1930s wooden haberdashery cabinetThe world of vintage furniture offers up some great storage solutions that can work in pretty much every room in the house. Whether it’s a Danish teak sideboard or a polished steel filing cabinet demand is always high.

polished steel filing cabineThe modern home needs intelligent storage and a vintage piece will usually outlast anything that can be bought new whilst adding warmth and character to a room. Whilst many types of storage such as sideboards, chests of drawers and cupboards have been used in the home for hundreds of years recent decades have seen a shift towards re-purposing non domestic items. Factories, hospitals and schools have yielded thousands of well designed quality pieces of furniture such as lockers, plan chests and medical cabinets. Much larger quantities unfortunately fell victim to the bonfire, scrap yard and landfill meaning that good examples are becoming something of a rarity.

Another popular category of re-purposed furniture are haberdashery cabinets. These beautiful units hark back to an era of elegant shopping where products were secreted in glass fronted drawers. Good examples can sell for thousands of pounds and find new roles storing everything from toys to socks.

The rise in home working has created high demand for UK vintage office furniture, the much heralded paperless office still seems to be a long way off. Dreary paperwork can be stylishly stored in polished steel filing cabinets with their classic chrome or aluminium handles and card index holders. Matching steel desks from the Mid Century era can be stripped and polished to match and again can offer plenty of storage in their generous drawers.

 1930s 32 section steel pigeon holes

1930s 32 section steel pigeon holes

There are many other types of drawer unit, manufactured for now long obsolete filing systems that work well for storing a wealth of small objects that can’t be found a home for anywhere else.

The era in which many of these pieces were produced was one in which quality materials were abundant and considered standard rather than high end. Solid oak, brass and heavy gauge steel have timeless appeal and can work in both contemporary and traditional interiors.

Whilst the purpose of most storage furniture is to hide things away some is used for display. Here again vintage pieces can compliment and enhance collections of objects. Old medical cabinets work well displaying everything from crockery to sculpture. Trolleys from shoe factories are used in bathrooms to store towels and in kitchens to store cookware. Pigeonholes come in many different sizes and work well for storing folded clothing, shoes, vinyl records and books.

Open storage requires more discipline, the dilemma being whether it is the storage or the items being stored that dominate. There is a definite satisfaction when both aspects achieve a perfect harmony.

Good storage is a vital part of any home, we all have things we either want to hide away when not in use or enjoy on view. Choosing vintage pieces to do this job for us is a pleasure in itself and they are more likely to move with us from property to property creating the continuity and familiarity that makes a house a home.