Bedroom storage

My wife and I currently have a rather sparse bedroom when it comes to decor. Since we moved into our smaller house, we have yet to purchase anything for our bedroom. When we downsized our home, we got rid of a lot of furniture and we just haven’t had the chance to make decisions about decorating our bedroom. As it is right now, the room only has a bed. There is nothing else in the room. I have become rather used to such an arrangement since bedrooms are for sleeping, but the lack of storage is an issue.

Like I said, our bedroom is sparse. We only have a bed and even that doesn’t include a headboard at the moment. So the issue of storing extra sheets, blankets, pillows and clothing has been designated to our closets on another floor. Our bedroom doesn’t have closets, so it gets kind of annoying at times. We are eventually going to invest in a dresser, but I’m not exactly sure what else we will need. I’d like to have a bed-side table for each side of the bed. Other than those items, I don’t see much else that we would need for a bedroom. We might want a trunk at the foot of our bed for storing extra sheets and our heavier comforter, but that’s about it.

Excess storage in the bedroom can lead to expanding one’s wardrobe beyond what is needed. If there is a place to store something, chances are you will hold on to it. That’s what I’m trying to guard against. I don’t want to invest in too much storage just to pack it full of clothing that we eventually forget we own. Here are some ideas we’ve been throwing around:

Under the bed storage: We are trying to put all the space in our closet-less bedroom to use. Seasonal clothes can be stored in plastic under the bed storage boxes.

Dresser, armoire or both?: I have to go through my clothes and sort them into a “keep” pile and a “donation” pile, again. Even after that we will have to find a decent sized dresser to store our clothes. We are not settled on either, but we definitely need to find something with plenty of storage. It will likely come down to whichever ends up having more storage.

Captain bed: My wife isn’t too fond of this idea, but I figured a captain bed would be a two-in-one solution to the storage issue. It would serve as a bed frame and add about six drawers of storage underneath the mattress.

Do any of our readers have some insightful suggestions as to solutions to bedroom storage for closet-less bedrooms?

56 Comments for “Bedroom storage”

  1. posted by Jo on

    My partner recently got a “captain bed” from EQ3 and I, like your wife, was a bit uncertain about the idea. I was a total convert after the bed arrived. I could not believe how much storage those six drawers provide and how much neater and less cluttered it made his bedroom. He was able to completely get rid of the cheap and crappy dresser he’d been using and the room now looks a lot more pulled together. Plus it is so easy to put laundry away when you have the surface of the bed to fold it on and six drawers that are easy to drop the folded items into. Thumbs up all the way.


  2. posted by Brian on

    We also had this problem of lack of storage, not because we lack storage but because of my wife’s love of clothes. We opted for a platform bed with 12 drawers.
    It was essential. We just put the Temperpedic mattress on top and voila storage that would otherwise be lost has been found. A blanket chest or something similiar at the foot of the bed allows for blanket storage.

    Now just to build the walk-in closet she wants….

  3. posted by Ayse on

    We have two smaller dressers that we use as bedside tables. It keeps the overall number of pieces of furniture in the room down and forces us to be more deliberate about how much clothing we have: if I get another sweater, I HAVE to get rid of one I have, because otherwise the drawer will not close.

    Also, I’ve had good experiences with captain’s beds. The best benefit is that they block the sides of the bed so you don’t have to clean under there any more. The drawback is that they are very visually heavy.

  4. posted by tazistanjen on

    We’ve got a twelve drawer model *and* a headboard with shelves (we got it free years ago – used to be a water bed). I don’t keep our daily cloths in the drawers, because they aren’t very good drawers. You have to wrestle them open. Instead I keep things we don’t need very often – one has our heating pad, Ace bandages, and wrist and knee braces. Another has my painting/gardening clothes and shoes. But if you got one with good drawers, I like the idea of sorting the laundry on the bed and dropping the cloths into the drawers.

