My wife and I are expecting our third child to arrive any day now. We have been busy rearranging one bedroom to meet the needs of our youngest (a two year old girl, and the new baby, who will also be a girl). This involved redoing my teenage son’s room too. We were not planning on three children when we bought our home, so we had not considered how the space would be used in such an event. We picked a 1700 sq ft home because it had various aspects we liked (one being that smaller homes take less to cool and heat).
I have known people to purchase larger homes for growing families, and this may be one reason why home sizes have been increasing in the United States, but with this idea of the New Frugality, we may see people devise ways to make better use of smaller spaces. In the room, we had two large bookshelves. Books are stuffed all around the house, and loosing two bookcases meant finding homes for these volumes. In the room, we also needed storage areas for toys or other items for two young girls.
My wife and I made our plans by carefully drawing rooms to scale, and playing with pieces that represented furniture. This is great when figuring if there is enough space, but you can easily forget that rooms are three dimensional. I looked at the walls to realize that there was a good deal of unused space up above other pieces of furniture. I cut my bookcases in half to have them attached to the ceiling. The lowest shelves can be reached by my daughter, while the upper shelves store things not needed all of the time.
I have often used wall space to store things. My collection of musical instruments hang from walls as if they were pieces of art. Guests are often surprised when I start pulling them down to let the children play with them, because they think that they only are for looking at. It is nice to see the instruments, instead of having them hidden away in a closet, and now people use them. You may consider storing things on your wall.
As an afterthought, I should mention my wife’s solution to a storage problem. She created a little hanging system behind the door of the bedroom for various objects. When the door is open, no one sees this, so it helps make the room feel uncluttered, but my daughter knows that her purses and things are there to play with, so she closes the door to her room to access them.