Game collections grow quickly and space is at a premium for this type of hobby. Storing a board game collection is a unique challenge since board games come in all shapes and sizes. There are a few options available when you hit the point that you start having to consider your storage situation.
After figuring out how to organize your collection and where to store it, there are aesthetic choices to make. Whether you’re just trying to keep your collection neat and out of sight or trying to show it off, this article will cover all the possibilities for storage.
Board Game Storage: The Basics
It’s hard to talk about board game storage and not talk about the size of the collection. If you’re looking at board game storage ideas because you’ve crammed the last box you could fit on the shelf, consider the possibility of reducing the size of the collection.
One of the great things about having a small collection is the ability to have a minimalistic style for storing your games. To top it off, a lot of unique ideas can be implemented for pretty cheap as well.
One of the keys to keeping things looking tidy is not overpacking the storage solution you choose, so collection size is also going to determine what type of storage system you go with.
Once you learn to choose your belongings properly, you will be left with only the amount that fits perfectly in the space you own.Marie Kondo
Storing for Longevity
Part of the draw of board games is the art. Board game box art captures attention and pulls someone in. To keep your board games in pristine condition for as long as possible, you’ll want to consider a few things about storage:
- Sharp edges on whatever you store your games on will damage them over time
- Textured surfaces are going to cause wear on the bottom box art
- Direct sunlight will fade the boxes
- Stacking games too high will warp the boxes
These apply to storing games for transport as well, which is where most of the wear and tear will happen. Keeping these things in mind when picking out the storage situation for your games will help keep your game boxes in flawless shape for years to come.
There is a ton of options for showing off the collection with a wide range of styles that can fit the place you are putting your games. Thinking outside of the box and trying something different can really pay off aesthetically. Here are a few ideas for displaying your board game collection:
1. Floating Shelf
The options are endless for floating shelves fitting pretty much any style from rustic to modern to some unique styles that would work for game rooms. Floating shelves free up floor space and allowing a more open feel in your floorplan. They can also be used to fill up space in empty corners of the room or in that unused space along the upper perimeter of your wall.
There is plenty of DIY information on floating shelves as well. With a little bit of research and work, making your own display can have you set up for under $10 per shelf. This option is worth checking out for the price and flexibility.
2. Ladder Shelf
This option is easy to find, decorative, and functional. Naturally, ladder shelves lend themselves to storing smaller games on top and larger games at the bottom, which helps the organization since figuring out where to put those small games can be a bit difficult sometimes.
These shelves are built to hold a little more weight, so even packing it down with Gloomhaven won’t pull it to the ground. There are a variety of sizes so you can get one just right for the size of your collection. Additionally, if you find one that has the right look but is too small, you can essentially extend it by putting as many of them next to each other as you need.
This is a storage area specifically designed for board games. Each game has its own slot and the size of the slots can be changed. The design is modular, so you can add and remove shelves as needed so that it will work for small or large collections.
Since this was designed from the ground up for the specific function of storing board games, it is pretty perfect. Like almost anything else that is has a specialized use, it is also really, really expensive. For the smallest option, you’ll have to shell out $230 which fits 26 games (each having its own slots). That’s about $8.80 per game.
It’s crazy compared to the approximately $0.50 per game you could pay for the other options. If you have the budget for it though, this is the Cadillac of board game storage.
4. Cube Bookshelf
Cube style bookshelves are an efficient and popular way to store board games. Cubes will keep you from having to stack games too high and make it very easy for you to organize your collection. They are not expensive and come in a variety of shapes, colors, and sizes.
Large collections will be easy to store at low cost and, since many do not have backs, they can either be placed next to a wall to add a back or used as a room divider for a modern look. The Ikea Kallax line is a very popular choice for people that are specifically looking for ways to manage their collection.
5. Tree Bookshelf
If you want your storage space to double as a piece of art, using a tree bookshelf will add some style to your board game storage. This idea is perfect for a kids room or a living room piece.
The largest downside to this option is that you will be choosing aesthetics over function. The space provided on the “branches” of the tree doesn’t use up space in the most efficient way but they do add a whole lot of character to the room they are placed in.
Also, this project will either require a lot of time or money to fully realize this tree look. The shelf style pictured underneath is much less stylish but much more affordable and can be bought on amazon and delivered which is a big plus.
