Finding all the nooks and crannies for creative storage or workspace is a challenge faced by every homeowner. No matter how carefully you planned your home, there will be a moment that you wish you had just a little bit more storage or a place to spread out a project away from all the other projects you have spread out.

Here is the secret that every builder knows. Your home has all sorts of hidden possibilities behind walls, under stairs, in ceilings and even along hallways that can be transformed for just the storage need you happen to have. And every decorator knows that smart choices in furnishing can expand storage dramatically.

Photos below show how log and timber homeowners have made use of space.

Back Door Clutter – Consider installing cubbies and plenty of coat hooks just inside the back door. Having places to dump all the backpacks, jackets, ball gear, purses and shoes keeps these items out of the higher use areas  of the house. This homeowner also added a pet feeding station and a changing adjacent to the bathroom for those coming in from the lake or from hunting.

Under the Stairs – The Cupboard Under the Stairs at 4 Privet Drive, Harry Potter’s address for the 10 years he lived with the Dursley’s before his arrival at Hogwarts. Every stairwell may not hide a Harry Potter-style bedroom, but it does hold space. Whether you remake the under stairwell into creative bookshelves, storage hidden by a sliding barn door or an office nook, it is a source of square footage that can be used. It can also save space in other areas of the house by housing the HVAC return or a water heater.

Bonus Rooms (above) – The obvious space that you can create by finishing attics, basements and areas above the garage makes for one of the most dramatic changes in square footage for everything from adding bedrooms and baths to creating home offices and play space. The timber frame room pictured above will soon be a “man cave,” according to the homeowner.

Utility Rooms – Significant storage for utility areas can be found just by putting the washer and dryer on storage pedestals and installing a drop down ironing board. This homeowner designed storage cabinetry to include a luxury dog bed.

Look Up – Space between a vaulted ceiling and  interior walls is an overlooked source of unexpected storage. This homeowner used vintage baskets to add character while providing additional storage space.

Use the Hall – Wider hallways can become wonderful project space when you install narrow work desks, charging stations for electronic devices and shelving. Adding cabinet doors allows you to close off any clutter from your hallway work stations. One homeowner (left) used an Amish-made table in the main floor hallway to display some favorite things, while another homeowner (right) maximized space in a small loft by fashioning a closet-sized home office.

Shelves double as steps to attic space.

Beyond the Drywall in the Ceiling (left)  – There is a surprising amount of drop space between the drywall ceiling in a room and floor or roofline above it. A child’s bookshelf doubles as sturdy steps to a finished attic “clubhouse” for this homeowner’s sons.

Under the Kitchen Counter – Forget the quarter round and footing trim for kitchen cabinets! Kitchens are hiding unused spaces under the cabinets in what can become storage for baking sheets, trays and other cooking items. These small easy-close cabinets can match your kitchen cabinets and can have open/close drawers that you operate with a toe tap. 

From Wayfair is a flatware drawer that hangs under the upper cabinets.

Sloping Rooflines – Sometimes it is less about storage and more about wanting spaces to feel bigger. The under the eave sloping ceilings are frequently sealed off with drywall to make room heights even. By removing the artificial wall, you can create space for storage behind closets built against the slope or just make the room feel so much bigger by using the extra space under the roof slope.