Open Storage Ideas Creative & Functional Storage Designs

SEO Meta Description: Discover creative and functional open storage design ideas to maximize your space. Learn expert tips on using shelves, baskets, racks and more for clutter-free organization.


Open storage has become increasingly popular in modern home design. Unlike closed cabinets or drawers, open storage celebrates displayed items as decor while keeping them easily accessible. The key to pulling off an open concept is organization. Thoughtfully designed open storage provides a place for everything, avoiding messy clutter.

Creative open storage ideas incorporate racks, shelves, baskets, hooks and other functional elements. Mixing and matching these components creates visual interest. Coordinating storage with your home’s aesthetic makes the system look cohesive. When done right, open storage looks artistic and intentional.

This article will explore creative and functional open storage ideas to maximize your space. Whether you want to organize a closet, pantry, laundry room, office, kitchen, bathroom or other area, these tips will help inspire your design. Read on to learn how to beautifully display your belongings and eliminate disorder with smart open storage solutions.

Clever Ideas for Open Shelving

Installing open shelving is one of the most popular open storage solutions. Shelving provides plenty of flexible display space perfect for organizing items of all kinds. Follow these clever tips for setting up stunning and useful open shelves:

Mix and Match Materials

One trendy approach is mixing and matching shelves made from different materials. For example, combine wooden shelves with metal brackets. Or try transparent acrylic shelves on visible metal sides. Using two or three complementary materials creates visual interest through contrasting textures.

Incorporate Baskets

Baskets act like drawers for open shelves. They conceal messy items inside while contributing to the overall aesthetic. For a cohesive look, choose baskets that coordinate with your shelf style. For industrial shelves, try fabric baskets or metal mesh. Wire baskets suit modern shelves. Neutral natural rattan baskets work for any design.

Add Lighting

Install lighting above or beneath open shelves to illuminate displayed items. LED strip lighting attached under shelves creates a stunning glow. Sconces or track lighting above shelves shines light directly on objects.

Style with Plants

Work greenery into open shelf displays to soften the look. Set potted plants on shelves or hang vines from above. The natural elements breathe life into the storage system.

Build a Bookshelf

Books are ideal for open display. Building custom shelving sized to fit books eliminates wasted space. Style books vertically, horizontally or a mix. Add bookends to keep upright books neat.

Hang Ladder Shelves

Ladder shelves mounted on a wall resemble a ladder. Stagger shelves at increasing depths for dimensional appeal. Lean and mount a real wood ladder for rustic charm. Paint or stain it to match your decor.

Creative Open Cabinet Storage

Open cabinets allow you to see inside while keeping contents clean and dust-free. Try these tips for integrating open cabinetry storage:

Glass-Front Cabinets

Glass-front cabinets showcase dishware, glasses or decorative items. Built-in cabinets maximize space, or opt for a movable glass-front hutch. Install interior lighting to create a beautiful glow.

Plate Racks

Plate racks store dishes upright in plain sight. Choose mounts that allow you to stagger plates at different levels for a cascade effect. Incorporate additional racks or shelves for cups and bowls.

Cabinet End Panels

Take advantage of the end panels inside cabinetry. Mount them with hardware bins, knife blocks, pan racks and other functional fixtures. It allows you to utilize every square inch of space.

Back-of-Door Storage

The back of cabinet doors often gets overlooked. Use hooks, racks and caddies to hold kitchen tools, cleaning supplies, pantry goods and more. You’ll gain access to storage space that would otherwise go unused.

Open Display Hutches

Display hutches showcase items in an enclosed glass or open-air case. Use one to show off dishware and decorative objects in your dining room. Or organize hobby supplies in a craft room hutch.

Functional Kitchen Open Storage

The kitchen often ends up disorganized chaos. Appliances, cookware, pantry items and more tend to spread out over every surface. These clever ideas implement functional open storage specifically for keeping kitchens tidy.

Pot Racks

Pot racks free up precious cabinet space by storing pots, pans and lids vertically. Choose hanging racks, ceiling mounts or wall-mounted versions. Install near the stove for easy access while cooking.

