Bedroom Storage Secrets

19 min read Looking for clever bedroom storage solutions designed to fit into to your (modest) mid-century bedroom? These bedroom storage secrets will help you create a mid mod inspired space that meets your modern storage needs.

Bedroom storage in mid-century homes leaves a lot to be desired!

So how can you and your mid century bedroom have at all? Is it even possible to make a space with ample bedroom storage, peaceful sleeping area, de facto, laundry folding station, and maybe a little work from home spot too?

We probably ask too much of our mid century bedrooms, as they were intended to be quite simple spaces.

And they came with much smaller beds, back in the day.

But – here we are. Let’s talk about how you can make a most of your mid century bedroom, and I walk you through some of the. bedroom storage secrets that we use when we’re helping our clients tune and tweak their master plans.

Basic Mid-Century Bedroom Storage

What’s the most basic unit of mid-century bedroom storage?

It’s a closet.

The builder grade MCM bedroom has either a 2′ door closet or a 4-6′ wide double slider door closet. Inside it … nothing but a hanging rod and a single shelf. Spoiler alert: we can do a little better.

These two closet concepts take up the same space in the room but one … is a lot snazzier. Swipe to see what I mean!

But one offers more space, easier access, more variety of use and … just looks way snappier too!

Before you plan, ask yourself what you want

Don’t forget to take your personal habits and preferences into account before you start making plans.

Do you need bedroom storage that hides a mess?

Are you a naturally tidy person? Or do you organize your clothes in “neat” piles? How do you feel about that? How about your partner!

Think about whether you want to line your room with wide open surfaces or if you need storage you can close a door on.

Do you need to store your things outside the bedroom instead?

For a couple with very different sleep schedules, you may want to treat your bedroom like a sleeping-only space so that the person who’s up can slip out and get ready for their day without waking up a sleeping partner! Consider making a “light lock” between your bedroom and bath through a closed off dressing area.

Or do you like flow and wide open spaces?

If you’re not tiptoeing around a sleeping beauty, you might want to do away with interior doors between owners’ suite spaces. Instead of a walk in closet, what about a walk through dressing area or a walk by storage wall on the way to the bathroom?

Here are three different storage philosophies for the same couple to consider:

Small space Bedroom Storage tips

  • Expand the storage capacity of a simple “rod and shelf” closet but cutting out the walls surrounding the doors and filling in the entire space with built-in storage.
  • Drawers, or even cabinets with doors, allow easier access to everything at once than does a standard bedroom sliding door.
  • Borrow a closet from a room on the opposite side of your shared wall by “flipping” the opening. Move the other bedroom closet to another part of that room.
  • Run built-ins under windows to create a bench or dresser made of pull out storage that takes as little space as possible. Mount it off the wall to create a little tuck-away bonus storage beneath AND to help a small room feel bigger.
  • Hang bed-side tables from the wall or headboard as well to keep as much clear floor area as you can!

In Today’s Episode You’ll Hear:

  • How to maximize storage in a mini mid-century bedroom.
  • Why you don’t want a walk-in closet.
  • The power of personalized  storage. 

Listen Now On 

Apple | Google |  Spotify | Stitcher

Resources for spectacular bedroom storage

And you can always…

Read the Full Episode Transcript

Can you and your mid-century bedroom have it all? Is it even possible to make a space with ample bedroom storage, peaceful sleeping areas, de facto laundry folding stations and maybe even a little work from home space to? Well, we probably ask too much of our mid-century bedrooms as they were intended to be quite simple spaces, and they came with much smaller beds back in the day, but here we are.

So let’s talk about how you can make the most of your midcentury bedroom storage and I’ll walk you through one of the bedrooms storage secrets that we use when we’re helping our clients tune and tweak their master plans. Hi there. Welcome back to mid modern vinyl. This is the show of updating MCM homes, helping you match a mid-century home to your modern life. I’m your host Della Hansmann architect and mid-century ranch enthusiast, you’re listening to Episode 1304.

Before we get into today’s topic, I wanted to let you know that I just recorded a new mini class on the master plan method. You’re thinking Della you did that already? Yes, you can already watch my free masterclass planning a mid-century remodel to fit your life budget by clicking on the learn with us button right on our website. It’s the perfect introduction to the mid-century Master Plan thinking for people who want to plan their own update. So if that’s you, if you want to think through all the possibilities, answer all the questions necessary for a great remodel yourself, carve out an hour and watch that existing masterclass.

