What's under your stairs?

oceannaNovember 23, 2007

Do you have a hidey hole for storage under your stairs? How do you organize it and what do you keep in there? Thanks!

Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Oceanna, our last home had a split entry with a small doorway into the area under the landing and lower part of the stairway. Later we closed in the area under the highest part to use as a coat closet, but I still used the area under the landing the shorter part of the stairs to store our Christmas decorations in Rubbermaid containers. I'm obsessive about using every nook and cranny in a home for storage.

Our current home now has building supplies, mostly wood screen doors that we bought for all the french doors and other exterior doors that wound up not quite fitting and couldn't be cut down even a fraction of an inch to fit. They'll someday be used to screen in the patio under the back deck so they won't go to waste.

Once the doors are out from under the stairs I'm sure we'll still use it for storage. Most likely build in a lumber sorting area. Once the wood work on our home is complete we plan on making some furniture.

    Bookmark   November 23, 2007 at 3:31AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I love how you use what you have -- clever you! I try to do that too. I hope your screened porch turns out fabulous.

That area under the stairs is such a goofy shape... it's really hard to get to anything in the back. I'm wondering if it's better to build shelves on the sides, or what.

    Bookmark   November 23, 2007 at 8:34AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

The cat's potty room! I opened up the drywall (well, not actually me :) and put a little arched double door in. They have a kitty entrance from the powder room under the stairs, which has to have the door left ajar. Right now, though, I have the main access door open for their access.

    Bookmark   November 23, 2007 at 8:53AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I am actually very embarassed to say that under my basement stairs is where I am sitting right now! When we were building the house the area under the stairs was quite large so we decided to put all of our electronic "stuff" there along with a computer access. My DH set up a table, the fax machine, printer, computer, another table, phone, and a bunch of other office like stuff. This is the room I use for my computer room. LOL We put one of those full spectrum lights in there so it doesn't feel so dark. It's a cozy room - cozier than we anticipated bc when our house was finished it was smaller than what we were expecting (the model home had a bigger space). Doesn't matter though, it serves its purpose.
I only spend a long time on the computer when I am reading Garden Web or doing my homework.

    Bookmark   November 23, 2007 at 11:21AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

A bar!

Originally we had planned to put a door on this wall, and then use the space under the stairs as storage. Instead, dh saw a couple of inspiration pics and decided to put this under the stairs, instead:

We lost the storage space, but this is a pretty handy little unit. Our basement is fully finished and gets heavy use by the kids (and will get more use as they become teenagers, I'm sure.)


    Bookmark   November 23, 2007 at 11:49AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Thanks for the picture -- a bar is a clever idea. :-)

    Bookmark   November 24, 2007 at 5:56AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Those are two good uses for that area! It's pretty clever to put a little office there!

    Bookmark   November 24, 2007 at 5:57AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

A loveseat and waaaay under the stereo and video equipment. LONG LONG cords through the ceiling are a good thing. The under the stairs and stairs and wall by the stairs are still not finished though. It's liveable until DH gets his gumption up again though.

The big plan is to have a finish carpenter come out and make a beautiful door with beveled or stained glass to go over the video equipment. Right now it's just a piece of drywall propped up against the cut out.

    Bookmark   November 24, 2007 at 7:52AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I think some of you have side openings under your stairs, like with the bar above. The opening under my stairs is directly at the back, so that's why it's an awkward space...the deeper in you go, the lower the ceiling.

    Bookmark   November 24, 2007 at 8:46AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

We have a set of stairs set up like that. We cut the door in half so it would shut but be open at the top. Our dog slept in there at night so she wouldn't wander the house.

    Bookmark   November 24, 2007 at 9:39AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

My stairs splits so that you can go up from the entryway or from the kitchen. We installed a cabinet front in the dining room and I use it to store extra linens, fabric, unused floor boards:

Under the stairs in the kitchen is the messiest walk-in pantry on earth!

