The trick is to look for storage space in new and different places. Every room, no matter how small or how broken up its walls, will yield valuable storage space if you think hard about it.
In a 9-by10 1/2-foot child's room, there seemed to be very little wall space for anything, even wall-shelves. The three doors led to a closet, the bath and the hall. Two separated windows ruined any chance for a storage system.
The twin-sized bed was a trundle, so there would always be an extra bed for an overnight guest. The problem was finding space for the books, toys, games, trophies, hobbies, stereo and extra clothes that this 11-year-old collected.
The only place to look for extra space was up. The room had a conventional 8-foot-high ceiling, and the doors and windows were the conventional 7 feet high, leaving one clear foot of marvelous space above them. This was really new found land, and to maximize it, I built a shelf clear around the room, above the doors and windows, stretching like a continuous ribbon. On the two shorter sides of the room I made the shelf 14 inches deep, to accommodate larger equipment and even a suitcase or two. On the narrower sides, I used a shallower, 8-inch shelf, perfectly adequate for most extras.
Under the deeper shelf, and over the desk, I hung a shallow work shelf, deep enough for books and strong enough to support a clamp lamp to light up the desk. Between the closet and entrance doors I simply continued the shallow, 8-inch-deep shelves down to the floor. Four shelves are open and the bottom shelf is closed in with a pair of plywood doors, to conceal a lot of disorganized and unattractive junk. A similar set of shallow shelves "grows" from the above-the-door shelf on either side of a window, providing still more storage space for stereo equipment and records and tapes.
In another room for two sisters I used the same system on a wall where two beds grew from a window wall. Each bed was placed in the corners formed by the window wall and the two walls at right angles to it. The window wall itself was punctured by two 3-by-5-foot windows shelf treatment across the wall, and then built additional shelves over each bed, totally filling the space from outer edge of each window to the corner of the room, with more shelves in the narrow wall space between the two windows.
The vertical sides supporting the shelves became handsome frames for the two windows, giving me enough depth to use a double-window treatment - a plain white room-darkening shade behind a filmy white casement drapery.
The bottom shelf was deepended to 16 inches to become a work space under the windows for each child. It supported a headboard for each bed. The entire wall became a giant and roomy storage system.