Create Artful Design In Self-Storage

HumAdmin Industry News

Once just a cluster of off-white, single-story, metal buildings in industrial areas and business parks, today’s self-storage facilities now mimic the architecture and color selection of higher-end offices and can blend into their neighborhood. Creating the ideal self-storage building is both an art and a science.

But, another–often overlooked– facet is the layout.

Artfully designing the layout of a self-storage building should be on every facilities mind. Once the right lot to build on has been found, before even delving into the aesthetics, the next step should be creating the ideal layout and unit mix.

How wide should the buildings be? How should they be positioned? What size units are needed? How wide should the drive aisles be?

Everything should be carefully thought out and have its own purpose.

When trying to figure out the number and size of units needed, look to the competition. Are there unit sizes that local storage facilities never seem to have? Are certain sizes discounted? Looking to see what the competition is doing can be a valuable way to find insight into the market.

Next, consider demographics. In are area with more homeowners, a facility is less likely to see customers in need of a storage unit. However, in an area with a high amount of rentals, storage facilities will see more customers looking for rental storage space. But, just because an area has a majority of homeowners doesn’t mean storage units are not needed. While homeowners rent less frequently, when they do, they need bigger units. Typically, they’ll store boats, cars and campers– especially in areas with stringent HOA rules against outdoor storage.

Suburban and rural self-storage facilities that serve mostly homeowners can do very well with 40-foot-wide buildings or larger sized units. People in multi-family properties tend to move and require storage more often but have a need for smaller units. Self-storage facilities in these areas can use 30-foot-wide storage buildings that provide more units at a smaller size. Higher income clients, especially those in urban areas, are more likely to want climate-controlled units.

Finally, local geography needs to be taken into account. If the facility will be near a body of water or campgrounds, vehicle storage might be smart investment.

Designing a facility typically involves starting with a simple sketch in five-foot increments. Rectangular structures are the easiest to build as well as maintain while jogs in buildings will increase the cost.

The layout of a facility should drive the design, not the other way around. It can be easy to get caught up in the latest trends and try to incorporate them all into the design but the layout should make storing easier for the customer.

If you are interested in the artful design of self-storage, Imperial Design Builders can help you make your “work of art”.

We have several on-going projects that we would love to talk to you about. You can also find out more about Imperial Design Builders by going to our website or Call Mike Gillikin at 252-414-0471 or email him at

The artful design of self-storage buildings just became a top trend. For more trends check out our blog and social media posts titled “Top 5 Trends in Self-Storage Design and Construction.”