  5. posted by Kersti on

    In my dream house I have underbed storage for sheets and extra bedding, bedside drawers for essential bedside things (somewhere to put the clock, phone, book etc) a comfy chair and a small bookcase. At the most I’d have a small drawer unit for underwear.

    My other clothes will be in another room – probably a bedroom converted into a very large closet to be shared by all the family. It just seems to me to be the best solution to the problem of never enough wardrobe space!

  6. posted by Ann on

    You’d need a headboard, but, if you have the room and like the aesthetic – have the bed in a corner, at an angle (facing the door for maximum feng shui, if that’s your thing). Hang a lightweight curtain behind the headboard (easily either stapled to the ceiling, or run along a thin dowel rod and hang from cup hooks in the ceiling. It’s amazing what odd-shaped things then can hide behind that curtain.

  7. posted by DJ on

    Better to have a captain’s bed with drawers than plastic bins you need to pull out.

    The bins just let lots of dust get in around them.

  8. posted by timgray on

    Captain bed rocks. WE store all our other season clothes under the bed in vac bags and tubs. open the end slide out the tray, switch winter with spring in the drawers and it’s all done. no more messing around spending a day switching to the new season.

    also hiding xmas gifts under there works great. the Teen hasn’t found any of the gifts for 3 years running.

  9. posted by leah on

    i had a captains bed. I liked it. Except because of the drawer it HAD to be away from the wall–and that somehow made me feel restricted to how i could position the bed. And then another time i hopped of the bed (yes, hopped, i was standing on it), and caught my heel on the drawer pull, which left a nice scar on the sole of my foot. SO choose drawer pulls that dont have sharp edge-or dont stand on the bed. 🙂

    I also had a closet-less room at one point. I ended up building a bed 4 feet off the ground that lived in a corner. Under the bed i had a closet bar and shelves along the long side of the bed, and another closet bar for hanging more clothes along the short side of the bed, which left the back corner for misc storage. It was pretty awesome. But it’s definitely a college kids solution–i don’t think i’d do the same thing for my grown-up apartment. 🙂

    I like the closet room suggestion from Kersti–that’s also my plan for my dream house 🙂

  10. posted by Anya on

    I gave up my space-hog dresser long ago and opted for two beautiful three-drawer night stands from the 1920s to put those things that I could not hang up such as delicates and other small items like socks. I have never regretted getting rid of the dresser.

    Another option, if you are willing to invest in some time looking, is an antique highboy. It has drawers on the bottom and either a cupboard on top with shelves or hanging space for short items like shirts. This was my father’s solution for a historic home with no closets.

  11. posted by Amy on

    One option for sheet storage is just to fold them over, maybe twice, and keep them flat between the mattress and box spring, or mattress and whatever it’s sitting on.

  12. posted by Jasileet on

    We keep our shared linens in the linen closet in the hall. We all have the same size and color (white). You could try to store your linens between mattress and box spring.

    I suggest you get an armoire only. Very versatile and your business wear will thank you. Some come with drawers on the interior and if you ever tire of it, you can re-purpose with entertainment, craft or pantry storage.

  13. posted by claire on

    I think step tansu would be ideal. Plus they are two-sided so it really opens up where you can place them and how you use them. they could even be the bedside table aspect without having to raise the bed, and would go along with your beautiful zen decor. Here’s a link to get you started:

  14. posted by Wendy on

    I don’t like the captain bed idea – the drawers are too small to put big stuff into, like blankets and such. There’s alot of wasted space behind the drawers, too. I prefer to buy the deep under-bed storage containers – the ones with the wheels. You can shove them way under the bed and they’re not visible.

    My method of keeping things to a minimum is to get good dense blankets, that have less bulk and more warmth. I don’t do comforters – they’re a real pain to store. A nice down blanket has the warmth of a comforter without so much bulk.

  15. posted by Tabitha (From Single to Married) on

    We live in an older house that doesn’t have a lot of storage in the way of closets. I actually cleaned out one of the closets I was using this weekend and got rid of a lot of stuff I wasn’t wearing. The rest I consolidated to fit into one small closet and the seasonal items I put in the plastic, under-the-bed bags. I have used them for years and they work great. I also use wicker baskets under the bed for books, lotions, etc. since we don’t have night stands.

