space under stairs

kelleg69March 10, 2008

Does anyone have a good way of using the space under their stairs? Our butler's pantry will be under the stairs. We will be able have a tall closet/cabinet (hopefully a coat closet), but then we will have counterspace under the stairs. Any ideas for above the counter? Do you think a funny shaped cabinet could go there or shelves?

Yesterday, I saw a photo of some wine rack or something like that under stairs. I thought it looked neat but didn't pay much attention. Now I wish I knew where I saw it. Does it sound familiar to anyone???

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We are putting a walk-in gun safe under our basement stairs. But it doesn't sound like thats what you are looking for. :)

    Bookmark   March 11, 2008 at 7:14AM
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Where the door to the under stair closet is, we are putting in a roll out pantry with fixed shelves behind it. To make use of the lower section of the stairwell, we are putting in drawers on the side under the stringers.

    Bookmark   March 11, 2008 at 10:06AM
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Our under-stairs area is actually in our garage so we will use it for storage and as our tornado hide-out in the case of a tornado.

I've seen them used as pantries plenty of times. A powder bath a few times. They make a great place to tuck away dog crates. If ours was inside the house instead of in the garage, we would definitely store the dog crate there.

I think it would be neat to put wine storage in the angled area, above your cabinets. You could find some of those shelves that you lay bottles of wine on.

You might also post this on the Home Decorating forum. The creative people on that forum will have plenty of suggestions.

Good luck,

    Bookmark   March 11, 2008 at 10:14AM
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I'll third the suggestion of a wine storage area, that would look really neat and it is part of the butler's pantry, right? Great idea. Our space under the stairs in the basement will eventually be shelved for game storage. I have always thought that would be a great place to hide some of the kid crud.


    Bookmark   March 11, 2008 at 10:24AM
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Our original plan was for a closet under our stairs (we have a raised ranch with a finished walkout basement), but dh wanted something more. I looked at some awesome inspiration pictures, but $$ contraints meant something a little more modest (typical during our entire process, LOL).

Here is our under stair bar area:


    Bookmark   March 11, 2008 at 10:53AM
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I'm not a vinophile but it strikes me that under the stairs might not be the best place to store wines for any length of time. Seems like traffic up and down the stairs would result in rather a lot of "vibration" which I've heard is really bad for wines.

We using the underside of our staircase to store my husband's massive music CD collection.

    Bookmark   March 11, 2008 at 12:19PM
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We have a little enclosed 'cat room'; it has a cat flap in the wall, & a short (about 5'6") door for me to enter it. It holds the litter box, cat food & water, & all cat supplies, AND a central vacuum vac-pan, so that I can just sweep the kicked-out cat litter away (with the small broom that hangs on the wall.) It's entered from the exercise/laundry room, so the odd door configuration is OK. It has a fluorescent light & an electrical outlet for a night light.

This keeps the large dog away from the cat food (and, excuse me, the litter box) and gives the cat a 'safe' spot. It's surprisingly roomy for this use; plenty of space for me to get in there & do what needs to be done. Not as elegant as a powder room, a wet bar, or wine storage, but, hey.

 oh! this is only under the stairs portion; the space under the stair landing is accessed from outside, and is used for grill & related accessories storage.

    Bookmark   March 11, 2008 at 12:32PM
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Ron Natalie

The chiller unit for my wine cellar is under the stairs.

    Bookmark   March 11, 2008 at 4:03PM
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happykate! That is exactly what we are planning to do with ours too!!! It will be accessed from our bedroom and will have a cat door in the access door. My husband suggested that we put cedar flooring in there to help control the odor. He also said we may want to vent it to the outside. Is this being extreme? I think he's worried that such a small closed up space will be unbearable when we humans have to go in there to clean up the kitty area.

    Bookmark   March 11, 2008 at 6:03PM
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Happykate: Could you post pictures? I am trying to decide what to do with our litter box, too. One of our stairs goes up next to the laundry room and I was thinking of doing an enclosed space there for the litter box. I have a small dog that I need to keep out of it so I thought I would raise it up some. If you have pictures of yours to show it would be greatly appreciated. Thanks in advance.

    Bookmark   March 11, 2008 at 6:18PM
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(sorry to hi-jack your post above) but I will be on topic now. We will be adding an audio cabinet under our main staircase for all my DH's printers and stuff that he will want to store away from his office so they can be hidden in a closet. We have two offices and both computers will be using this main location for printers.

    Bookmark   March 11, 2008 at 6:20PM
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Great ideas everyone. Thanks for your thoughts and your pix, Carrie!


