Before and After: An Empty Entryway is Now a Functional Triple Threat

This shoe storage had its issues — scuffs, unpainted areas, general ricketiness — but it’s still better than my Heap O’Shoes. Can the less-than-ideal but serviceable shoe storage racks be improved upon? Is attractive, accessible, adaptable, practical shoe storage actually possible? We shall see.

This is amazing! It looks incredibly cool, and the shoes are within easy reach of both the door and the shoe-putting-on bench. And while there are only six pairs of shoes shown here, this ingenious display by Lily Ardor could easily hold at least double that. By my calculations, if you removed the plant, used shelves that are twice as long, moved all of the shelves up one row, and added an additional shelf to the bottom, you could store 16 pairs in a display this size. And while the clever storage bench could be used for things like dog accessories (leash, bags, towel) or outdoor gear (hats, mittens, flashlights), I would be tempted to use it to store my most floppy/least attractive boots and shoes. It’s just not a home without some sort of Heap O’Shoes!

The high hooks are a nice addition, creating a storage trio, and I especially appreciate the leather loops. I wear scarves/wraps nearly every day, year-round, and find them near impossible to store well. A loop is an excellent solution, and leather is a perfect choice.

The size of the new built-in bench is great for both storage and sitting, but I think most of us could get away with a shallower spot if space were limited:

“I’ll be honest I was quite worried about the shoe rack being right behind the bench. Meaning you can’t really lean back because the shoes are there but, I thought it through a million and one times and decided that it’s not like it’s a couch. We only need something to sit on to put shoes on. That’s it!! Nothing too comfy.”

That’s right — this is a project for an entryway — or a mudroom, if you’re lucky — not a lounge!

If you would like to turn a small entryway nook into an Ultimate Storage Command Center, Lily Ardor has step-by-step instructions on her blog, a ton of process shots, a how-to video and detailed advice. And if you’re just interested in the shoe rack, all you need are 2x3s, cut plywood, and a drill — you don’t even need to paint the rack if you like the wood-paneled look!

Thank you, Lily!

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