    Bookmark   November 24, 2007 at 9:43AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I'll have to get a picture, somehow. But previous owners built storage of a different kind. Our stairway is "open". Underneath the lowest part, a previous owner built a wine rack which we DO use. Then in the other area, he built an L shaped set of shelves. The people we bought from had been using that for their children's games and "downstairs toys". We use it for all the children's books and my music books. On the wall, he put a set of heavy duty coat pegs. We stash shoes and CD cases on the floor there too. I can't say it's the neatest area of the house, but it's handy for storage. Now that the kids are more grown, I really need to go through the books and box some of them up (for the upcoming grandkids, someday). That way I can move some of the stash of books from upstairs library, down here! (I have a collection of Nora Roberts and Sidney Sheldon books!)


    Bookmark   November 24, 2007 at 11:06AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Donna, I would love to see your pic. That is what I want to do. We have wrap around stairs, seven steps then a landing then seven more. I want to put a wine rack and other storage under the seven that are down stairs. I hate wasted space, but there always seems to be another project more inportant.

    Bookmark   November 24, 2007 at 12:31PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

The world's smallest powder room. Seriously. :o~

    Bookmark   November 24, 2007 at 11:37PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Oceanna, Thank you. We already have our front porch screened in using the ScreenTight system. We didn't want to use the doors since it was in the front. The ST system looks more professional.
I forgot about them, but a good friend had a bar under their basement stairs and my Gramma A had a half bath under her stairway off the kitchen. Both great ideas.
I've also seen where the lowest part of the stairway had drawers added making access much easier. You'd have to check whether the walls were support or not. You may only be able to make the drawers the width between the current studs. Even that could be very useful.
What are you were hoping to store in this area? That might help me to think up some other ways it could be done.

    Bookmark   November 24, 2007 at 11:58PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Thanks everyone! Lots of great ideas!

Justgotabeme, I'm not really sure what is the best use of that area -- that's why I wanted ideas. It's a hard area go get to, at least in the back. One of the things I need in this house is a place to store some things like my carpet cleaner -- but I don't want to be carrying it up from downstairs (too heavy). However, I could see putting a vacuum, Christmas decor and stuff like that in there.

    Bookmark   November 25, 2007 at 5:20AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo


I like the vacuum, Christmas decor idea. How much nicer than hauling that stuff out of the attic! :o)

In a previous home, we had a 2nd hall closet, that had no rod. I used it for my kids little book case and their toys that I would rotate out. Somehow my kids like their toys better when they are rotated thru. I still do that to this day, but have to store them in our attic. :o(

In our CA home, we have a closet under the stairs. WE store all of our shoes/boots/snowclothes under there. At the back are Sterilite containers with lids, that have our scarves/gloves/hats. At the front are sterilite without the lids. One has boots, one has tennisshoes, one has flip flops or whatever. Church shoes are stored in our closets. IT's a tiny house, and no mud room (which we desperately need there) so we have to do that just to stay half organized. Eeeeks!

Our new home is the one that will have the powder room. It's a shame to see a large home with this dinky room for guests under the stairs. But DH wanted to keep the staircase how it was already framed when we bought it, and also wasn't willing to give up his downstairs office to make a large powder in there. Oh well. Hey, at least we have a special "pretty" bath for guests here. We don't have that in our CA house. LOL!

    Bookmark   November 25, 2007 at 10:02AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

In most of the houses I've inhabited, the stairs down cellar are under the stairs to the second floor. Efficient use of space, but uninspiring.

I wish I had photos of my great-grandfather's house. He worked in a Navy shipyard, and when he built his teeny little house in the Depression (out of scrounged materials!) he applied many shipbuilding ideas. Every nook and cranny was used. The tallest part of the space under the stairs was a coat closet. Behind that, the remaining space under the stairs was taken up with many very loooooooong drawers that occupied much of the width of the stairs. At the bottom there were wide, large drawers, above that the drawers got smaller as the available space got smaller. The smallest drawers couldn't have been more than five or six inches square on the front face, but they still pulled waaaaaay out. They loved to play games, and the small drawers were always filled with decks of cards, cribbage boards, poker chips, etc. There were also some little cabinets, where Great-Gram always kept her wrapping paper, yardsticks, and suchlike long skinny items. It looked a little bit like this picture, which I stole from the Softwood Export Council's website:

    Bookmark   November 25, 2007 at 10:03PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Forgot to add~

nearer the bottom of the staircase is a return for hvac. I walled it off anyway (the originally framed a door there to access the return should it ever breakdown). I kindly told dh I will rip apart our drywall and patch it in there to repair said return, than have the "door" in our dinky powder room. The house is on crawlspace, so the major working parts are accessible underneath the house! ;o)

    Bookmark   November 26, 2007 at 12:31AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I don't know if I'm the only one, but it seems like I ended up with a plethora of gadgets here, and no place to store them... two vacuums (the one downstairs was my mom's), a carpet shampooer, a steamer I bought, a floor steamer my son bought for me, and a little baby shop vac that sees more action than all the others. This house just wasn't built to store all that... but I keep thinking if I get rid of everything I don't use -- well, you know how that works.

