10 Clever Under Stairs Storage Ideas and Inspiration

Now, this is a story all about how my life got switched, turned upside down and I’d like to take a minute, just sit right there. I’ll tell you how I became the owner of some storage under the stairs.

Sorry, a blatant rip-off of Prince of Bel Air there, but my new under stairs storage needed something a little more exciting to introduce it other than, nice shelves in a small area.

10 easy ideas for under stairs storage solutions Pinterest pin

When we moved into our old house, we inherited a space under the stairs that needed a bit of love and attention. It was definitely an overlooked space and I knew we could do more with it. 

We mainly used it for throwing our shoes under and hanging up our coats so it always looked a little untidy and unkempt and I knew the area would be perfect for under stairs storage!

under stairs storage ideas. We had shelves built in under the stairs and added wallpaper to make them really stand out
We get a lot of love for our storage under the stairs and the baskets are perfect for hiding away all our shoes, scarves, gloves and other items


When we finished our kitchen renovation, we asked our builders to put under stairs storage cupboards to hide away all the outdoor paraphernalia and firmly keep a door shut on it.

Green velvet sofa in the living room with gallery wall and pink peonies. You can see the under stair storage through the door

Fast forward 18 months later and my sofa of dreams was being delivered to much fanfare. The living room and hallway had been tidied and I eagerly awaited its arrival.

So, imagine my huge disappointment when we realised, we couldn’t remove the old and frankly awfully huge and bulky sofa from the room.

How? I asked. We got it in there?! But I soon realised that we had the storage cupboard put in after moving all the furniture into the living room and now couldn’t manoeuvre it back out.

The delivery men were about to take my new sofa away and I had to say NO! Over my dead body! The sofa stays, we will find a way.

The delivery men took my signature and quickly made their escape with my new sofa in the hallway blocking everyone from either coming in or leaving the house.

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green velvet sofa with pink and green cushions, gallery wall and industrial style coffee table on pine floors
Our splendid sofa.com green velvet sofa in its new home

A quick phone call to my husband later, our carpenter friend popped over to our house in the early evening and began to rip out our under-stair storage cupboard.

However, we still couldn’t remove the old sofa so the only thing for it was to saw it in half!

Finally, we managed to remove it and the new sofa easily fitted through the doorway and into its new home.

With a hallway full of dust, a sawed-in half sofa on our front drive and coats piled up on the floor, I sat down that night on my comfortable new sofa and set about trying to decide what to do with the new open space in the hallway.

The under stairs cupboard ripped out and a bare white wall with hooks
The only storage we had here was a few old hooks and a cupboard with our circuit boards in

Our electric cupboard under the stairs

10 Inspiring under stairs storage ideas

Here are a few inspiring stairwell spaces that I came across whilst looking for ideas on how to maximise storage under stairs via Pinterest.

1. A library and reading nook

I love the contrast of this dark custom-built library/bookcase but knew we probably wouldn’t have the room for the “reading area” of this mini library.

blue velvet sofa in the hallway with bookcases, baskets and plants
Our under stairs storage doubled up as a little reading nook

2. Under stair storage bookcase and seating area

This fabulous seating area looks cosy and inviting and is perfect for somewhere to curl up with a book.

But it wasn’t very practical for our house when we already have enough seating areas and really needed somewhere to store our coats, bags and shoes.

Utilise the space under the stairs by creating a bookcase and reading nook. Image credit: snugsofa.com

3. Small office space

I really like the idea of creating a small office space, complete with under stairs storage shelves in the hallway.

It is a great use of space if you don’t have any room for a dedicated home office in your home.

A large office space with cupboards and shelves built in under the stairs
Home office under stairs – Sharps

The only downside to this is the hallway can often be a high-traffic area, so you will probably find yourself being disturbed often!

Photo by Collov Home Design on Unsplash

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4. Somewhere to hang your coats and shoes

This is perfect and exactly what we probably needed, but I knew that with a busy household of four, this would look messy and out of control in no time!

built in cupboards under the stairs with wooden bannister
Maximise storage under stairs by putting in bespoke built-in cupboards for your coats and shoes. Image credit: sharps.co.uk

5. An under-stair toilet and wash basin

This is a superb use of space and I have seen it done in many houses where there is no room for a downstairs toilet. 

It can help add an extra and much-needed toilet to your home without having to create more space elsewhere.

The beauty of having a washroom under the toilet is you can get creative with the decor and go wild!

dark washroom with white sink, dark floral wallpaper and silver towel rail
Go bold with your small washroom under the stairs. Image credit: @layered.home

6. An under-stairs pantry

After looking at hundreds of images of under stair storage ideas, this was actually one of my favourite uses.

Under stairs storage provides a huge space to have multiple shelves and storage solutions so where better to put all your kitchenware and groceries if you have a small kitchen?

