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Some dining rooms have zero storage options, and in many homes that’s fine. However, you may be wondering where you can store the china your grandma just gave you, trying to find a place for homework supplies, or just desperately looking for ways to add more storage to your house. Ranging from quirky to conventional here are 12 ideas for ramping up your dining room’s storage potential.

1. Use storage benches for some of your dining table seating. Do an internet search for “dining bench with storage,” and you’ll see items in a range of styles, colors, and price points. Using storage benches for dining room seating opens up a whole host of storage options. Pencils and notebooks, toys and games, and even shoes and coats can be quickly stashed out of sight when it’s time use the dining room for dining. You might even have space left over for extra placemats, napkins, and tablecloths!

2. Install a strip of glass shelving at eye-level wrapping around the entire room. This will immediately dress up the dining room and take the walls from boring to bold. Use the glass shelves to store and display items such as heirloom dishes, family photos, or even books.

3. Buy a secondhand sideboard. A sideboard is a long, low cabinet that was once used in dining rooms across the country. This useful piece of furniture has been making a comeback in recent years, but you might be able to find one for a bargain at a used furniture shop, thrift store, or flea market. Traditionally, the top of a sideboard was for serving food buffet-style, and the cupboards and drawers held dishes and flatware. It can be used this way in a modern home, too, but feel free to adapt it to your family’s needs. This could mean:

  • Stocking the top with baskets and bins for clutter control.
  • Storing toys, art supplies, or school supplies in the cupboards and drawers.
  • Making one end of the sideboard your mini home office by adding a lamp and stool and keeping your office supplies in the drawers.

4. Free up kitchen counter space by making a mini-bar in your dining room. Are the ingredients for your favorite drink cluttering your countertop? Custom glass makes it easy to create a modern mini-bar where everything can be conveniently and stylishly stored. For the bar itself, choose a metal or wood support system and then have a piece of tempered glass attached for the bar top. You may want to add a glass shelf to a nearby wall to store additional beverages, cocktail shakers, glasses, and so on. Finally choose the finishing touches such as bar stools, a mirror, and a unique wall hanging to give the mini-bar character.

5. Add drawers to your dining room table. This may seem like a novel idea, but drawers were once a common feature of dining tables and are still used in some restaurant settings. You can buy a new dining table that includes drawers, or a family member with carpentry skills might be able to add some to an existing table. Keep your silverware here to free up kitchen storage space, or use the drawers as catch-alls for everything from bibs to crayons!

6. Spruce up an old piece of furniture for instant storage. Sometimes the best way to add storage is simply by buying a cabinet. In fact, you might even have an old hutch or wardrobe taking up space in your basement or garage. Including a well-used piece of furniture in your décor does not have to be negative. An older piece can actually give your dining room a layered, collected-over-time feel that is very warm and homey. In addition to a thorough cleaning, a vintage cabinet often needs one or two upgrades to take it from dated to charming. Possibilities include:

  • A few coats of paint.
  • Cabinet glass to replace old door fronts.
  • New handles and/or knobs for cupboard doors and drawers.
  • Glass shelves to take the place of sagging wood shelves.

7. Make a contemporary “sideboard.” If you love modern, industrial décor, you can create a sideboard-like storage solution with a futuristic feel. Have a deep glass shelf installed at buffet-height and choose industrial metal brackets for the supports. (This is the top of your “sideboard.”) Instead of the customary cupboards and drawers, buy several large containers of different but complementary styles, shapes, and materials and tuck them under the glass shelf. The containers should be fairly light weight, and you may want to add felt to the bottoms so you can easily slide them in and out. Fun container options include wicker hampers, tall canvas bins, and woven cylindrical baskets.

8. Put wasted wall space to work with open shelving. Dining rooms often include wall space that is used only as a surface on which to hang a picture. If you need more storage, move the picture and fill the wall with shelves. You can transfer kitchen or living room overflow to these shelves or – if your dining room adjoins your kitchen – even use them for storing spices, utensils, and canisters of dry goods.

9. Put a vintage traveling trunk in a corner of your dining room. Many of us have tablecloths, cloth napkins, fancy place mats, and even dishes that we only use once or twice a year for family holiday celebrations or other special occasions. An antique or antique-style trunk adds personality to a dining room and is the perfect place to house these seldom-used items. Also, moving them out of the kitchen makes sense because it opens up more storage space for the items you use every day.

10. Store your serving dishes in the dining room. Large platters and bowls can take up lots of space in a kitchen, and many families only use a few of these pieces on a regular basis. Serving ware is a great candidate if you’re looking to free up kitchen cupboard space by relocating some items to the dining room. Bowls, platters, gravy boats, and so forth can be nicely arranged on dining room surfaces such as buffet tops, hutch shelves, or fireplace mantles.

If you need glass shelves for storage anywhere in your home or business, cabinet glass to spruce up old cupboards, a wall mirror for your home bar or any other glass or mirror installation, contact ABC at (703)257-7150. Our team is experienced in designing and installing customized glass and mirror for many different types of projects. We are happy to schedule a free in-home consultation with an estimator who specializes in the type of work you have in mind. From large projects like frameless glass shower enclosures to smaller jobs such as a vanity mirror, ABC is your source for glass tailored to your home and preferences. We are a local family-owned and operated business and look forward to serving you!