Utensil Crocks

Keep cooking utensils at your fingertips in stylish crocks. Choose ceramic, copper or glass containers in various sizes and shapes. Counter-height crocks are convenient by the stove.

Open Shelves

Mount open shelves in place of upper cabinets to display dishes, glasses and pantry goods. Stagger shelves at different heights for dimension. Under-shelf lighting illuminates items.

Rail Systems

Rail systems with adjustable hooks allow ultimate flexibility. Hang mugs, utensils, pots or ingredients. Reconfigure hooks as needed to accommodate different items. Systems mount to walls or ceilings.

Wine Racks

Wine racks keep bottles orderly in open view. Mount them to walls, under cabinets or on the countertop. Choose between metal utility racks or ornamental wooden holders. Display glasses atop the rack.

Fruit Bowls

Keep fresh fruit visible and accessible in stylish bowls or baskets on your countertop. Glass, ceramic and woven bowls corral fruits and discourage them from rolling.

Magnetic Strips

Install magnetic strips to neatly store knives and small metal utensils. Choose strips that blend with your decor. Keep them by the stove for easy access while cooking.

Open Shelving Island

An open island fitted with shelving creates storage and surfaces for meal prep. Try movable grid shelving to customize configurations. Or build fixed Shaker-style shelves for a timeless look.

Creative Bathroom Open Storage Ideas

The bathroom tends to accumulate toiletries and tools that easily get disarrayed. These clever tips help maximize open bathroom storage:

Ladder Shelves

Lean ladder shelves against a wall to display rolled towels, toiletries or decor. Try positioning two ladders facing each other to create an open shelving unit.

Wall-Mount Medicine Cabinet

A wall-mount medicine cabinet above the vanity provides open storage for toiletries. Choose a cabinet with shelves and hooks to maximize space. Install lighting inside for visibility.

Wire Shelving Unit

Freestanding wire storage units work well in a bathroom. Use shelves to neatly store extra toilet paper, towels, cleaning products and personal items. Place a unit near the vanity or toilet.

Floating Wall Ledges

Install floating ledges on bathroom walls to display decor or rolled towels. Choose ledges wide enough to use decorative baskets that conceal messy items.

Caddies Over Toilet

Make use of wasted wall space by mounting caddies above the toilet. Store extra rolls of toilet paper or magazines in wall-mounted caddies. Or try corner-mounted triangular caddies.

Towel Bars and Racks

Incorporate open towel bars and racks for functional storage. Towel ladders mounted to the wall add spa-like style. Try double towel bars that allow folded towels to be stacked.

Clever Kids’ Room Open Storage

Kids accumulate an endless array of toys, games, books and art supplies. Staying organized can be a challenge. Implement these functional open storage ideas in your kids’ rooms:

Cube Organizers

Modular cube storage units work wonders in kids’ rooms. Arrange cube bins to store toys, clothes, books, art supplies and more. Labeling bins keeps kids organized. Natural canvas bins look stylish.


Turn a blank wall into functional open storage with a pegboard. Hang pegs, shelves, baskets and hooks to organize kids’ items. Pegboards allow you to easily rearrange components.

Bookcase Headboard

Choose a bookcase headboard for open bedside storage. Bookcase headboards provide shelves to store books, alarm clocks or decor. Some designs even have built-in lights.

Toy Hammocks

Toy hammocks mount to the wall or ceiling to clear floor clutter. Store stuffed animals, balls, cars and other toys in mesh hammocks. Kids can easily access toys but they remain off the floor.

Wall-Mount Drying Racks

Kids generate endless art projects and crafts. Wall-mounted drying racks allow projects to dry while open storage keeps paper neat and out of the way.

Chalkboard Wall

Designate a wall as a chalkboard to contain creative messes. The chalkboard wall doubles as interactive decor. Use chalk rails at the bottom to hold chalk and erasers.

