How To Choose New Storage
Our founder, Sir Terence Conran, is a firm believer in considering storage as an element of design rather than an afterthought. Open shelving can be used to create a visually striking centrepiece, with carefully arranged books and decorative accessories such as vases, clocks and flowers providing splashes of colour.
Things to consider when shopping for new storage solutions:
Do you want built-in or free-standing storage?
Which room or area which can be made into a storage-only space?
What extra space can you utilise for storage?
What objects need to be stored away?
Do you have storage space for sports and hobby equipment?
Do you need somewhere to keep things safe but not to display them?
Are there items you use more often in summer than winter so that you can organise storage on a seasonal basis?
Do your possessions often suffer from how they are stored, for example, rust, crumbling or breakages?
Before deciding on which type of storage to buy, make a scale drawing of the room. Draw in the door and windows and any furniture that stands against the walls. In coloured pencil add the light switch or electric points and then in dotted lines the position of concealed gas pipes or electric cables, so that you are sure not to block off electric sockets or important taps and switches.
First, decide what you want to store on the shelves, and which wall you are going to fix them to. Check that the wall in question is flat, and made of solid bricks or breeze blocks, as flimsy partition walls usually cannot stand the weight of shelving plus content. Next, find out if any electric cables or gas pipes are concealed in the plaster, as it is obviously essential not to drill holes for the fixings in these areas. If you are in doubt, get expert advice.
Depending on the unit you choose, for installation, you will likely need a drill with the correct size bit, a screwdriver, a pencil, and a measuring tape. Full instructions will be provided with the unit you order, so please refer to these.
The beauty of modular shelving units is that they can be added to as needs, demand and budget allow; they often come in kit form to be assembled at home, such as the versatile range of shelving systems by Italian designers Kriptonite which range in size from truly tiny to fully expansive. Using modular units, you can compose square and / or rectangular shapes from 34cm to 200cm wide, or you can improvise with creative forms, such as shelves that frame a bed or television, or letter-shapes for a child’s bedroom.
Modular storage fittings usually comprise units of standard height and depth and two or three different widths, designed as to fill almost any given space within a few inches. These storage units are aluminium, and come in raw or painted finishes in bright or matt, white or black. Flexible home-assembled units allow for inexpensive but stylish customised storage. Basic cubes can be used to create various shapes and fill awkward corners.
Free-standing storage includes cupboards, bookcases, chests, wardrobes, armoires, tallboys, chests of drawers, sideboards, coat stands and TV stands.
Adding free-standing storage units may mean losing a valued corner or section of a room, but the advantages will almost certainly outweigh that loss.
Free-standing units are ideal for awkward and unused spaces, such as underneath stairs and in attics. You may also place them within existing built-in storage, as a means of organising the contents of a cupboard.
“Big wicker laundry baskets are attractive and easy to scoop large toys into. An old-fashioned travelling trunk is another option, but be careful of tiny fingers getting caught when the lid is shut.”
Sir Terence Conran on child-friendly storage, The House Book, 1974
Notes on Style
Look at the furniture in the room. Is the storage you are planning complementary to its style and function? Carefully located, storage can add visual interest to a room and improve its proportions. When choosing storage it is essential to create a visual impact without completely overpowering the interior of a room. A well-chosen storage unit can merge effectively with the room.
Large storage furniture, which is bulky, can be made less obtrusive by carefully matching a finish that blends with the rest of the room. Always avoid contrasting materials, unnecessarily ornate finishes and mouldings and a proliferation of knobs and handles.
In small houses or flats storage figures large, and it is worth considering using the same units throughout the house to give a feeling of continuity.
We offer a range of storage style options, including minimal, contemporary, and vintage, as well as some classic finishes and shapes from top designers like Gubi.
Notes on Care
For modular units, which are almost exclusively aluminium, care is simple. Just wipe down with dish soap and a wet cloth, taking care to avoid acetone, vinegar, ammonia-based products, and abrasive sponges.
With wooden storage pieces, always be sure to protect them from sunlight, which can damage the colour and age the finish. High humidity will damage wooden forms. For everyday cleaning, a soft cloth will suffice. Drinks stains can compromise wood finish surfaces.
Notes on Delivery
Delivery details will vary depending on the product. Please note the individual delivery information on the product page when ordering, which will also provide you with more technical information regarding installation. Your delivery person will not install your items, and for larger pieces, two delivery people may be required.
To be on the safe side, The Conran Shop recommends booking an Access Check to ensure your new piece of storage will fit in your home.
If you decide that it is time to invest in new storage, we offer a complimentary collection service in partnership with the British Heart Foundation, to help rehome your preloved items. Find out more here.
Delivery is included with the price of all of our storage items. Once you have placed your order, you will receive a call to organise this.
Storing Your Objects
Heavier objects are best stored on suitably sturdy shelving at waist height, not on the floor which causes back strain. Lifting at waist height enables you to use all muscles, distributing the weight evenly.
Objects stored at ground level should be easily retrieved, particularly if they are bulky or heavyweight. Avoid crawling and straining.
Only light objects, such as folded blankets or empty suitcases, are sensibly kept at top shelf height to avoid accidents.
Keep high shelves narrow, to avoid difficult rummaging and knocking things down.
Suitcases, bowls for bulbs that bloom in the spring, camping and sports gear that is seasonally needed, can go into “dead” storage – tops of cupboards, or attics, or even drawers in spare rooms. For anything else, it tends to be a case of out of sight, out of mind, and these spaces are not really useful.