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interiors: Storage stars; Saving space in style, by Gabrielle Fagan.

STORAGE has got itself sorted - no longer a boring necessity, it's suddenly transformed into a stunning addition to any home. The fashion for more streamlined, pared-down interiors has led us to demand not just attractive but also space-saving and imaginative ways of dealing with today's ultimate sin - clutter.

And designers have responded by creating storage solutions that efficiently hold and hide away those possessions and make a style statement too.

Martin Hodgson of Tusk Developments (www.121stgeorgessquare.co.uk) says: "With living space at a premium we're aware that home buyers are increasingly looking for clever storage solutions.

"We've installed bespoke wardrobes that slide out from the wall to give enormous depth without taking up room. Also we use every 'redundant' area for usable storage space - from an understairs alcove to laundry cupboards to house the washing machines."

In general, storage should enhance a space and make an interior look bigger. There's nothing worse than mismatched wobbly shelf units, or practical but ugly cupboards.

WARDROBE WIZARDRY Banish the jumble sale look and keep clothes, shoes and bags brilliantly organised by investing in US-style closets from California Closets. Considered a must-have by serious fashionistas they cost from pounds 600 per linear metre.

CLEVER CUPBOARDS The Holding Company's storage ranges from units to leather boxes to suit every taste. A Kube unit system can be joined up to run along a wall or for a room divider. Pieces cost from pounds 39 for a Utility Drawer Combo.

Marks & Spencer storage solutions are also high quality and affordable. An Open Step Bookcase, pounds 299, or Nevada door and drawer unit, pounds 225, could be ideal for a first home. Also, check out the painted Canberra range.

Singways is making a name for itself for style and practicality. Its collection includes an open Volume Shelving Unit, pounds 650, which would make a great room divider.

INVENTIVE STORAGE Take care of your much-loved shoe collection with Crystal Clear Shoe Boxes. They also have boxes with two-tiered compartments available for handbags and hats. Boxes in packs of three or five, priced from pounds 14.95.

For an unusual space-saving idea for bathrooms try Niagara Underbath Storage Unit, pounds 457. It gives extra storage without taking up floor space, and can used in conjunction with a choice of five Niagara baths, priced from pounds 174.

And don't waste space under the bed. Hide clutter in black storage boxes, pounds 25 for a set of five Fans of Eastern style are never disappointed at The Pier. Versatile Step Storage in pine combines drawers and open shelves, priced from pounds 99 for a small unit.

HANDY STORAGE

The Cotswold Company prides itself on storage to suit every need from rattan baskets to CD racks as well as furniture. A Washington bureau/chest, pounds 399, holds hanging files, and has a concealed pinboard - perfect for a home office. Farmhouse chests with wicker baskets start at pounds 129.

And Ikea's unbeatable value tall, slim Billy bookcase, pounds 29 for a six shelf unit, is one of its outstanding best sellers.

Put your house in order

Having effective workable storage improves not just your home but your life, according to storage guru and author Elizabeth Hilliard. Here are some top tips ...

Recognise that simply throwing up more cupboards isn't the answer. Instead fundamentally rethink the way you organise and store your belongings

Imagine you're a visitor - try and see things objectively. Make a list for each room detailing 'problem' areas, items you could discard, current storage that needs decluttering.

Prioritise by giving each 'troublespot' zone in the house a stress rating (the extent to which it irritates you) so the worst area is tackled first

Avoid expensive mistakes by measuring your room and furniture, so you can assess how much space new storage will need before you buy

Want to give your home a New Year facelift but feeling uninspired? No problem - visit Barker & Stonehouse's website at www.barker-stonehouse.co.uk. It has ranges of furniture by top designers and makers in eye-catching displays and room settings.

CAPTION(S):

(From left) Marks and Spencer's Loire coffee table with drawers, pounds 449' Holding Company range' Pier entertainment unit, pounds 199' Niagara's underbath storage unit, pounds 457
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Daily Post (Liverpool, England)
Date:Dec 31, 2005
Words:703
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