  16. posted by Ana on

    I actually hate closets, I see them as a big waste of space and very visually heavy (I have a lot of clothes). I am planning to rip out the closets in my bedroom and replace them with IKEA shelving, the IVAR line.

    This line is very sturdy, modular, made out of solid wood, and unfinished, so I can stain and customize to my heart’s content. It has shelves, drawer units, cabinets, and even clothes bars, so it’s pretty easy to make a combination of pieces that will hold your stuff, while being flexible for future needs. I’ve used this system for years without any problems, and now I’m looking to expand.

    Aside from stain, the line does need a little help to be really attractive. I’ll be adding trim and hardware to the cabinets and drawers. For the clothes areas I’ll need to add curtains to make it less visually cluttered, but that’s it. I also collect pretty hat boxes so my open shelf storage becomes more like decoration.

  17. posted by Joy (from Just Plain Joy) on

    Yes! Using furniture for storage is a great idea! Check out
    the Apollo Lift Storage Bed at

    For more furniture storage ideas, check out my post:

  18. posted by Joy (from Just Plain Joy) on

    Sorry! The Apollo Lift Storage Bed is no longer on their website. But, I think under-the-bed storage is a great use of space, and platform beds work great for this!

  19. posted by Elizabeth on

    We are similar in that we keep our bedroom sparse intentionally. There are three pieces of furniture in the room, our bed (which is only a few inches off the ground), the dresser, and a nightstand for one side of the bed.

    We have room for only a few extra posters under the bed, even standard under-bed storage doesn’t fit under it and we wouldn’t dream of lifting it up because we don’t want it to be any higher.

    When we bought our home one thing I loved about it was that the amount of closets and the really sensible shelving they had in them. Our bedroom closet is no exception, it has a great organization system already in place and my basic rule for clothing is that if it doesn’t fit in the closet and the dresser, then we don’t need it.

    As for extra linens, there’s a closet in the hallway central to the two bedrooms and the bathroom that we store linens in. The same rule applies, if the extra sheets, blankets, and towels are taking up too much room then we get rid of some. In the end, they take up only half the closet and I use the rest to store the fabric I use for sewing projects.

    But my rule of thumb since we moved into this place has been that if I can’t find easy room for it, then I don’t need it or I need to get rid of something to make room.

  20. posted by Jeff on

    We’ve been very pleased with a pedestal bed and pier group from Alder Hill Furniture. American Traditions also has an oak version. It provides lots of storage, reading lights, and the functionality of night stands.

  21. posted by Noel on

    Beware not all regular beds have a high enough frame for under bed storage boxes.

  22. posted by Kim on

    Noel is right- I had to get bed risers to use my underbed boxes. I would kind of like a bed where I don’t practically need a step stool to get in to bed. Or where I don’t feel like I’m in danger of landing wrong and killing an ankle when I get out of bed.

  23. posted by Kevin on

    We bought this bed a few years ago and love it.

    It has fairly contemporary styling and the mattress section lifts with hydraulic assist to access the entire underbed area. You avoid the bunnies and the expensive storage containers but retain all of the space.

  24. posted by A Fan on

    You’re forgetting the college dorm room school of design as an option. Go to your local bedding store and buy a pair of bed risers. They left up the legs of a standard bed enough to slide file sized file boxes under it.

  25. posted by Fit Bottomed Girls on

    I like the armoire and under-the-bed storage option. You can place your in-season clothes in the armoire and your out-of-season clothes under the bed. As long as you don’t have too much storage for either option, you won’t accumulate too much. 🙂

  26. posted by Karyn on

    A captain’s bed?? I always thought they were for kids, until I found one that I fell in love with at first sight. I had a similar problem to yours, except not really – we’re not quite as minimalistic as you are. 🙂

    Anyway, I actually loved the way the bed looked and insisted on buying it and I haven’t regretted the chunk of change I had to fork over for it (it was $1,600 for the bed, dresser and mirror).