Clever Laundry Room Open Storage Ideas

The laundry room tends to attract mounds of clutter. Overflowing hampers, messy detergents and tools like irons clutter up tight spaces. These tips maximize open storage for laundry rooms:

Wall-Mount Drying Racks

Clear counterspace by mounting retractable drying racks to the wall. Fold up racks when not drying clothes. Some racks have a built-in ironing board.

Shelving Above Machines

Install open shelving above washer/dryer units to utilize vertical space. Use shelves to neatly store laundry detergent, dryer sheets and cleaning tools.

Laundry Sorting Station

Designate a laundry sorting zone for dirty clothes using a stand-alone unit or wall-mounted slat system with bins. Sort lights, darks, delicates and other loads.

Magnetic Tool Bar

Adhere a magnetic tool bar to the wall to store irons, laundry hooks and other metal tools. The magnetic strip keeps tools handy but off the counter.

Counter Spanning Rack

Install an open rod rack above the laundry counterspace. Slide hangers across the rod to store pressed clothing waiting to be put away. It keeps the clothing wrinkle-free.

Wall-Mount Ironing Board

Save floorspace with an ironing board that mounts to the wall or inside a cabinet door. Look for sturdy metal boards that lock in place when unfolded.

Clever Garage Open Storage Ideas

The garage tends to become a congested catch-all space. Yard tools, sports gear and hardware items end up scattered about. Try these tips to neatly organize garage clutter with open storage:


Line garage walls with pegboards to hang tools in plain sight. Outline tools with chalk so you can easily replace them correctly. Add shelves and baskets for small items.

Ladder Tool Rack

Screw a retired ladder horizontally to the wall. Then hang garden tools from each rung to clear floorspace. Use the ladder’s incline to separate long and short tools.

Wall-Mounted Yard Tool Rack

Wall-mounted tool racks provide designated spots for brooms, rakes, shovels and trimmers. Mount near the garage access door for convenience. Some racks include hooks for hoses.

Sports Storage

Utilize vertical space to store sporting goods. Shelving racks allow you to neatly stand golf clubs, baseball bats, hockey sticks and more. Use hooks to hang bicycles overhead.

Utility Shelving

Utility wire shelving units organize hardware supplies, automotive fluids and other garage items. The open shelves allow you to easily grab items while keeping them off the floor.

Hose Hangers

Neatly wind hoses and hang them from wall-mounted hooks near outdoor spigots. Choose circular hangers to coil hoses or straight tracks for extending hoses.

Clever Mudroom Open Storage Ideas

As the transition space between indoors and outdoors, mudrooms easily get overloaded with clutter. Conquer the clutter with these handy open storage solutions:

Wall Hooks

Use wall hooks to hang coats, bags and umbrellas near the entryway. Stagger hooks at different heights to accommodate different items. Choose hooks with an aesthetic that matches your decor.


Individual lockers provide a spot to stash everyone’s belongings in a busy household. Choose lockers with hooks and shelves to store and organize coats, shoes and bags.

Slat cubbies

Slat cubbies mounted on a wall neatly store shoes off the floor. Consider open shoe cubbies or ones with fabric curtains to conceal messy piles. Position near the entry door.

Bench with Storage

An entryway bench provides seating to take shoes on and off. Look for benches with lift-up lids or built-in shelves to hold items. Top the bench with baskets for extra storage capacity.

Wall-Mount Mail Organizer

Mounted mail organizers by the entry keep mail from piling up. Choose sorters with hooks to hang keys right where you need them. Open bins neatly corral envelopes.

Coat Trees

Coat trees stand in a entryway corner to hold multiple coats and bags. The hooks keep items off the floor yet easily accessible. Look for compact expandable trees to save space.

Answering Your Open Storage FAQs

Implementing open storage solutions comes with lots of questions. Here are expert answers to your most frequently asked questions about open storage:

What are the benefits of open storage?

Open storage comes with many benefits compared to closed storage:

  • Displays items decoratively
  • Provides easy everyday access
  • Helps keep you organized since you can see everything
  • Makes the most of vertical storage space
  • Allows custom configurations as your needs change

How do I keep open shelves from getting dusty?