Hey, another bath is always good -- ups your resale value. And who wants to have to run upstairs to freshen up? I'll bet you're mighty excited about your new home!

    Bookmark   November 26, 2007 at 12:42AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I wish you had a picture of it too! It sounds like it was just wonderful. I'll bet if someone else owns it now and you knock on the door they would LOVE to meet you and hear all about your family and your grandpa -- and would let you take pictures. Of course if your family still has it, just ask for some.

Thanks for posting that photo. That just makes great sense to use that area that way. That's what I would do were I planning a house. Mine has a door under it and there you are stuck with this weirdo shape. I'm sure that if I stick something in the back I'll never see it again!

    Bookmark   November 26, 2007 at 12:47AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Actually, my stepmonster is currently living there. She cut me out of her life when my father died 10 years ago - not a word as to why, just stopped responding to phone calls and letters. Maybe she was relieved at not being forced to deal with a stepdaughter anymore. Who knows. I let her keep the entirety of the estate (other than the bit of life insurance that came to me but that was sent directly from the insurance company) because it just wasn't worth fighting over it when she clearly wanted nothing to do with me. So I have no chance of getting any pictures. It was certainly a very interesting little house, as I said made from scrounged materials (and of course no building codes there at the time) so when my folks did some remodeling it was often very amusing to find how things were put together and what odd materials he used!

And I agree with you 100% on the necessity of another bathroom! One incidence of food poisoning in the household converted me - we passed up a lot of cute houses because they only had one bathroom and nowhere to add a powder room even if we could afford to do so. (The majority of houses here have the two stairs stacked as I noted above. Gramp's house had a cellar but the access was outside, thus the under-stair space.) I sure do miss having two full baths though! Spoiled Mari. LOL

Knowing my great-grandmother, if something got stuck way in the back of the under-stair cabinets and she couldn't fish it out with the yardstick, she'd go get the hoe from the garage to get it out! :-) She was a real old-time Yankee, nothing if not practical.

Just had a "hmmm, what if" about your cleaning gadgets issue. There are undermounted cabinet pullouts made for heavy loads (like 100 pounds!), I'll bet you could do pullouts to set your gadgets on. So you could have pretty cabinet doors on the side of the staircase, open them up and see these nice trays you can pull out to get your cleaning gadgets. That would solve having to practically crawl in to get your stuff out.

If the stairs are close to the kitchen but it's not big enough for a walk-in pantry like daisyadair's, I think it would be very efficient to use some of the space for these pantry pullouts:

There are small ones made just for lower cabinets that could make good use out of the smaller part of the under-stair space.

    Bookmark   November 26, 2007 at 4:00PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

When I clicked on this page, the first thing i saw was "Actually, my stepmonster is currently living there." - I thought she meant under her stairs! LOL!

    Bookmark   November 26, 2007 at 4:08PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Hahaha! That's what I thought at first, too! Sounds like maybe that's where she deserves to live? What a shame that she turned cold.

Johnmarie, thanks for the ideas. I find it's awfully nice to have a downstairs vacuum and an upstairs vacuum. My main vac is an old Kirby and there's no way I want to haul it up and down the stairs. The rest of the stuff is used mainly upstairs, where I live. Downstairs is the laundry, the theater, and a guest/sewing room. I'm also on a tight little retirement budget, so can't afford much that I can't do myself... but I don't have to work! There's certainly something to be said for that. :)

    Bookmark   November 26, 2007 at 5:04PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

In our old house, it was the half bath under the stairs.

In the new house, the stairs go to an unfinished basement. The stairs are unfinished too. To "brighten up" the stair area a bit, I placed some old crockware (from my husbands aunt's basement) on a ledge that was somehow made in the stairwell.