    Here’s a link to my bed – it’s called “Hillary” by Coaster furniture.

  27. posted by Jamie on

    I would definitely go with a wardrobe rather than a dresser. Surely you have at least a couple of items of clothing that need to be hung up! If you do customizable wardrobes (like the Ikea ones, though I personally hate that all their wardrobes come only with crappy plasticy veneers) then you can add in just the right amount and heights of drawers, shelves, and rods, for your needs.

  28. posted by Stephanie on

    We do not have a linen closet in our house, so we opted for the end-of-bed trunk. We LOVE it. It is so nice to make up your bed with fresh sheets that are stored so close-by. It also helps us to not accumulate too many sheets and blankets, because if it doesn’t fit in the trunk, it doesn’t stay in the house. Plus, it is a nice place to sit when you are putting on your shoes.

  29. posted by Angie on

    I love my armoire. I happen to have a space in the wall for it to fit. According to CBC radio’s show “Spark”, the large hotel chains are selling them off in vast quantities while they upgrade to flat screen TV’s.

  30. posted by Lisa on

    I like the idea of a captain’s bed, but when I’ve stayed with friends who had them, I have ALWAYS stubbed my toes on them. It doesn’t seem that anyone else has that problem – perhaps it is just me.

    I just have a small closet and a chest of drawers that I love. A box of out of season clothes are in a plastic bin under the bed.

  31. posted by Meghan on

    Our bedroom has only a bed and a nightstand on each side. It is very small. so it suits us fine. We do have very large painting on the wall opposite the bed which keeps the room from looking boring. We have a second bedroom we use as an office and we each have a dresser in there. I also use the closet in the office so it’s like my dressing room. Somehow the office has plenty of room for 2 dressers, a large cabinet for office supplies and a desk that takes up one whole wall. We have a linen closet for sheets and stuff.

    I do like the idea of a captain’s bed though and we did think about getting one, but we eventually went for a platform bed. Ikea has a storage bed that’s super cheap for the budget-minded. EQ3 is pretty pricey for basically the same quality as Ikea.

  32. posted by kelly on

    We also have the Captain’s bed and love it. If your wife has a problem with it because of the look, here are some tips:

    Catalog photos always show the mattress with a “tucked in” sort of treatment, highlighting the big bed. We use a down comforter that goes past the edge of the mattress, so you see far less of the bed.

    We got a *very* dark stain on ours with no hardware. Most people don’t even notice that it’s a storage bed unless it’s pointed out to them — it just looks like dark space under the bed.

    As for the person above who said the drawers are not big enough for blankets, they have not found the right storage bed! Our drawers go all the way to the middle of the bed and we were able to configure the size of our drawers — my fiance has one on his side that a small child could hide in (it’s a quarter the size of the entire bed and 18″ deep).

    One potential drawback of the captain/storage bed: you can’t have traditional bedside tables — the drawers won’t open. You can put shelves on the wall or get a bookcase headboard, but you need a creative solution.

    And, finally (is the longest comment in history? I like our bed!) if anyone reading this lives in the SF Bay Area and is looking for a super-configurable captain/storage bed locally, I recommend Oysterbed:

  33. posted by Haley W. on

    I would definitely recommend both the armoire and either a dresser or a simple chest-of-drawers. The armoire will keep items that require hanging handy, and the dresser will house your foldables. I have two 3-drawer nightstands where I store sheets, pajamas, and a small stash of books. This system looks clean, keeps everything out of sight, but also houses it in a single location.

  34. posted by BriAnna Shultz on

    We keep extra blankets and out of season clothes in flat plastic boxes under the bed. 6 fit under our King size bed. INSTEAD of end tables, we have a small bookcase each (because reading IS relaxing, for us anyway), and an alarm clock and lamp on top of each. Instead of a headboard there is large black and white photograph of a forest on the wall behind the bed.