Especially if the stairs are built into your kitchen space.

pantry style cupboard in the kitchen painted in a pale sage green
Pantries are the dream! This pantry could easily be installed under the stairs, particularly if the stairs were in your kitchen! Wimbledon Modern Shaker Pantry – Brayer Design

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7. Bespoke built-in cupboard space

I have seen a lot of images circulating on Pinterest with these pull-out drawers and cupboards containing all your shoes, bags and coats and this probably optimises most of your space as they are custom-made.

under stairs built in cupboards in grey
The perfect use for under stairs in a hallway. Image credit: sharps.co.uk

This is the best way to optimise your space under the stairs, but the cost to build storage under stairs can sometimes be out of many people’s budget. 

built in under stairs cupboards in white
Photo by Laurence Katz on Unsplash

8. A Laundry space

Again, I love this idea! It frees up so much space in your kitchen if you don’t have a utility room and can become a designated space just for your laundry.

Pink cupboards with washing machine and tumble dryer built in. Pink and white patterned tiles and baskets.
A set-up like this could easily be installed under stairs in a hallway. Adding sliding doors could keep it hidden when not in use. Image credit: Armac Martin

It provides an added extra by making your hallway smell of fresh linen which is always a bonus. You could include slide-over doors to hide it away when not in use.

9. A bar under the stairs

Well, I need to go no further, do I? This wins hands down right?

It’s in the perfect place to offer all guests a drink whether it’s the postman dropping off a parcel or your neighbour popping around for some milk. 

Problem is, I’d never be able to get out the door without having a quick G & T!

Built in cupboards under the stairs in black with bar and drinks fridge attached
I love this bar idea by Avar Furniture. Great use of space!

10. The cellar-style wine storage

This leads me on to one of my favourite under stairs storage images I have ever seen.

When I grow up and learn not to quaff down all the booze in my house in one night, THIS is what I would have!

wine cellar storage glass cabinet under the stairs in the hallwaly
My favourite under stairs storage idea – a wine cellar! Image credit: cellarmaison.com

Who knew that such a small space could provide so many choices and inspiration?

As much as I was tempted by an inbuilt bar or wine cellar, I knew I had to be practical and go with something that would keep our coats, shoes and bags hidden out of view.

But, I also wanted the ability to display books and plants to keep the space looking contemporary.

We asked our carpenter friend to come back and we hastily drew up a plan for the under stairs storage shelves in our hallway with paper and pencil and ordered all the wood and materials needed to tidy up the area.

It took a whole weekend to put up the bespoke shelves due to there being a lot of pipes and holes in the existing wall.

We were then left with an unpainted and empty shelving unit, so the next decision was what colour to paint it and what to fill the shelves with.

I decided to go with white shelves and a wallpapered background to make it more interesting. I had some blue and white geometric wallpaper left over from B & Q from an upcycled project so I used this.

the shelves being put in under our stairs and painted white
The bespoke shelves being put in, which I painted white
Putting up the first piece of wallpaper in our built in shelves
Putting in the first piece of wallpaper in our bespoke under stairs storage.
geometric wallpaper and bespoke shelves built in under the stairs
I had to add each piece of wallpaper separately. It might have been easier to add the wallpaper first, then the shelving. But I decided that would also be messy as I would have to paint the shelves white and potentially get it on the wallpaper
the view of our under the stairs storage from the kitchen
The view of our under stairs storage from the kitchen

We also had a cupboard to the right of the shelves which contains all the fuse boxes, the doors were painted with black chalkboard paint.

I whitewashed the doors and used Farrow & Ball Stiffkey Blue to match the blue of the wallpaper, finishing the doors off with some new knobs.

The last job was to find some jute or wicker baskets that would fit on the bottom shelves and would be big enough to contain all our shoes, bags and winter gear.

Originally, I had planned to put some IKEA wicker baskets along the bottom which I already had, but the gaps were too large and they looked a little odd.

I found some baskets from La Redoute that fitted so perfectly, it was like they were made for the space!

The completed wallpapered and painted under stair shelves
The completed under stairs storage with wallpaper and paint
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Adding the La Redoute baskets

Finally, it was a case of filling the shelves with books, plants and other items and finding a light shade for the bulb which hung under the staircase and the area was complete.

We had several coat hooks put up to the right of the cupboard and all the shoes and bags were put in the baskets which completed a practical, but contemporary use of our under stairs storage shelves. 

I am extremely pleased with the results and actually quite glad of the drama of trying to get our new sofa into the living room!

under stairs storage shelves with books and baskets
The fun part, filling the shelves
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I absolutely love this corner of our hallway

Thanks for sticking around and reading my very long-winded explanation of how we put up some under stairs storage shelves! 

Storage is such an important and often overlooked design in our homes, it can help make our lives easier, tidier and more organised!

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10 easy ideas for under the stairs storage solutions Pinterest pin
Under stairs storage ideas



  1. Lisa Dray
    21/03/2021 / 5:25 pm

    I want to create a similar place under my stairs but can I ask you if you removed the main post? I can see in your photo that there is a ‘stump’ there. A builder has told me that the post supports the stairs !

    • Melanie Boyden
      23/03/2021 / 1:08 pm

      Hi Lisa
      The post had already been removed before we moved in, so in all honesty I don’t know if it was there to begin with. It would make sense that it was a post to hold the stairs up but perhaps they had other structural elements in place to keep the stairs up! Mel 🙂

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