Today’s buyer wants storage. They simply can’t have enough of it.  Large walk-in closets are certainly welcome and coveted features. But to truly tap into these buyers’ wants and needs, there is so much more that can be done.  Functional (and attractive) storage can be incorporated into nearly every room and hallway in the house, and the existing storage offered can be improved!  

In Florida, we don’t have basements, so holiday decorations and seldom-used “stuff” ends up in the attic. But accessing that stuff with a flimsy pull down stair isn’t easy, convenient or safe. Instead, consider a permanent stair to the attic storage over the garage. Make sure the garage is deep enough to receive the stairs without impeding on the cars. 

Moving into the kitchen, cabinet pantries simply won’t cut it anymore. Buyers today want walk in pantries – the bigger, the better! One local builder makes their pantries large enough to hold a second refrigerator or freezer. And if you have ceilings higher than 8’, add six shelves instead of five in the pantry and linen closets.   

Beverage storage is often overlooked until after move-in. Many buyers ended up with a second refrigerator in their garage. Why not make the kitchen large enough to include a beverage center or a second refrigerator – inside where it’s convenient. Storage for those essential small kitchen appliances is a great idea. Consider a messy kitchen just off the kitchen for things like coffee pots and toasters. As opposed to a formal “butler’s pantry”, the messy kitchen helps keep the main kitchen clutter-free and is great for entertaining.  

Using vertical space is a logical way to enhance existing storage. Starting with double hanging and double shelves in the walk-in closets. The second row of shelves is great for bulky suitcases. I also love a second row of upper cabinets in the kitchen. It is a great way to display collectibles or hide seldom used things like the big lobster pot.  

For two-story homes, capture space under the stairs. But instead of a cupboard for Harry Potter, make a home for our furry friends who are happy with sloped ceilings – as low as 3’. Don’t stress out about having to cut down a door – a barn door makes a real statement! If your buyers don’t have pets, it’s another great place for suitcases or even a small child’s playhouse.  

Laundry rooms are a great place to pump up your storage options. Consider using 18” deep cabinets over the washer and dryer. These deeper cabinets are great for bulky bottles of bleach and detergent. It also is easier to reach for shorter adults. I also like the idea of creating double rows of wet hanging to allow synthetics to dry. And don’t forget to create a space for long handled tools like mops and brooms.  

 2017 IBS Show House (International Builders Show), located in Esplanade at Highland Ranch, Clermont, FL.
Designed by Housing Design Matters.  Photographed on 12/02-04/2016.

With the advent of flat screen TV’s in the great room, the giant TV armoire is a thing of the past. However, many buyers still have components to connect to the internet, play music and movies – many of which can connect wirelessly to the TV. I love the idea of running a low row of base cabinets along the wall to hide the various electronic devices. Make sure they are at least 18” deep and have access to power.  

Storage doesn’t have to be strictly utilitarian. Creating a 12” to 16” recess in your hallway is perfect for displaying wine, collectibles, and books. The possibilities are as endless as your imagination! 

Bookcases are a timeless touch to display collectibles or even (gasp!) books! One clever storage solution is incorporating a wall bed behind the shelves. This is a fantastic solution for those who don't use the spare bedroom often but would like the option to accommodate guests when needed. A modern wall bed is quite the conversation piece, as no one would suspect what hides behind!

Lastly, don’t forget to train your sales staff to showcase all your clever storage possibilities – since many of them will be not obvious. After all, buyers may not be aware of their current lack of storage. It is up to you to show what is possible!