Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Storage Wall Units – How We Found the Perfect Storage Solution to fit a Multifunctional Space

After the birth of our son, I discovered that our entire house quickly started to get taken over by unexpected baby and kid items. The one free room in our downstairs turned into our son’s playroom. Initially equipped with only the bare necessities: a couch and a hand me down coffee table, this room became the main collection area for barrels of assorted toys, stacks of children’s books, and the parking garage for a small fleet of pint-sized, ride-on vehicles.

When it’s play time, neatly corralled toys turn into a full out toy explosion with pieces strewn from one end of the room to the other. Not really the best environment for active learning and play, and definitely not fun to clean up. At times you might wonder if someone broke into our home meticulously dumping everything on end trying to find an elusive hidden treasure in the playroom or if perhaps a wild tornado passed through! We clearly need help as this room is one of the first sites you see when entering our front door.

It’s time to go on a mission to find the right storage solution for our playroom / media room / living room / reading room / study room…well, you get the idea.

The goal is to find a large storage wall unit to serve all the storage needs in our multifunctional space. Our new furniture must be baby and kid friendly, look nice enough for grown-ups (i.e. not a huge eyesore when guests visit via the front door), but also transition into something usable as everyone grows up and we no longer need oodles of toy storage. I know, I know our wish list of must have features sounds intimidating, but I’m up to the task to find the right storage wall unit for our space.

My first contenders are the beautiful storage wall units at Pottery Barn Kids. Here are a few of my favorites:

Photos from Pottery Barn Kids

Next I found a great collection of design-it-yourself furniture at JCPenney’s called Linden Street Create Your Own modular furniture pieces. Here are a few of their pictures:

Photos from JCPenney

The Linden Street modular furniture pieces received outstanding reviews and some commenter's even uploaded photos of their new customized storage units that look amazing. I was leaning toward purchasing this set creating a custom configuration to fit our space. It is less expensive than Pottery Barn Kids furniture while still achieving a similar look with lots of usable storage, but we decided to do one last storage search before making our final purchase.

Finally, we considered IKEA furniture pieces. I’ll be honest; I was never a huge IKEA fan. My friends in college use to rave about IKEA, but I just never got it. I always thought it looked like inexpensive college furniture or pieces you would purchase for your first place. We live out in the suburbs now and I thought IKEA’s style better suited small modern spaces and urban living. If I would have skimmed their catalog I probably would have still felt the same way, but my husband convinced me to visit the store. I’m so glad he did as their designers really decorate and organize the showroom spaces very well. Some of their items are not for me, but I ended up really seeing the potential in several of their furniture and organization pieces. Here’s a few pictures I snapped on my phone at IKEA:

I especially love IKEA’s array of perfectly fitting storage baskets, boxes, and inserts allowing you to transform, customize, and personalize your furniture pieces inexpensively.

Surprisingly, the least likely choice was our BIG winner! We’re now the proud owners of a beautiful expansive wall of IKEA storage. We’re talking roughly 6 feet by 12 feet of usable storage and that makes me smile!
EXPEDIT TV Storage Unit from IKEA
EXPEDIT Bookcase from IKEA

I can hardly believe I was able to purchase two storage units for our large empty wall for less than half of what I was going to pay elsewhere for a significantly smaller amount of storage. The way our room is laid out we were able to fit one EXPEDIT TV storage unit and one EXPEDIT bookcase side by side. The TV storage unit lines up perfectly with our couch and for now I’m planning to make a French bulletin board or magnetic board to fit the TV insert while the kiddos are small so I don’t need to worry about them getting hurt on a TV plus it will be a fun place to display current art creations. Later I can see this transforming into a video gaming area for the whole family.

I’ve already received lots of compliments and I’m still working on adding customizable inserts to make it really functional for our family. Although we’re not fully settled into our new storage yet (really it feels like a whole new room), our toy nightmare is already history and I absolutely love that!

Stay tuned for before and after pictures of our new wall of storage.

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