Our homes are filled with hidden potential for storage and display. This thought crossed my mind after seeing the creative placement of accents and catchalls beneath pieces of furniture. Although I’ve been doing this in my house for years, I took a closer look around my rooms and found a number of missed opportunities.

For instance, I have a shapely side table in the master bedroom that I recently considered replacing with shelves to maximize the amount of display space. Now I know I can take advantage of the floor below instead by placing a lidded basket or box under the table and topping it with a decorative object.

Even a piece of art can be propped against a wall beneath a piece of furniture that acts like another frame around the image. Pieces from the past offer more possibilities like the vintage skateboard I’ve kept under my nightstand for more than a decade because it works. It serves as a movable shelf that keeps reading materials by my side without taking up surface space.

For the living room, I found a smaller wine crate that fits beneath a chaise with a low profile. This lets me store newspapers I’m saving for now. The logo and other details like the lettering on the side of the crate add a decorative element to this simple storage solution and there is still enough space to add more of these crates in the future to hold books and other items.

Nearby, a chair on wheels that comes in handy when entertaining has a cardboard box with a canine motif tucked below that is filled with dog toys. Another spare chair across the room stands above a small crate that holds magazines.

In a long hallway filled with furniture, I never considered the potential for the empty space beneath an old dresser until a box full of seasonal items began taking up too much room in the coat closet. So, I simply slid the storage box under the dresser where it’s been sitting ever since. 

A raised trunk table in the same hallway has a metal magazine rack filled with books tucked below. The fact that the rack features a cutout design in a similar color to the table keeps the look clean and clutter-free.

Now I have an idea for the area under a pretty chair near the entry. This is the perfect place for a colorful bin that’s been in the laundry room for too long.

On the lower level, this concept continues with a daybed that provides a wide opening below for wooden boxes that hold design books. Near the bottom of the stairs, a black cabinet stands above a set of yellow nesting boxes that add some colorful storage to the mix.  

If you want to make the most of your square footage, take a peek beneath your furniture to see if you might add another layer of interest with some of your favorite storage and display pieces.

Jeanine Matlow is a Metro Detroit interior decorator turned freelance writer specializing in stories about interior design. You can reach her at



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