This is the first house I've had an entire room to myself to just be creative. I consider myself really lucky, but I've used the same concept when I have been more limited on space. In the past, I've just pared down the space to the corner of a room, inside dresser drawers, a closet, or under a bed. I've also found garage space to do the trick.
The bookshelves were among our first pieces of furniture
purchased over a dozen years ago. I lined the back with
fabric I just tacked on.
This dresser migrated from my son's room and was topped
with a hutch that my friend Electa gave to me.
As you can see, I've used every square inch. I try to balance my space with aesthetic decisions (displaying my bags, clear glass jars with buttons, etc.) and practical solutions. There is nothing in this room that is purely decorative. It doesn't pass the test unless it's functional, too. Even my "art" is inspiration boards for rooms I'm designing.
I pick up wooden and metal crates whenever I see them.
They fill in great for storage and can fit into most spaces.
The opposite wall (not pictured) is mounted with metal storage
crates for shelving used for my files, sewing basket and supplies.
After years of collecting unique bits and pieces of things, I have a pretty playful collection of trimmings and embellishments. Some things I always keep my eye open for are vintage ribbon, lace, anything with lettering, fabric scraps, great paper, buttons, sewing notions, old books, small metal bits--really anything vintage. When I find these pieces, I don't usually have a plan for them, but when I'm working on a project and need "some texture" or "more color" or "something old" and I just go dive into my drawers and baskets and pull out something. I don't usually have to buy much of anything when I make a project--I just use what I have.