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Five top tips to free up more gift space

By Julia Gray

If finding room for this year's Christmas presents seems impossible, here's some ideas for increasing your home's storage capacity.

1 One room where storage is essential is the bedroom and while many of us dream of a walk-in wardrobe most homes don't have space for one.

The next best thing is built-in wardrobes, as they provide acres of space and are a more flexible storage solution than freestanding wardrobes.

Fitted storage is particularly useful in awkwardly shaped rooms, such as loft bedrooms, where built-in wardrobes can make the most of the space, especially in the eaves. They are usually made to measure, so all the available space is used, and the interiors can be customised with drawers, shelves and hanging rails etc, depending on your needs.

The main downside is the price - fitted wardrobes typically cost thousands of pounds from a specialist company, although a carpenter will often make them for a lot less.

2 If your bedroom already has fitted wardrobes but the doors belong to another decade, simply replace them with more up-to-date ones (as long as the wardrobe interiors are fine).

It's easy to get standard-sized or made-to-measure replacement wardrobe doors, especially online, giving you a great new look for a fraction of the price of new wardrobes. Alternatively, get a carpenter to make new doors for you.

3 In the kitchen, lack of storage can drive you to distraction. A larder is ideal, but may not be an option in a small kitchen, where it's really important to have clever storage and a well-designed layout. Kitchen showrooms and DIY stores can offer ingenious ways of making more of the space, including pull-out worktops, pull-out shelves/racks in larder units, carousels so you can easily access the back of corner units, and tall wall units that provide extra storage in kitchens with higher ceilings.

4 Away from the kitchen, there's potential to create storage space all over the home.

Ideas include turning an understairs space into a cupboard, window seats with built-in storage, stairs that contain drawers, a vanity unit for extra bathroom storage, and built-in bookshelves and cupboards in alcoves; even a desk. With a bespoke home office, the space can be tailor-made for your computer, printer, files and more.

5 Some of the best storage is, of course, your home's loft. If you need to access it often, fitting a large loft hatch with a built-in ladder will make it much easier. You'll also need to board the loft (if it's not already boarded) before storing things up there. Use sheets of chipboard, or chipboard loft boards, which slot together.

Soft insulation (in rolls), such as mineral wool, shouldn't be compressed, though, so use loft legs to raise the floor level above the insulation - the recommended depth for mineral wool is 27cm.

Another option is to lay rolls of insulation between the joists, but rigid insulation over them and chipboard on top -some rigid insulation has a chipboard top layer.

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