Harry Potter’s family wasn’t the first to take an under-the-stairs space and transform it into an alternative chamber.
(Never mind the overall state of poor Harry’s home life.)
And if you’re fortunate enough to have your own under-the-stairs unit, why not reassess it and finally procure that extra locale you’ve always longed for?
From personal mini-bars to half baths, storage cabinets and beyond, there is no limit to the possibilities to under-stairs ideas. Perhaps you’ve always longed for a peaceful library nook or an extra bedroom for a guest; maybe you’re looking to extend your pantry or household storage capacity. Whatever your reasons and needs, your stairs have provided you with all the help you need. And with a little elbow grease and design direction, you can enjoy a new addition at a fraction of the cost of most renovations.
Suddenly children’s playrooms and doggy abodes aren’t so frivolous after all, now that you practically have a designated spot waiting to be reimagined. Private office or supply cabinet, you deserve to enjoy every inch of your home and inhabit it to its full potential.
So much of those extras and add-ons we desire in life are really just a matter of creative assessment, of rethinking spaces for the potential we may have overlooked. From the attic to under the stairs, your home can be every bit the manse you’ve always dreamed of.
The next time you find yourself wishing aloud for (fill in the blank), just turn your gaze to under the stairs, roll up your sleeves, and get to work.
1. Under Stairs Bookshelf and Bookcase Ideas
One of the easiest projects you can do under the stairs is to create open shelving or a bookcase. You can custom design the layout to suit you and your family’s needs. Maybe you need a few large spaces that you can display your art or plant collection on, or perhaps you need several closer shelves to display your book collection. The possibilities are endless when you’re the designer.
The trick to making these shelves a success is to plan your project. Measure the space under your stairs and then draw a diagram on some paper. Now you can try out different configurations before you commit to building.
The material you use to build your shelving unit should blend in with the look of the rest of the house. This could mean building it in a lighter wood. Or it could mean painting the entire unit white. Don’t try to build your new bookcase in the stair space. Instead, build your box units outside and then slide them into place. Then you only have to do small finishes to the front to complete the project.
2. Under Stairs Drawer Ideas
It seems these days that homes never have enough storage. We collect items along our journey through life, and before you know it, your home is bursting at the seams. So what do you do? Why not create some new storage space? The space under your stairs is just sitting there wasted.
You can build drawers that fit under your stairs to create additional storage. Does your family own a lot of shoes? You could keep them under the stairs and near the door. This makes it easy for someone to grab a pair on their way out and put them away upon returning home.
Another option is to have several shallow drawers. These work well for holding anything you could think of. You could have them progressively get shorter in width as they get higher. This will look best and complement the rise of the stairs.
Whatever style of drawers you choose, design their fronts to match your home. Modern homes will look good with slab fronts while more traditional homes will look better with a shaker style. If you have a country cottage feel to your home, then consider beadboard. Don’t forget to finish the drawers with matching hardware.
3. Under Stairs Dog Kennel Ideas
Is your four-legged furry friend a prominent member of the family? Then why not give them their own room? The space under the stairs is the perfect size to create a cozy cave-like den for your pup. Not only does this appeal to your dog’s inner wolf, but it keeps your home neat by not having a crate in the middle of a room.
The trick to making your dog’s room look impressive is to finish the inside of it. Lay a flooring that’s durable and easy to clean. It doesn’t have to match the flooring in your home. Then create walls out of drywall or fiberboard. You can then paint or hang a fun dog-themed wallpaper to finish the look.
A door is optional, but if you want to use the cubby as a crate, then it becomes a must. Try to use something that your dog can see through. A popular trend is to create a doghouse front on the wall around the door. Finish the design with a sign featuring your pup’s name.
If you don’t need the entire space under the stairs for your dog’s room, then consider combining it with some other uses. You could create a cubby for your dog and then surround it with cabinets, shelves, or drawers. Now you have storage space to keep all of your dog’s items in one centralized spot.
4. Under Stairs Wine Cellar Ideas
Wine cellars that are hidden away in a basement are a thing of the past. Turn the space under your stairs into a wine storage space that showcases your collection. You can adapt whatever space you have to fit your collection by using a wide variety of wine bottle storage configurations.
As a lover of wine, you know that external factors can ruin your wine so you need to protect your bottles by installing the right amount of insulation. This will help your room maintain a steady temperature and moisture level. It will also help keep your energy costs down by preventing your cooling unit from working too hard.
Your biggest decision will be how to finish the front. Using glass to enclose the front of the space will make for a beautiful display but it can also increase the cost significantly since you’ll need to buy insulated glass. Another option is to enclose the space with regular walls and then have a single insulated door with a glass panel.
Don’t forget to include lighting in your new wine cellar. This will make it easier to find that perfect bottle. Plus, you can turn it on and have a visually stunning element in your home when guests come over. Hidden LED lights are a perfect choice. They have a low energy demand and produce very little heat. You can mount them almost anywhere and create a variety of lighting schemes, from bright task light to soft accenting.
5. Under Stairs Mini-Bar Display Ideas
If you love to entertain, you may be missing out on an opportunity to have a bar in your home. A bar under the stairs can give you a place to elegantly display liquor bottles. You can also mix drinks without heading to the kitchen, allowing the conversation to carry on while you make martinis.