But the new mini class I just put together is meant for someone else. Of course, I’m still talking about how masterplan thinking will save your remodel. But this one is meant for people who would like someone else to plan that update for them. So if you were wondering, what would it be like to work with Midwest on a master plan for your home? This class is for you. Check out the three secrets of a regret proof made modern model on our work with us page.

In just 30 minutes, I’ll walk you through how to avoid the errors that most people make when they hire help to plan a remodel. And exactly how we can apply a master plan to your home update in three steps. The one where we gather all the info together, the one where we help you explore all your options, and the one where we set you up to call the shots. I’ve been planning to make this class available for over half a year. Raise your hand if you’re busy too. But now it’s ready. So if you’ve ever had questions about how we deliver a master plan, go check it out.

We would love to work with you on a master plan for your home so you can get the ball rolling on your remodel, whether that means just turning up the tempo on your saving and dreaming with real world pricing and budget numbers on hand or diving in ASAP to start transforming the house you have into the home you dream of. There’s a link to that. And of course, the transcript of this episode, which will also have some pretty pictures and some case study examples of bedroom storage at mid ma data midwest.com/ 1304.

Now in some ways, the changes that you make to bedrooms in most mid-century houses can be minimal because mid-century bedrooms are relatively simple and straightforward. If they’re working, you can leave them alone. Your classic mid-century bedroom has limited square footage. A typical ranch has three bedrooms, two smaller one larger, and while the larger one has a little more storage in an early mid-century house. This might just mean it has a pair of two foot wide closets with shelves and rods rather than one.

That’s what I’ve got going on in my 1952 ranch. Now in other cases that might mean a wall of built in storage with some cabinet doors of drawers framed nicely and finished with a wood stained to match what the original house had also in its bathroom and kitchen. That’s another classic we see in many of the mid-century houses we update, there will be at least one window in every bedroom. And sometimes in earlier mid-century homes. Those are designed with that high ribbon window style that’s meant to be easier to furnish around and provide more privacy, you can add a bed or a dresser underneath the window. And it doesn’t necessarily show up your whole torso while you change or go about your daily life.

So in that case, the simplest thing you can do in a bedroom is to find some fun vintage or modern reproductions simple mid-century furniture that can make up the difference in the storage that your closet can’t handle. Okay, but when space really at a premium when you’re stacking in kids, and more things, when you want to make a lot of an owner suite. Or when you want to make a real retreat in your bedroom area from the rest of the house. You want to take more concrete steps to make better use of your bedroom.

And well furniture, especially vintage bedroom sets can be a lot of fun. Today, I’m going to talk about the things you can do to build in changes to a bedroom to make it work more effectively for you.

Now, before you turn me out thinking, Della that’s nice, but I don’t have room for a walk in closet. So I’m screwed on storage no matter what. Or imagine I don’t know share in the movie Clueless picturing her computer generated outfit system and mechanical hanger delivery.

These are ways to immediately shut yourself down and feel out of luck but hang in there my friend stick with me while I tell you, you don’t need a mechanical hanger system to find your clothes. And I don’t even think you need or want a walk in closet. I’m actually going to tell you later about how my favorite closet style is a walk past closet.

But first before we can talk solutions, we have to do the first crucial step of the master plan, method and dream. When you think about bedroom storage, you’re going to have to ask yourself some master plan method questions, we focus on you first, because what you and your partner like and differ on in terms of bedroom storage really matters here.

And what you plan for yourself will determine your success or failure in liking the bedroom portions of your house. One question I regularly asked my masterplan clients is, be honest, are you tidy or messy with your closet storage areas, and there’s no judgment here. But we want to plan a design that works with your needs. If you’re the kind of person who’s just going to drop a pile of clothes onto a flat surface, you may not want to design a bedroom that focuses on the beautiful, pristine empty surfaces all around you.

That was a problem I solved for a masterplan client last summer. They actually already had an owner suite lovely built into their 1952 house. It was a generous bedroom with a big, beautiful window in front of the street looking out at trees, it had ample closet space and even a little dressing area plus a three quarter bathroom and a snug one.