Limit dust on open shelving using these tips:

  • Arrange items to minimize exposed surfaces
  • Use containers like baskets or bins
  • Dust shelves frequently with a microfiber cloth
  • Install doors on some of the lower shelves
  • Use air purifiers in the home

What should I avoid storing on open shelves?

Certain items are not recommended for open shelving:

  • Valuables or irreplaceable items
  • Paper products that can yellow
  • Foods or medicines that need darkness
  • Personal documents to avoid prying eyes
  • Items that can leak like shampoo bottles
  • Anything that requires climate control

Where are some good places to add open storage?

Open storage works well in these home areas:

  • Living room: Media components, books, decorative objects
  • Dining room: Dishes, glassware, servingware
  • Kitchen: Dishes, cookware, pantry goods
  • Bathroom: Towels, toiletries, cosmetics
  • Bedroom: Books, hobby supplies, photos
  • Home office: Office supplies, books, printer paper
  • Kids’ rooms: Books, toys, art supplies
  • Laundry room: Cleaning tools, detergent, drying racks

What style of shelving works best for industrial decor?

For an industrial style, try these shelving ideas:

  • Solid wood planks on black metal brackets
  • Exposed brick walls with black wire shelving
  • Rustic wood crates stacked and staggered
  • Galvanized metal shelves and bins
  • Reclaimed barn wood shelves with metal accents
  • Concrete and wood mixed


Implementing open storage throughout your home allows you to neatly organize belongings while displaying decor. The key is using functional and creative storage solutions tailored each space. Mixing and matching shelf styles and materials creates cohesive designs.

Hopefully the ideas in this article sparked inspiration for your own open storage projects. Properly executed open storage not only minimizes clutter, but also makes a design statement. Use these clever tips to craft beautiful, personalized storage that keeps your home tidy while reflecting your style.

How to Keep an Organized and Clutter-Free Home With Open Storage


Staying organized can feel like an ongoing battle, especially in today’s world where we tend to accumulate more belongings while living in compact spaces. Clutter easily takes over our homes, from overflowing closets and countertops to piles of paper covering desks. Implementing functional open storage is one of the best ways to keep a tidy home.

Open storage like shelves, racks, cubbies and pegboards allows you to see everything easily. This transparency makes it simpler to stay organized since you can visualize where items belong. Open storage also utilizes vertical real estate, taking advantage of oft-wasted space overhead. Thoughtfully designed open storage solutions make it effortless to preserve order.

This article will cover tips for using open storage to maintain an organized, clutter-free home. You’ll learn creative ideas for implementing meaningful organization systems throughout living spaces. With the right blend of practical open storage solutions, you can create a home that looks tidy at all times.

Clever Open Storage Tips for a Clutter-Free Home

Here are useful ideas for open storage that clears away disorder:

Entryway Organization Solutions

The entryway sets the tone for the rest of the home. Conquer clutter in this high-traffic area with open storage like:

  • A wall-mounted coat rack or coat hooks to hang outerwear
  • Cubbies, shelves or a bench to store shoes
  • Pegboard panels to hang bags, keys and hats
  • An open umbrella stand that can catch drips

Declutter Paper Clutter

Stay atop bills, mail and documents with open organizers like:

  • Wall-mounted letter holders near the front door
  • Desktop files sorted by category for easy access
  • Wire vertical files to store documents upright
  • Tabletop open sorter trays to corral papers

Organize Electronics and Media

Audio/visual components and accessories easily clutter tables and shelves. Maintain order with solutions like:

  • Media console with open cubbies and shelves
  • Wall-mounted power strip to reduce cord clutter
  • Desk-height media stand with open shelves
  • Cable box wall mounts and cord covers

Use Baskets for Flexible Storage

Baskets instantly tidy up shelves while offering flexible storage. Use fabric-lined baskets to:

  • Corral loose items like remote controls, toys or tools
  • Conceal unsightly items like cords and cleaning supplies
  • Create instant divisions on shelves
  • Quickly change storage needs by switching baskets around

Maximize Vertical Real Estate

Take storage up walls