11 storage ideas for a period home

Period homes can be a challenge to furnish, so we've looked back at our readers' homes and rounded up creative storage to make the most of your space

(Image credit: colin Poole)

Nooks, crannies, wonky walls and peculiar angles,all are part of the unique charm and history of a period home, but they can make factoring in storage a little difficult.

Investing in built-in cabinetry from experienced local carpenters is a fantastic option. Alternatively, freestanding pieces can be easily repositioned if you need to create extra room for entertaining, or just fancy a change around. What’s more, they can be taken with you when moving house. Likewise, opting for multifunctional pieces will maximise the floor space and potential uses of a room.  

With their chips, bumps, scratches and knicks, reclaimed pieces have an inimitable patina perfectly suited to the character of a period home; try searching flea-markets, eBay, charity shops, salvage yards for old dressers, chests and sideboards, but don't hurry past the odds and sods, instead, think outside the box! 

Could an old wicker basket make a great end-of-the-bed blanket box? Perhaps piling up old luggage cases could make a brilliant beside table-come-storage-unit? Or maybe an old ladder mounted horizontally on the sitting room wall would make the perfect space to store and display cherished collectables? We've looked back at our beautiful readers homes and rounded up creative ways to make the most of your space...

1. Fit bespoke shelving 

It can often be hard to fit ready made pieces into the odd-shaped rooms and peculiar angles of period homes. Opting for bespoke shelving by a local carpenter is often the best way to make the most of the space.

Find more book storage ideas in our buyer's guide.

(Image credit: colin Poole)

2. Add a vintage dresser

An iconic piece of furniture dating back centuries, an iconic wooden dresser completes a vintage kitchen perfectly. This beautiful hand-painted floral version was picked up by the homeowner on eBay. 

Explore more unfitted kitchen design ideas.

(Image credit: Malcolm Menzies)

3. Mix and match vintage 

This characterful kitchen features a cleverly repurposed old housemaid’s cupboard to conceal the oven and microwave. The kick plate beneath is covered in wooden yardsticks, and the drawers are from a haberdashery shop

(Image credit: Brent Darby)

4. Think flexibility

Weathered reclaimed pieces have an inimitable patina perfect for characterful period homes. This industrial trolley is great for storage and display, and, set on castors, is easy to reposition when you need to create extra space for guests or simply fancy a change around.

Cabinets, larders and islands – explore our freestanding kitchen ideas

(Image credit: James Balston)

5. Choose a vintage-sideboard for a bedroom statement

Even when space is tight, having one sleek, larger piece of furniture can often be more effective in creating the illusion of space than a cluster of smaller units. Passionate about quirky vintage style, upholsterer Hana Reynolds bought this old haberdashery unit from a friend for the bedroom of her Grade II-listed cottage. Not only does it offer ample storage space for clothes, it doubles as a dressing table and is a fitting link to her background in textiles.

Find more beautiful bedroom storage ideas in our buyer's guide.

(Image credit: Colin Poole)

6. Have crate expectations!

Brilliantly versatile, wooden apple crates can be easily picked up from flea markets and can be used to create a wide range of storage solutions. Hang one on the wall as an alternative shelf, or stack them high for a quirky storage system. 

Love this? Check out tons more small kitchen storage ideas.

(Image credit: Julia Toms)

7. Consider an island with built-in storage

Not only are kitchen islands brilliant for adding extra storage, they add preparation space and help zone a kitchen into practical and social areas. For a relaxed vintage look, the homeowners factored space for wicker baskets into their island design which are used to store kitchen linens and children's toys. Explore more of this 1920s semi.

(Image credit: Julia Toms)

8. Embrace Mid-century style

For a fun alternative to a traditional wardrobe, why not opt for a fitting from a 1950s haberdasher's? A stylish statement feature and what's more, with its glass-fronted drawers it's also easy to keep tabs on where things are! For similar designs try eBay or Panamo. See more of this renovated schoolhouse's modern vintage interiors – and don't miss more Mid-century-inspired interior design ideas.

(Image credit: Bruce Hemming)

9. Curb clutter with a curtain 

For an affordable utility room solution that can be finished in a weekend, fit an empty corner with reclaimed timber shelves and a work surface, and conceal the area beneath with a curtain made up in a pretty fabric, such as this Flora & Fauna cotton/linen-mix design (below) in Raspberry, £46 per m from Vanessa Arbuthnott

(Image credit: Jeremy Phillips)

10. Make the most of hallways, landings and alcoves

As functional spaces used just for passing through, hallways, landings and corridors can often be ignored, but if space it at a premium they're a good place to think about adding extra storage. Not only have these homeowners maximised storage by adding floor-to-ceiling shelving in corridor alcoves, the dramatic paint shade makes a brilliant feature out of a forgotten space. 

Find more inventive hallway storage and under stair storage ideas.

(Image credit: Olly Gordon)

11. Pile up vintage cases

Vintage suitcases can be picked up cheaply from carboots, flea markets and charity shops and, stacked large to small at the end of a bed are a great way to tidy away unsightly clutter in a cool-vintage fashion. 

(Image credit: Brent Darby)

More clever storage solutions:

Pippa is Style Editor for Period Living magazine and spends many a weekend exploring the Cotswolds for decorating shoot ideas. A collector at heart, she is currently looking for a vintage cabinet to store her favourite wares.