3 Creative Storage Solutions

Fact: When you live with kids, you live with stuff. A lot of stuff. More stuff than you ever thought possible. And unless you've made peace with constant chaos—toys exploding all over your living room, clothes and shoes littered like a trail of crumbs across your floor—you know that organization is a parent's best friend. On that note, here are three smart storage solutions that happen to look pretty good, too.

(Photo: Ball & Albanese/Lonny)

Idea 1: The Mudroom
Granted, the entire concept of a mudroom takes on renewed appeal when small children are involved. Think of it as a drop zone within your home where order can be imposed before the messes of the outside world  can move deeper within. A zinc boot tray with a liner, such as the one above at Kieran DiTullio's upstate New York home, allows wet or muddy footwear to drain and dry off. Wicker baskets keep shelves neat and serve as extra space for sweaters, small umbrellas, pet leashes, or anything else you might need to grab on your way out the door.

(Photo: Coral von Zumwalt/Lonny)

Idea 2: The Dress-Up Wall 
Fanciful costumes are bound to enthrall any child. Why keep them stuffed in a trunk? Take a cue from interior designer Ruthie Sommers, whose coastal ranch near Santa Barbara, California, features this wall of whimsy. "The kids and I go to vintage shops and find old Ronald Reagan plates and hats—always hats," Sommers says of their freewheeling collection. She is adamant about putting it all on display: "When items are in front of kids, they will partake... By keeping dress-up hats out in the open, I'm trying to promote imagination."

(Photo: Patrick Cline/Lonny)Idea 3: The Library Look
"It's really fun decorating a home where the family makes an effort to keep it kid-friendly," says designer Lisa Sherry of this Minneapolis home she designed for clients Courtney and Scott Vincent. "If the adults have an office, the kids get one too." Here, a built-in bookcase puts all the literary favorites front and center, creating a decorative idea out of the collage of titles and colors. A beanbag invites readers of all ages to get low and comfortable.

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