I like to think that we can never stop improving. This is especially true when it comes to our homes. There’s always something to fix as we regularly dip into the rainy day home fund. But there are also improvements we make just because we want to. It seems each day we acquire more stuff—after all, there is always room for just one more thing. We struggle to stack, hang, squeeze, and shove new purchases into already crowded spaces. There must be a better way! As it turns out, there are three great ways to hide or showcase the things in the most active areas of our homes. 

Cook Book Shelf

I definitely need this! My cookbooks are scattered on top of my refrigerator, and it’s quite a reach to get them down. Making your custom bookshelf fit in with the rest of your kitchen cabinetry will require a lot of attention to detail, but I love the way the shelf in the photo blends in so naturally. It really fits together. If you’re about to undertake a kitchen remodel, find photos, plan it out, and if your ideas are ambitious, hire a professional contractor.

Pop-out Outlets

Product designers have outdone themselves on this one. Electrical outlets are a must-have, but there have only been so many ways to disguise the outlet “faces” that look out into every room.  This creative makeover hides the outlet when it’s out of use. When it’s time to charge up, pressing the discrete square reveals the secret power outlet. Some research is probably needed on the safety of these (hey, I work in insurance), but this is super promising. You heard it here first: I predict a new home trend.

Nook Between the Studs

A classic. By creating a nook inside your walls, you don’t lose floor space or need additional furniture. You can customize the layout to exactly what you need the space for: books, cellphones, mail, purses, or perhaps a radio. A lot of hidden opportunity exists between the studs of your walls. Remember to be careful when knocking out drywall. It always looks easier on do-it-yourself television. As always, consider working with a pro if this isn’t your comfort zone.

As a general rule, the more space you have, the more stuff you’ll put in it. We always seem to fill up our available space. So use these ideas wisely. If you find that you’re still low on storage space, there might a garage sale or charitable donation in your future. On that note, if you have a lot of personal property, check that your home contents coverage adequately insures the value of your belongings.