Remember a few episodes ago, I was saying it’s rather rare to find an owner suite in a 1950s mid-century house. The exception to that rule is homes built for doctors I’ve worked with not one but two of these in the greater Madison area. And in both cases, they’ve had a couple of interesting quirks. They both have had, yes, a legitimate owner suite ensuite bathroom for the primary bedroom, larger in scale, and larger in scale across the board for their build date.

And in each of those homes built for a doctor, the house has actually had a consulting room built in, it was somewhere you could enter through the garage come into a small vestibule hit a doctor’s office with built in file storage system, and a separate three quarter bath that was not really usable or necessary or convenient for the rest of the house. Which leads me to ask for doctors seeing patients in their own homes in the 1950s. And so regularly that they needed architecture to solve their problem, because I’ve heard of house calls, but I’ve never heard of anyone going to the doctor’s house. Anyway, that’s not the point.

These clients in the former doctor’s house were a young family with three adorable tots who moved into this house as the second owners and now they’re making their own updates. When I first met them, they had two extremely small tots, and they were overwhelmed with Kid laundry. And later on in the process, we visited their master bedroom, they had added a third and even more joyful chaos to the house. They found that laundry always ended up dropped in piles and baskets over every flat surface in their bedroom. And they’re lovely but dated dressing area.

So when we started thinking about new layouts for that space, I didn’t even need to ask. They told me that one of them does not like to look at clutter, the other one is overwhelmed with the tasks of child raising and is going to leave some clutter around. So what we needed was a place to close any clutter away at the end of every day. We needed to be able to Yes, leave a couple of baskets of laundry ready to be sorted tomorrow, but not see them as the last thing at night when they went to bed. So the first thing we had was alright, get those things out of sight.

Now remember, I don’t love walk in closets. They’re space hogs. They’re filled with corners and corners are notoriously hard to put storage into in kitchens, bathrooms and closets. And I feel like a cheat this sort of thing a builder does because it’s easy to build an empty room that then a designer or homeowner will have to do something with rather than think about a more effective way to make beautiful storage that you see when it’s closed and put things away and do well when it’s opened up. So for this couple, we designed a couple of different options that had a lot of square footage, but always the ability to close away all the storage from sight from the bed.

We tested a walk through closet which was hidden behind a wall and also an extended storage line that thicken the wall between the bedroom and the hall outside for more sound privacy. But in the end, this design they chose was a lovely deep closet space along the back wall of the bedroom, which allowed space for hanging storage and drawer storage and some interior workspace where you could stack up laundry and progress it right there. Plus the old cedar closet turned into offseason clothing area. But at the end of the day, close all the doors and see just beautiful finish cabinetry floor to ceiling.

The result they chose was a handy region storage area they can always access with deeper storage and grab and go options. Plus a clean, tidy look with the slide of a panel perfect for their needs. Here’s another example. Just last month I was putting together another set of three potential owner suite options again for a house that had an owner suite and a large one, but a more simple design. It was just a very large bedroom with a longer by several feet closet.

the standard hanging around and shelf closet and a small three quarter bath with an awkward layout. Now as we put together multiple bathroom and bedroom schemes, some of them had bathrooms stealing space from the closet to get a little larger. Call flow and square footage. But I wasn’t really worried about that, because I knew we could put better storage inside the footprint of that bedroom than any of the closet space had already had with a clever use of built ins.

And the design that ended up capturing my attention most was one of my favorites, not a walk in closet, but a step in dressing area where you have the ability to step out of sight of the sleeping area and out of sight of the adjacent hallway. But be able to grab the things you want from Neat tidy interior storage space change in that room, and then walk right out. Sometimes a space like that a walk through dressing area gives you a bunch of advantages because it creates a smaller sleeping area.

Yes, sometimes a smaller, right sized sleeping area can be really nice. It also allowed us to move some of the layout of the room such that when you walked down the hallway toward their bedroom door, if the door was standing open, you weren’t looking right into their bedroom into their personal space. Instead, you’d see a corner that would give a little more privacy. This would give them the ability to step into the dressing area to pull things on set things down and go out and close the pocket door and then yet still have a peaceful and serene sleeping area smaller.

Yes, but pushed closer to the beautiful views that they had on two walls in a corner, looking out at a Verdun private landscaped backyard and side yard, which is really what they would want to face anyway. And the current layout of the bedroom didn’t allow them to put the bed on a wall that would look towards the windows.