    Bookmark   November 26, 2007 at 5:24PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

One of my houses was a split entry/raised ranch with a storage area under the stairs that was accessed from a door in the lower level landing. It provided awkward storage, much as you described Oceanna. While I used it for Christmas decorations, I'll never forget the kid's writing I found all over the walls in there when we moved in. It was clearly used as a clubhouse by the kids of the first owners (we were the 4th I think). I learned later from a neighbor that their mother had been very sick and died of cancer when they were all quite young (there were 6 kids). I imagine that the space under the stairs became a real escape and refuge for those children as they endured the stress that must have been such a part of their lives. Oh, and didn't Harry Potter live in a cupboard under the stairs?!!!

    Bookmark   November 26, 2007 at 6:03PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Pictures of our under-stairway things are now online. If you go to the link below and click on Page 10 of the album, you'll see the 2 pictures....one of the shelves and wine rack, the other of the inside of the (messy) shelves.


Here is a link that might be useful: Donna's Family and Living Room Projects

    Bookmark   November 27, 2007 at 12:21AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

That's neat! You have really done a lot of work on your house. Nice addition. :)

    Bookmark   November 27, 2007 at 10:02AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Newhomebuilder, that's a charming bath! Was this a wide staircase? The vanity is just lovely.

Teeda, oh what a touching story about the children who lost their mother. Yes, I can see that would make a great clubhouse and hideout for them.

Donna, thanks for the pics! I see your area isn't closed in. That's a great use for the space. You must be so thrilled with your new addition.

    Bookmark   November 27, 2007 at 6:21PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

oceanna - Yes, the stairs were wide, but we also had an offset that made the bathroom larger. You cannot see it in the picture, but the ceiling slopes.

Here is a photo of the hallway outside of the stairway and bathroom. The bath is behind the solid wall (barely showing).

    Bookmark   November 27, 2007 at 10:06PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

We don't have one in our current house - it's another flight of stairs, and then crawl space. As there's another 900 or so square feet of crawl space, the under stair area isn't used.

In our last house, we drywalled it in, and it was a lower ceiling height area of the office on one side, and the workshop on the other side.

In the house before that, it was a little wine cellar, as I recall.

However, my favorite under stair space was in the house where I grew up. It was originally storage, and then my mother turned it into a cozy little kid place. She put a light in there, carpeted it, pillows all over, and hung pictures. I spent quite a lot of time reading in there. There was also a curtain hanging in front, so it was very cozy. The walls weren't finished or anything (stud walls), so there were places to stash stuff. Best use of crawl space I've ever had!

    Bookmark   November 29, 2007 at 9:52AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

We planned on using ours (in the finished basement) for storage, but our two young daughters discovered it our first day in the house and made it their "secret room". Then it quickly became the "dress up closet". Princess hooks on the wall, wall mirror and lots and lots of frills and sequins :-)

    Bookmark   November 29, 2007 at 11:40PM
Sign Up to comment
More Discussions
Bright solid or bold print to reupholster settees?
Anyway, I bought a pair of vintage settees for my 'formal'...
Need Light for Kitchen Table
So, I am posting old photos of my kitchen (it has since...
What other photo sharing site besides Photobucket?
nevermind Ok, so I do need help. I'm done with Photobucket....
Wood filler when sanding isn't possible
My toilet paper holder is attached to my vanity. I...
Do all decorative vases need flowers?
Just moved and trying to decorate new home. I bought...
Sponsored Products
Vinyl Plank Stair Treads: Cap A Tread Flooring New Country Pine 47 in. Long x
$54.98 | Home Depot
George Kovacs | Pontil 6 Light Chandelier
$338.00 | YLighting
New Baby Blue Runner Hand Knotted Wool Oushak 4'x20' Turkish Geometric Rug H5612
BH Sun Inc
Tarpa Horizontal LED Step Painted Antique Bro
$63.90 | PLFixtures
White Steplight Dimmable LED
$60.00 | PLFixtures
New Ivory Narrow Kazak Runner 2x6 Hand Knotted Veg Dyed Geometric Wool Rug H3701
BH Sun Inc
Progress Lighting White 1-light Step Light
$86.13 | Home Depot
Clear Pouring Crystal 7-Light Chandelier
Lamps Plus
© 2015 Houzz Inc. Houzz® The new way to design your home™