    Bookmark   March 11, 2008 at 6:50PM
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Well, OK, I misspoke; we WERE going to put in a cat flap, but after the door trim was in we realized that we'd have to hack up all three trim pieces to get the thing installed. The trim guy just used more of the same trim and, well, trimmed it out. (No more saying trim.) So it's a small open door.

The people door is off it's hinges so that the trim (sorry!) guy can mask everything off and paint, but you can see how basic this is. Can't take a picture of the inside because there's not room for the camera to focus.

Ncamy, in the small rental we're in now the only place for the cat box is in a VERY small closet in the utility room that it shares with the furnace. I was very worried about odor, but premium priced scoopable cat litter and good habits fueled by terrors of all our coats smelling like cat box have worked well so far. I wonder if your cats would tolerate a cedar floor? If they don't, then you'd have a problem for sure . . .

Zoe, there's more than enough room for the litter box and everything else kitty needs. I'd think that if you had a raised open door your cat could easily get through it, leaving the little dog on the other side.

    Bookmark   March 11, 2008 at 7:03PM
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I want to make a large table on casters that can be rolled in and out. It will hold all the gift wrapping supplies, maybe have some storage room below for Christmas decorations as well.

I'd love to have all that gift stuff in one spot that can be easily accessed, yet dissappear at a moments notice.

    Bookmark   March 11, 2008 at 7:20PM
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Gift wrapping station is a great idea!

    Bookmark   March 11, 2008 at 8:32PM
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A great place to store the artificial xmas tree and decorations. No need to disassemble the tree and just leave the ornaments on! Yes, maybe some will miss the magic of decorating the tree but my idea of decorating the tree ... open the wine, roll the already decorated tree out of the closet to the living room, and plug it in. This leaves more time for drinking wine!

    Bookmark   March 12, 2008 at 12:31AM
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My parents had the area under their stairs drywalled and put in a little sconce and they use it as a "playhouse" for the grandkids. It's accessed by a little 3' door from one of the bedrooms.

The kids adore it!

We are planning on doing something similar in our new house, but because our stairs are largely straight up (as opposed to 8 stairs up then a landing (the kids love to play in the part under the landing), it won't have the same charm, but we hope they'll like it anyway. And later we'll use it for storage (or someday for grandkids).

    Bookmark   April 5, 2008 at 12:33PM
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Wow! Such inspiration!

I absolutely love the wet bar under the steps! However, the practical side of me really wants a place to hide the cat litter.

Would it be too weird to have two set of steps going into the basement so I could do both ideas?!? :-D

    Bookmark   April 5, 2008 at 4:23PM
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I'm not sure if you're still interested, but while I was looking for inspiration for my own storage issues, I think I may have found the "under the stair" wine rack that you mentioned in your original post:,30587,1644310,00.html
Hope you can access it - it's pretty neat. Let us know how you end up using that space. Good luck!

Here is a link that might be useful: Under the stair wine storage

    Bookmark   May 8, 2008 at 10:26AM
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You all have such great ideas! We will have a coat closet underneath our upper stairway. Under the basement stairway, we will have a locked closet for DH's hunting, camping and fishing stuff.

    Bookmark   May 8, 2008 at 4:27PM
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Wow....I wish I would have thought mine through a little further......embarrassed to say it but...........

.............we did a broom closet :-(

    Bookmark   May 8, 2008 at 10:41PM
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Great ideas!

We had our carpenter build two cabinets. The upper cabinet has an outlet for charging cellphones, camera batteries, etc. We also use this space for wrapping paper storage, etc. Below, we had a tall cabinet built. It is divided vertically into three spaces. Here, we store two large table leaves and a bridge table and chairs. Because the space is deep, we have been able to store "difficult" to store items.

    Bookmark   May 9, 2008 at 6:26AM
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happykate... our cat bathroom is the same! We have a pantry off the kitchen and the back wall has a 2x2 opening in it (6 inches off the floor, with a small step) for the cats to go thru. That entire wall is pantry shelves, so we lost hardly anything to put it there. The other side is the attached garage, where we have a door that lets us in to store cat supplies, misc. stuff at the end where the stairs meet the floor, and the 2 litter boxes and trash. We have a 5W CFL that stays on 24x7 for them and a mini-split off the A/C system in the ceiling. For vacuuming, we just pass the hose through their doorway and walk around to our door.

I consider it the most brilliant extra we thought of at framing time!!!

    Bookmark   May 9, 2008 at 3:36PM
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do you have inlaws? I joked with mine that the inlaw quarters was below the stairs. Great thread, I took a look at ours today on the site and started scratching my head. It does a nice bend under the stairs again so lots of space for little people who like to hide.

    Bookmark   May 23, 2008 at 1:08AM
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