On the whole, it is better to collect storage together in one part of the room, in the form of a row of built-in cupboards or shelves perhaps, or a freestanding cabinet that is also used as a room divider, rather than scattering it. However, avoid placing it in front of electrical sockets, switches, taps and other services.
Knowing which type of storage to buy is not easy, as the choice of styles is enormous and it is not always clear why some cost much more than others. To a certain extent you should be guided by the objects that are to be stored. A row of posts weighs more than a few wooden ornaments so the shelf supporting them should be correspondingly stronger. If you are trying to store a lot of small items, such as kitchen condiments, it is better to arrange them in single rows on several narrow shelves than on a single deep shelf.
Personal taste, finances and the size of the available area are other factors to bear in mind. In small rooms, wall-mounted cabinets or shelves can help to increase the feeling of space, as they allow the floor to be kept clear. Also, the visual impact of different styles of storage varies greatly. Imagine an alcove filled with glass shelves, then with built-in cupboards that match the surrounding walls and finally with an ornate piece of furniture. Each storage style is more prominent than the last and affects to a greater extent how you perceive the space around it.
A common dilemma is not knowing how much storage is necessary. Interior designers often say it is twice as much as you think. Certainly, it is always advisable to err on the generous side. If nothing else, it allows you to find room for future acquisitions. It is also a good idea to build more strength into a storage system than you need, not only to make it last longer but also to allow for changes in use at a later date.
Fabric wardrobes and hanging shelves are cheap, light and pack flat, which makes them ideal for anyone who moves home regularly, and for use in infrequently used spaces such as guest rooms. Cheerful designs such as this also help to personalize a space when permanent decorative changes are out of the question.