The space beneath the stairs is one of the least-used spaces in a home, but its potential for storage is great. When deciding how to best utilize this space, keep these questions in mind: What kind of storage is most needed? Can this space be used for that purpose? Am I capable of building or purchasing built-ins or furniture pieces?
For homeowners willing to renovate beneath the stairs, the possibilities are endless. Install a wet bar or lighting for a reading alcove. To create more storage space, you can build custom shelving, cabinetry, or drawers. One inspired couple installed kitchen appliances beneath the staircase in their basement; their basement can now double as an apartment to lease out.
Others have utilized this space as a custom entertainment center, a wall of drawers and shelves for winter wear or linens, or even firewood storage for a nearby wood stove. A built-in desk under the stairs takes up a small amount of already unused space and can be curtained off when not in use.
One popular decorating image online is a staircase where each step is actually a reinforced drawer. A spin-off on this idea was a staircase turned bookshelf, where a shelf was built beneath each stair tread.
If the home or apartment is leased, or the owner is not comfortable with renovation, there are still options for storage beneath the staircase. If the area under the stairs already has a small closet and door, congratulations, this project will be much easier.
To use the space under the shortest part of the stairs, a small bookcase can be inserted for shoes, three ring binders, baskets of seasonal clothing, or any other odds and ends. A clothes rack can store excess clothing, guest’s coats, or kids’ dress-up clothes. Extra space under wider staircases can be fully utilized by inserting shelves or cubicles on either side of the closet.
Don’t despair. Using the space under your stairs is not only for carpenters and decorating professionals. By measuring carefully, homeowners can find furniture pieces that will fit in this space well. An armoire and small bookshelf or dresser can fit snugly within the space, providing a lot of extra storage without having to lift a hammer. A small desk or media center can also be set up under the stairs, providing that there is a nearby power source for electronics.
For those lacking in ideas, simply look to the internet for inspiration. Image searches show numerous do-it-yourself projects made by homeowners and designers alike.