When you’re thinking about storage. Think about how you can actually use increased storage options to improve the layout of the bedroom and think about how you can create a perhaps temporary not even a floor to ceiling wall that gives you a new headboard space. So you can orient your bed and the direction you would like to go as well. A two for one win.

Here’s another example from a client. Sometimes the storage needs of your bedroom are tied to other personalized dream phase questions about your sleeping area. For example, I recently worked with a couple who was rebuilding the entire owner suite because their house had built a strange 90s remodel that made a bathroom expansion that cut off space, even to have a large, hallway sized hall to the door you had to turn sideways to go into their bedroom door. Now this bedroom did have the best view.

But it didn’t have good access or good storage. So we were going to be rebuilding the room, the very odd hallway and the odd bathroom model all to give a better space that gave us a lot of freedom to think specifically about their needs. And when I asked them what they needed around sleeping privacy and storage, they had an interesting conundrum to share.

He is a night owl for his job. He works in the restaurant and entertainment business. And she’s an academic and a natural early bird who likes to rise with the dawn. They didn’t want separate bedrooms, but they wanted only sleeping space in their bedroom and the ability to step quietly around them with partner close the door and then do all dressing thinking and morning plans, ablutions and getting ready outside of that space so their partner can still snooze swiftly.

Now if this sounds like a situation you have, maybe just because one of you likes to stay up late and one wants to rise early or for job requirements or other lifestyle needs. Think about this. Think about not keeping your dressed for the day, bedroom clothes storage in the same space where your partner is sleeping. So for each of their schemes, we came up with a relatively snug bedroom oriented towards the beautiful view of the window with blackout curtains. And then a quick access to a dressing room that led to the bathroom for better sound privacy and light lock.

The opposite can also be true in another favorite project of mine, not worried about light privacy, you might want to think about having storage that only goes up above your head to five, six or seven feet but not all the way to the ceiling, and then run a series of transom windows or simply have open space across the top of storage where it’s hard to reach anyway, and shared daylight and perhaps even a breeze between say a bathroom, a bedroom and a dressing area that between them might not each have access to its own window.

Because sure, incandescent lights can always be turned on at the flip of a switch. And that’s convenient, but humans thrive on daylight. So try to bring a little bit of daylight into each of these spaces when you separate them even if you have to borrow it from one to another with an interior window.

Let’s talk about fitting in the storage in your bedroom around the bed. midcentury bedrooms are small, and even for the original furniture that was meant for them twin or full size beds that can be a challenge for a queen. They’re snug and many of my clients want a king size bed. That plus a midsize bedroom size 10 feet square can be pretty darn tight. So how do you handle it? Well, it depends on the available space around and outside the bedroom.

Some couples choose to re delegate an entire bedroom on the main floor as a dressing area that can work by either the big move, dividing the wall between them, removing it rather and dividing the space up into a larger bedroom with a walk by dressing area and perhaps putting a bathroom in that space or just keeping that extra bedroom as the storage posit bedroom. I’ve got a client for an upcoming project who shared that they love it when all that fits in their bedroom is the bed.

They don’t desire an ensuite bathroom either. They’d rather keep their storage ablution space workspace and project areas all outside the bedroom and dedicate that space just asleep. If you do want to expand on the storage space within your bedroom, the first place to look is the existing closet walls and what’s happening around you. One very common feature of a mid-century house is that a shared wall between two bedrooms will be thickened with two feet deep closet space between them. And then normally that space opens both directions into one bedroom on one side and the other on the doors.

Now you can think about choosing to reallocate that space, perhaps you only have two feet of closet that flips into an adjacent child’s bedroom or guest suite. Or perhaps you take all that closet space between the bedrooms and build in a new closet and the other bedroom in some other part of the room. The other thing I would suggest is if you’re dealing with builder grade closets, that standard hanging rod and shelf with sliding closet doors, my friend you can do better. Take off those closet doors and cut out the wall that frames in the door opening both on the sides and above.

So you’ve got floor to ceiling open space where the closet footprint is. Now you can build and storage. You can custom make or use premade IKEA style kitchen cabinet storage, you can still get a hanging rod in there. But you’ll also have room for nice deep drawers pull out storage of various types. And you can make use of every square inch rather than giving up those how to reach corner conditions.

This is also really helpful if you have an organizing tendency or you like to look at everything at once. With a sliding door closet, you can only look at half the storage space at one time. With a cabinet door style. You can open every door and drawer, stand back and look at it all during an organizational flurry. Close them all and have a gorgeous wood panel, a sculptural object in your room that takes up literally no floor space.

