University of Georgia Master Gardener Extension Volunteer since 2002 and earned the Georgia Certified Plant Professional certification in 2017. A regional director of GardenComm, the Association of Garden Communicators, Helen is a contributor to magazines including Country Gardens, Birds and Blooms, Georgia Magazine, Nursery Management, State-by-State Gardening, and Atlanta Parent. She has also developed content for clients in a range of industries, from tech to the green industry. She enjoys photography, often supplying her own images for editorial use, and hikes and does yoga in her spare time.