Start by designing the space. Do you have a drinks fridge that you want to include in your design? Start by building lower cabinets around this fridge. Then finish the top of the cabinets with a counter area large enough to work on.
Above the cabinets, you can create a bar-worthy shelving display. Pay attention to the height of your liquor bottle; some can be quite tall. You could also create an area for storing your glassware. Finally, no bar would be complete without lighting. Go for something cool and modern like color-changing LED strip lighting. They let you easily hide the strips while also illuminating the shelving holding the bottles.
6. Under Stairs Powder Room Ideas
A hidden guest bathroom can be perfect for under your stairs. You only need enough space for a toilet and a sink. This will give you a convenient place to direct guests so that you don’t have to share your personal bathroom.
Before you get started, check your local building codes. Some have minimum square footage requirements for bathrooms. Once you get the go-ahead, you’ll need to create a plan and file for permitting. Stand in the room and think about the slope above. The most well-designed bathrooms take this into account by not forcing occupants to stoop or stand at an odd angle. If your bathroom ceiling slopes dramatically, try placing the toilet under the lower part of the ceiling. This works because people will already be bending down to sit down and won’t notice the lowered ceiling.
One significant challenge of this project is locating a water source that you can bring to the room. The plumbing will be your greatest expense. It can help greatly if your stair space is near other plumbing in your house.
Also, don’t be afraid to go bold with your interior design. Vibrant colors and large patterns are a popular trend in small washrooms like this.
7. Under Stairs Playroom Ideas
Sometimes the space under the stairs isn’t large enough for an adult to comfortably fit into it. Families may be able to use this space for their children instead. This gives you a space that belongs solely to your child. You can allow them to play and make a mess without it cluttering up the entire house.
Start by finishing the floor and walls. You could paint the walls your child’s favorite color. Don’t forget to add plenty of light. The playroom should look bright and inviting. Embrace colorful patterns by using a fun wallpaper design. Mount Shelves or place bins to help keep the place organized. Lay a plush, comfy rug on the floor.
Finish the cubby by adding solid doors that match the look of the rest of your home. You can close them and hide the tornado of clutter that’s happening behind them. Another option is to go all out and create a playhouse front to the room.
8. Under Stairs Office Nook Ideas
Turn the space under your stairs into a home office. The space under your stairs can work perfectly to give you a centralized place to work from home, pay bills, or complete homework. Create a flat work area that will be the desktop, and then create storage around it by building cabinets, drawers, and shelving. Choose a comfortable chair in a style that compliments your home.
Use materials that are similar to the rest of your home. This will help your desk area look original and not a slapdash addition. Try matching the upper shelving materials to the material used for the stairs. They’ll be physically close to each other so this can create a unified look.
Focus on the electrical when building your desk space. You want to have plenty of light so that you don’t strain your eyes while looking at a screen or writing on paper. You also need to have plenty of power outlets to run your computer, monitor, printer, lamp, and anything else.
Use the space around your desk work area to create storage. You could have drawers down below to act as a file cabinet. Then you could have cabinet doors above them. You could even hide your printer in one of these to keep the desk space looking cleaner.
9. Cozy Corner for Under Stairs Ideas
Where do you go to escape from the stress of the world? A nook under the stairs will give you a cubby to curl up in and relax with a good book or take a nap. You can create a space that appeals to your idea of creature comforts with plush pillows and a blanket, or perhaps you’d love a quiet place to meditate.
To create your cozy corner, you need to finish the inside walls of the space. Using natural materials like wood can create a calming effect. Create a bench by building a box. Use this opportunity to create some extra storage. You could build cabinet doors, shelves, or drawers into the front of the bench. If you plan to read in the space, then you’ll need a light just big enough to provide reading light. A bedside sconce will work perfectly for this.
To finish your corner, you need to make it cozy. Place a seat cushion on the bench to sit on and pile several large pillows on top. An accent throw will complete the look while also giving you a blanket to curl up under when in the space.
If a cubby isn’t your style, then try building a shallow bookcase and placing a reading chair or two in front of it. Make the space comfortable by adding a small rug and floor lamp.
10. Pantry Storage Ideas for Under Stairs
If your stairs are near the kitchen or dining room, then you can use this space as extra pantry storage. This allows you to create a more convenient storage space without having to disrupt your current kitchen or dining room.
Before you decide on a storage method, think about what you plan to put here. You could create a walk-in food pantry with several shelves hidden behind a door. You could also create cabinets that hide small appliances that rarely get used. Another option is tall modern style drawers that contain several racks. You could use this to hold your dinnerware.
Consider how deep and tall the space is when deciding how you’ll use it. A low and deep space will make it challenging to use as a traditional food pantry. For this space, pull out racks will enable you to utilize the entire space. If you only have a shallower space, then shelving with a door will work better.
Under Stairs Project Ideas FAQs
Can I open up the space under my stairs?
If you’re unsure if the space under your stairs is usable, you’ll need to get a look. The easiest ways to do this is to either gently pry up a stair tread or to cut a hole in the drywall under the stairs. Keep in mind drywall is easier to repair than a broken stair tread.
Are the walls under my stairs load-bearing?
More than likely, no. The stair stringers will bear the load of the stairs, leaving you free to do whatever you’d like under the stairwell. That being said, if you’re unsure, you should certainly contact a structural engineer to get a professional’s approval.