And that’s the secret minimizing what takes up floor space. In a truly snug bedroom. Your bedroom storage solution is not going to be furniture, all those beautiful mid-century style Bureau’s high boys and bedside tables you see in the catalog and in the vintage stores. Those are for people with larger bedrooms or for apartment dwellers who aren’t permitted to change up their space. If you’re really snug on bedroom space. For your storage solution. What you want is wall mounted everything you want floating bedside cabinets and built in storage as much as possible.

Let’s quickly talk about furniture placement in bedrooms. A couple of examples ago I was talking about a bedroom where in the current design as it was listed, you walked down a long hallway and basically looked straight at the headboard of a bed inside that bedroom whenever the door was open. placing furniture in midcentury bedrooms can be tricky because the combination of doors windows closets and other storage space options. And when you add in an ensuite bathroom, those fill up the walls in a primary bedroom and even in a smaller one. Sometimes, hurray you even have a door to the outside and your primary bedroom.

But where does that leave you with wall space, your options can be quite limited. And you may find yourself needing to stick a bed underneath the window, you might have to just go ahead and say that the principles of Fung Shui don’t work for you in this case. But my personal pet peeve for bed placement is that thing where you walk down the hallway, and you stand towards or near the doorway of that bedroom. And as you look into the space you can see directly at or across the heads of sleeping people. A close second to that is that it’s very inconvenient in a small bedroom, or you enter on one side right at someone’s bedside table. And the other person sleeping on the other side of the bed needs to walk all the way around in order to get to their side.

Now sometimes balancing between those two challenges is an impossible lift. And you just have to pick what matters most to you, to you and your partner, your sleeping schedules, your privacy needs, and the number of people who are regularly in your house. But it’s worth considering.

So when you’re thinking about if you’re going to make any changes to your bedroom storage, if you’re going to make any changes to the number of doors, windows, closets, and bathroom access points in your bedroom. Make sure you’re planning for how the furniture is going to be placed. And this may be a place where instead of choosing vintage or modern reproduction pieces of mid-century furniture it’s easier to go with building in.

So let’s recap. The Masterplan thinking is important here in the bedroom. Focus on your dream. What do you want and your discovery? What is going on in your house so you can know what’s easy and what’s hard before you even begin. Remember, I’m not a fan of walk in closets. So don’t look for places to put one in. Instead think about thickening a storage wall and putting in storage that lines or gives you more privacy or divides up a large room if you happen to have that problem.

When you’re building in storage around doors, windows and corners, you don’t need to have an entire blank wall to fill in with built ins. You can think about some full height storage that projects from a wall where there is not a window and then lowers to counter height or bench height to run underneath the window. Running built in storage underneath Windows is actually a great way to get a little extra storage because it’s hard to furnish in front of a window anyway. But if you’ve got an extra two feet or even 15 inches to spare in the room’s footprint, slipping in a long line of buildings underneath the windows that gives you both a nice place to sit or set things also gives you some handy drawer storage below.

Now when you’re thinking about built in storage for your bedroom, who builds that your kitchen cabinet company, when you’re in your forever home, don’t worry about as much ordering a pretty bedroom set. As building in the storage furniture you exactly need, you’ll get much more storage out of it and you’ll get more of an open plan feel with more spaciousness in a slightly small space. Regardless, when you think about a built in wireless storage. One more thing to bear in mind is that if you can put it between you and other bedrooms or public spaces, this will be a great sound insulator for added privacy.

Now you’ve got hopefully some ideas for how you can borrow more bedroom storage space from your home without too much work. I’d love you to go check out a few of the case studies I’ve mentioned, we just added a bunch more area case studies to our website. And all of the examples that I’ve just mentioned will show up on the show notes page. Check that out and find the transcript for this episode at mid mod dash midwest.com/ 1304.

And stay tuned for next week. Because if you just can’t get enough storage out of your bedroom the way it is, or if you want to totally reconfigure your space, possibly even adding in an ensuite bathroom.

Next week, I’m going to be talking about how to steal space for an owner’s bath if you don’t have one and how to generally expand and extend your owner’s bedroom, your sleeping space, your bathing space, your storage and all. So I’ll have a few more bedroom storage secrets to share in that episode to catch you next week.