Take advantage of your empty vertical space with these 15 tricks

Published Dec. 21, 2016

If you size up the walls of your home, you'll likely find more empty vertical space than you know what to do with. This space is basically a blank canvas for you to design in any way you please.

By taking advantage of vertical space, you can gain practical space in your home. And in some cases, vertical space can save you from having to spend major bucks on redecorating. Check out these tips that will save you space and money.

Add a vertical garden

Never find yourself lacking the herbs for a recipe again. You can enhance your spice collection — and your cooking — with a stunning vertical herb garden, which also serves as a cheap way to spruce up a dull space.

"It offers a unique, space-saving way to harvest fresh herbs, while adding lush greenery to a kitchen or an outdoor area," said Tori Toth, a professional home stager and author.

You don't need much to get started. Pick a container type, like a Mason jar, and attach several of them to the wall. Fill with the herbs of your choice, water as needed and watch your garden grow.

Consider shelving above your doorways

Next time you look up at your doorway, think about the space you're wasting. Larry Greene, owner of Case Design/ Remodeling in Indiana, says this is a perfect area for storage or decor.

"A nice aspect of doing this is that you can often make the space look more open, because you're displacing items that were previously at eye level," he said.

This easy redecorating trick doesn't cost much. You can simply add a shelf and display items you already have, such as bowls, vases, decorative storage boxes or a combination of all three.

For added visual interest, think thin and tall

If you have an abundance of empty vertical space in a room, Greene recommended incorporating pieces that are tall rather than wide. This adds "visual variation and interest to a room."

Fortunately, you don't have to go out and purchase furnishings that are large and expensive. To tackle this trick, stack several pieces of art or family pictures on the wall vertically to add height.

Use the space on the back of a door for storage

If your home is starting to feel cramped, Toth recommends using the space on the back of a door. She says a door pocket storage organizer can be used for bathroom toiletries, dry food storage or even office supplies and crafts.

As an added benefit, pocket storage is relatively affordable. You can find a pocket organizer for less than $15 at Target.

Freestanding furniture can elongate a room

To elongate a room and maximize space, consider adding furniture that's also functional.

"Freestanding armoires, media cabinets and bookcases that are narrow and stretch upward can add practical efficiency to a vertical space," said Jeffrey Weldler, an interior design expert at Vant Wall Panels.

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For added visual appeal, he recommended adding potted greenery and colorful pottery on top of furniture.

Make the most of closet space by organizing

A lot of empty space goes to waste in closets. According to Weldler, shelving is a practical choice for these areas, too: "It immediately gives space for shoes, handbags and more."

Although you could spend a small fortune on a high-end closet, you can find low-cost closet organizers at stores like the Container Store, Target, Home Depot and Lowe's. You can also hang baskets on closet walls instead of using bins that occupy floor space.

Add vertical space under the bed with risers

Having too much stuff in a bedroom can make it look small and cluttered. If you need to maximize space, Weldler recommended adding bed risers.

"It immediately opens up storage space under your bed, which is the perfect place to store off-season clothing, holiday decorations and other items you don't use frequently," he said.

Rather than buying extra furnishings to store these items, hide the clutter from sight by keeping it under your bed.

Combine your spaces

If your living quarters are cramped, you might want to add office space but lack the room for a desk. Fortunately, there's an easy fix for that issue. According to Weldler, you should consider adding a loft bed to your home.

"They make grown-up versions that create space underneath (the bed) perfect for your home office or dressers. This is particularly helpful in a studio apartments," he said.

Although this space-saving tip involves buying a loft bed, you'll get a great deal of extra space for your investment.

Make use of mirrors

Mirrors are an easy way to redecorate, particularly when it comes to taking advantage of vertical spaces. They're relatively cheap and can quickly add character and depth to a room.

But interior designer and home staging expert Sandy Levin offers a word of caution: "You must be careful it is reflecting something beautiful that you would want repeated in the room, such as a gorgeous window view."

If you don't have any mirrors to fill these spaces already, check out the selection at your local thrift store. You might find a framed mirror that will fit your taste after a little TLC.

Add color and stripes

Toth says an easy way to spruce up vertical space is to liven walls with new paint or add stripes to existing paint.

"Painting the room a lighter color so you can reflect more light definitely maximizes space," she said. "Take it one step further and paint your ceiling the same color to blur the lines or try adding a pop of color or simple wallpaper to your ceiling, which will force people to look and visualize the height of the space."

This trick is a relatively cheap one, if you can swing the paint job yourself.

Create a gallery wall

When it comes to redecorating, there should always be a piece in the room that's an attention-grabber. A gallery wall certainly draws the eye.

You can use artwork you've collected over the years, children's framed paintings or drawings and photographs of the family to create a wall collage. These galleries eat up a lot of space without driving up your credit card bill. And if you're in need of frames, you can always purchase some secondhand for a discount.

Lift up kitchen clutter

Clutter can cost you money. And clutter in your kitchen can mask an attractive kitchen and make it far less functional. This is particularly true for kitchens that are short on counter space.

Maximizing vertical space is crucial for cluttered kitchens. Consider putting shelving on an empty wall. You can then put coffee mugs, jars or bowls on display. If done correctly, this idea can be decorative, functional and cost-effective.

Use a hanging file cabinet

Mail and other items typically end up being thrown on the kitchen counter somewhere — unless you have a filing system. Fortunately, an empty wall serves this purpose well.

A hanging file cabinet can save you money in more ways than one. First, you won't risk losing important documents or missing bill payments, because you'll be more organized. Second, you don't have to buy an organizer, as you can easily make one yourself. For instance, you can hang baskets on the wall and label them according to purpose.

Maximize corner nooks

The corner of a room can be the perfect spot for a wall bookshelf, art display or picture gallery.

One logical place for a corner shelf is above a desk. You can strategically place a plant, picture or books there to create a visually pleasing display. This design element can help distract from any clutter surrounding your desk, as well. And if you make the shelves yourself, this can be a very cost-effective decorating trick.

Add some word art

No one said art has to be expensive. Buy wood-carved letters at your local craft store, paint them your color of choice and hang.

The message is up to you, but the options are virtually endless. In the kitchen you could vertically hang letters to spell "EAT" or write out your child's name in their bedroom. This is a great way to utilize space and be creative, without having to spend a lot of money.