    We have a really tiny linen closet (only 7 inches deep). It really only fits rolled towels, so the underbed boxes are awesome for sheets and blankets. My son has a box under his bed as well for his extra blanket and sheets.

  35. posted by Another Deb on

    I would think that if you have a platform bed or captain’s bed, you would also want a seat of some kind for when you put on your shoes and socks.

  36. posted by ZenTen on

    Don’t put anything under your bed! It is very bad feng shui. The room’s energy should be able to move freely and storage underneath would block that. There are some very nice armoires with drawers etc. available — very simple Asian-inspired designs. People who have to use under-bed storage just have too much stuff. A storage bench would be nice at the foot of your bed. I use one to sit on all the time. I do not have end tables either. We have a bed, storage bench and armoire and that’s it. Not a single item of clutter: the bedroom is for sleeping. It is so easy to clean this way too.

  37. posted by Alex Fayle | Someday Syndrome on

    I really like that you’re consciously making a decision about what you need rather just assuming that a bedroom must have x y and z.

    Far too often in all areas of our lives we let tradition or habit choose for us when a little more thought will get us exactly what we want.

  38. posted by Karen on

    When my parents bought an older house with no closets in the bedrooms, they came up with a great solution: remodel and add them!

  39. posted by gypsy packer on

    Underbed storage comes with one caveat: if not completely sealed, your items will collect colonies of mildew and dust mites. If you have sinus problems, asthma, or allergies, your sparse bedroom is the best of rooms for respiratory health.

  40. posted by Linda on

    I have gorgeous black, Shaker-style furniture. My bed has 6 drawers, arranged three across and two high) on each side (it’s a queen size). The drawers are not dust collectors (I’ve had the bed for over 2 year, and never any dust in the drawers). My bed is higher than the average bed, so I have a small stool to help propel me up into it (I’m a mere 5’2″). LOVE this bed. Totally solved my storage issues.

  41. posted by Shalin on

    I need a captain bed…bad…


  42. posted by Liz on

    We needed a guest bed and after shopping around a bit we settled on the Sultan Alsarp bed base from Ikea.
    It gives us plenty of space to store extra bulky items like luggage, inflatable mattresses, linens, etc.

  43. posted by Tuppenz on

    Several years ago I purchased a queen bed platform from a company which advertised in the New Yorker magazine. It has six drawers (three on each side) and there is a door at the foot of the platform which gives you storage all the way up to the head of the platform, thus utilizing all of the space within the platform. I store out of season garments (which can be folded) in a long plastic zip wardrobe bag and then push it inside the door – this allows me to pull the contents back out easily when needed. Or you could store a pair of skis!

  44. posted by Barbara on

    ZenTen: “People who have to use under-bed storage just have too much stuff.”

    Not always – me, my husband, and baby daughter live in a 1-bedroom 700 sq. ft. house that was built in 1926 and has only 2 VERY tiny closets. We love our pared-down lifestyle but still need to be creative with our storage to make it work.

    We made our own super-size captain bed/loft using 4 Ikea Malm dressers. Sure it is not ideal on the feng shui front to keep stuff under your bed, but the storage space and drawers are very clean and well-organized. Now there is actually “a place for everything and everything in it’s place”… which makes for a MUCH more pleasant living environment overall.

  45. posted by allen on

    I would say getting a wardrobe for your haning cloths only makes sense. Why clutter up other room’s storage when you have space in the bedroom (which i see as a room for both sleeping & cloths changing). If you get a captain’s bed, then you of course would not need a dresser.

    However, i have never understood the purpose of a headboard, unless it’s one of those with the built in drawers/shelves?

    How are you getting buy w/o bedside tables, though? I have two, and i’m single (but then again i have a sleeping disorder, & have no less then 4 waking-devices. :P).

  46. posted by Kate on

    My fiance and I have this bed, but ours came with one drawer on each side. We keep our sheets and some towels for our bathroom in there. We could probably fit more since we’re only really using one drawer. I don’t remember it being so expensive, but we got it over two years ago. Our room is fairly small, so besides the bed we only have the dresser and side tables that go with it.

