9 Under-Stair Storage Ideas

A modern-looking living room with a sleek staircase.

Getting organized at home is not just about getting rid of clutter. It's just as important to use every bit of available space. This can be a challenge, especially in smaller homes or apartments. If you have stairs in your space, the area under them is an often overlooked spot with tons of potential.

Think about the location of the stairs in your home. How much room do you have to work with? This will be a starting point for determining what will work best for your needs and tastes. Here are just a few of the ways this space can be transformed into a stylish, yet functional, work or storage area.

1. Build a Book Nook

A staircase with bookcases.

A popular way to use the space under the stairs is to create bookcases. Shelves of any shape and size can be built or bought to accommodate books and the space given. If there is ample room, a reading nook can be incorporated into the design by adding a built-in bench. Finish with some pillows and a throw and you will be ready to snuggle up with a favorite story.

2. Create a Coat Rack

If the stairs are located near an entrance, it might be fitting to use the area under them for coat and shoe storage. There are many prebuilt racks suitable for hanging coats and bags. Get creative and use repurposed items such as an old pegboard to hang hats and scarves. Shoes could be stored on shelves, in bins or baskets. A built-in bench with a hinged top would be an excellent option for shoes and umbrellas. Add a place for your keys and have everything you need in one convenient place when it’s time to leave the house.

3. Set Up an Office

A desk and chair under a staircase.

If you don’t have an entire room to devote to an office, but need a place to work from home, consider converting the space beneath the stairs into an office. Start with a desk and shelves, add some filing cabinets or storage bins, and soon you’ll have a comfy work space, even in the smallest apartment.

4. Lose the Bulk

If you live in an apartment or in a house without a garage or storage building, you can use the space under the stairs for storing all sorts of sports equipment. If room permits, hang your bike out of the way while still having it in a handy location. Use shelves, cabinets, or bins for everything from bats and balls to helmets and ice skates.

5. Design an Enchanting Play Area

Building blocks and toys in rows of blue bins.

If there are children in the home, revamp the area under the staircase with a kid-friendly approach. Create a play area with toy storage, an arts and crafts area, or even a secret playhouse. Start with a child-size table and chairs. Follow up with some colorful storage bins and shelves for organizing toys, books, and games. Adorn the wall with your child’s photographs or artwork. Construct a private hideout under the stairs that any child would love. Add glow lights and a comfy chair or bed for a cozy getaway.

6. Make Your Own Minibar

If you do a lot of entertaining, the space under the stairs can be transformed into an elegant wine rack or minibar. This plan can be fairly elaborate, including a keg tap and small refrigerator. Or, it can simply involve building or hanging a wine rack and adding shelves for glasses and an ice bucket. Save space by installing an overhead glass rack. Details such as soft lighting set the mood of the space.

7. Establish a Laundry Center

A stack of towels and a couple bottles of laundry detergent.

Don’t think you have enough space for a laundry room? There are several styles of washers and dryers available that are compact enough to fit into limited spaces. Add a fold-down ironing board and some shelves or cabinets. In larger areas, include a rack for hanging garments to dry or for freshly pressed linens.

8. Get Crafty

Whether you are an artist or a seamstress, you can take advantage of the space by turning it into an area for craft and art supplies or, depending on the amount of room you have to work with, a work area with storage. Keep everything you need at arm’s reach by installing shelves and cabinets.

Make color coordination easy by arranging bolts of fabric and jars of buttons so that they can be seen. Organize paints and brushes using colorful bottles on shelves. Use labeled storage bins to keep track of your patterns and papers. Finish off the spot with a dry erase or corkboard to keep lists and ideas.

9. Tool Storage in the Basement

Yard tools hanging on a white wall.

To make use of the space under the stairs in the basement, create a storage and organization area for things like paint and tools. Simple arrangements of shelves, cabinets, and drawers allow for easy access to commonly used items like hammers, measuring tape, and sand paper. Use labeled drawers and bins to arrange nails, screws, and hinges so that they can be easily located.

Maximize your space with an under-the-stairs project while creating a practical and inviting spot you never thought you had room for. To get started, check out this article on Installing Under Stair Shelves. The possibilities are endless.