6. Coffee Table
I would say a solid 25-40% of games in our household happen on the coffee table. There are plenty of tables out there with storage options and many were made to show off books which makes them perfect for showing off games.
Of course, coffee tables are wide open on design and can be fitted to any room they are in. Just like with the tree bookshelf (probably more so), this is going to be very restrictive on collection size.
7. Bookshelf Headboard
If you are looking to store your games in the bedroom, setting up a bookshelf as a headboard is an elegant way to incorporate some storage space. These bookshelf designs are usually cubby style which suites itself well to board game storage since it allows a lot of space without having to stack games too high.
The bookshelf can be as wide or tall as needed to fit all your games on, so this makes it a great option for larger collections. However, this option is more expensive than some of the others on this list just because of the size of the piece of furniture.
8. Bookcase Bench
I bet you are starting to see a pattern here, a lot of things made to store books work perfectly to store games. In this case, benches can be a great way to add a little bit of storage space for your games while adding something functional to the space they take up. This piece of furniture will cost more than just a shelf but can really add to the area.
I’m pretty sure this one is just an Ikea kallax unit (number 4 on this list) turned on its side with a cushion. Super easy to make if you want to do it yourself.
9. Hanging Shelf
Just as with floating shelves, hanging shelves capitalize on unused wall space, allow more light in an area, and can even be used to grab some of that unused overhead space.
This is a cheap and easy to install option for a small to the medium-size collection. Hanging shelves are pretty limited on styles and you will have to consider the space a bit before you decide to hang your collection.
10. Rotating Shelf
A rotating shelf is great for adding capacity to a small footprint. One big thing to watch with this option is shelf depth which will be shallower than most options on this list. Regular size games will need a depth of at least 12″ to sit sturdily on the shelf. The style will also be limited with this option and it doesn’t look great in all situations.
If you would like to have your board game collection out of sight there are a few options that are perfect for just that. You can use pretty much any of the display storage options for hidden storage if you put it in a closet. Of course, these ideas are specifically for hidden storage and, because of that, have a more purposeful look. The space on these is a little limited compared to the display storage. Here are a few options that will hold a board game collection without being seen:
1. Storage Ottoman
Pretty much everyone has one of these in their living room. The only difference here is you are able to lift the top up or off and can stack your board games inside. Storage ottomans earn their keep with the functionality they offer. I recommend picking an ottoman with a top that flips to work as a tabletop.
This pretty much makes it an all-in-one unit that can be used for extra seating, a tabletop, and storage. It definitely earns the footprint it takes up making it fantastic for a smaller space. With this option, you’ll also want to at least consider the comfort and the look.
2. Hanging Closet Organizer
First and foremost weight needs to be considered with this idea. You shouldn’t be stuffing 20 pounds of Gloomhaven into this thing expecting it to hold up.
If you have a small to medium collection lining up a few of these in your closet will definitely give you the space you need to store your collection out of sight. The best part is, it may be the cheapest option on our list.
3. Storage Table
We had this one on our display storage list but it deserves to be on both. There are many types of coffee tables with concealable storage. My favorite is the pop-up style table, although this isn’t the most practical for board game storage since the mechanism that pops the top-up can damage games that get underneath it.
This is one of the more expensive options but it looks very nice and puts your games where you need them most, right under your table!
4. Staircase Drawers
So most people will not be able to pull this one off. First of all, you have to have stairs and, if you do, the stairs have to be set up so that the space underneath them is not currently being used by a bathroom or closet. If you have the ability though, they are functional little hideaways for all sorts of things (including board games).
There are many ways to put drawers in the space as the pictures show. Unfortunately, this is a full-on DIY project. No going to amazon to find the best-rated staircase drawers and having them at your door in 2 days.
5. Underbed Storage
If you haven’t already capitalized on all that space under the bed, now is the time. This storage solution will provide a ton of room and the cost is pretty low. Unlike the staircase drawers, these can be bought at Ikea or Amazon and you are likely to find one that will fit the dimensions and look of your bed perfectly.
There are also specifically made storage bed frames that either pop-up or are made with drawers inside the frame. These are going to carry a high cost and will be hard to transport. This isn’t the optimal solution for storing a board game collection but can look nifty and is very functional.