    I posted two pictures of our room here, and you can see the drawers better in this picture.

  47. posted by empty on

    We rent, so we don’t have a lot of choices, but in your situation I’d get a wardrobe with drawers. Our bedroom contains a bed, two end tables, a dresser, and a cat tree (Otis and Claude Climb). We have a small closet (one door’s width) just outside the bedroom where we keep all of our hanging clothes. Ideally we’d have either a bigger closet with room for shelves and drawers or a wardrobe, ditto, which would eliminate the need for a dresser. Personally I think captain’s beds are ugly and impractical. They’re heavy and visually overwhelming, and don’t resolve the issue of hanging clothes. They were fun at my grandparents’ house when I was five, but I don’t sleep in a converted attic with built-in furniture now.

  48. posted by JenK on

    I’m with DJ & gypsy packer, but then, I have asthma. We do have closets for hanging clothes (see also wardrobe) and a dresser apiece.

    I also have a weekly routine of wiping down all hard surfaces in the bedroom, changing the comforter cover & sheets, and running the Roomba (does a wonderful job under the king-size bed). Linens not in use are in the linen closet. We do have 4 different bedding combinations, not 2, so as to not have to use flannel sheets in summer. 😉

  49. posted by Michael on

    Have a “captain bed” which is the Stratton from PB. Love it! We use the drawers for extra linen for the bed and out-of-season clothing. (We choose the one with drawers and not baskets.)

    This was necessary to us when we had a small apartment and needed more storage. However, the primary driver was one of our cats who loves to shred the bottom felt of a box spring.

    The biggest problem: Nightstands next to the bed need to be easy to move or you’ll have some “dead” drawers. I just put in those two drawers the clothing items that have sentimental value but won’t actually be worn.

  50. posted by Olga on

    I personally LOVE captain beds (though I never knew they were called that before…). I slept in one until I was 18. Now I am at college, and constantly perplexed at the number of things that vanish under my bed, because until recently there was no such thing as “under the bed”.

    Definitely get a bed with drawers. Storage space + less fiddly spaces to fit a vacuum into!

  51. posted by Roxanna on

    You can invest in 2 trunks and have moveable shelves built it so that your can put your cloths in it that do not need to be hung but at the same time you can also attach a cushion to the top of the trunk and use it for seating. I would honestly just get 2 large painted screens and mount them on wheels and have some portable cloths hangers behind them. That way there is something nice to look at, its not obviously a closet area and it can also be used as a changing area as well.

    As for the Captain’s bed I am all for it as they offer TONS of space saving availability.

  52. posted by Vicki on

    I haven’t read EVERY comment posted, so forgive me if this has already been suggested… we purchased a platform bed foundation from Ikea that is shapped like a box-spring, but it holds a slat foundation top that is hinged and lifts up from the foot-end of the bed. So we have a hidden queen-sized storage area that is about 10 inches deep – PLUS a very comfortable bed. We also purchased 8″ legs for the foundation and the attractive wicker under-bed storage baskets.

  53. posted by Christine on


    I saw it and went “Wow.” One of these days I’ll probably get it, but not until I’ve settled into my own place and stop moving every year.

  54. posted by Storage beds | Eat Drink and Think on

    […] referred to as a captain bed, a storage bed can take the place of a bedroom closet or dresser. I wrote about bedroom storage a couple of weeks back, but I thought I would expand upon the storage bed as a space-saving option. […]

  55. posted by kbfenner on

    We had a captain’s bed. Stubbed many toes and drawers stuck. Get a god quality one, if you get one.

    I have seen a closet created by stealing space along a whole wall–you frame it out and install bi-fold doors (or barn-style sliders) across it, and I have seen floor-to-ceiling stock cabinets installed along one wall. Obviously this only works if you have the room to spare, but it looks wonderfully sleek and minimalist. You can then outfit them with hanging rods, shelves, drawers, and so on to suit. It would surely add great resale value.

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