11 Clever Storage for Under the Stairs Ideas and Inspiration

storage for under the stairs with bookshelves, baskets for shoes and cupboards
We get a lot of love for our storage under stairs and the baskets are perfect for hiding away all our shoes, scarves, gloves, and other items

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!

We had we had under stairs storage shelves fitted into the space and made sure there was room for storage baskets, hooks, and books and a little cozy reading nook was born!

11 Inspiring Storage for Under the Stairs Ideas

a home office under the stairs in a hallway

Whilst researching storage under stairs ideas, I came across some brilliant solutions. Taking advantage of awkward nooks, converting dead space under stairs or eaves into functional areas, and opting for furniture scaled to fit modest dimensions are great ways to capitalize on what space you have.

In many homes, the area underneath a staircase ends up getting ignored or used for haphazard storage. But this oft-overlooked space presents a prime opportunity to carve out valuable hidden storage or even an extra functional nook.

Here are a few inspiring under stairs storage ideas that I came across whilst looking for ideas on how to maximize storage under stairs.

1. A Library and Reading Nook

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

Convert the space into a library nook with floor-to-ceiling bookshelves. This could be a reader’s dream, making use of every available inch and enhancing your hallway design.

A custom-built bookcase can be designed to fit perfectly into the unique shape of the under-stairs space, ensuring that no square inch is wasted. Built-ins often add value to a home by offering custom, integrated storage solutions.

We converted our space under the stairs into a shelving area, with books and plants, and placed a large occasional chair in the corner. It was perfect for reading a book. 

shelving under the stairs in the living room with a cozy grey corner sofa and parquet flooring
Utilize the space under the stairs by creating a bookcase and reading nook. Image credit: snugsofa.com

Depending on the available depth, you can decide whether the bookcase will house just books or if larger compartments are needed for decorative items, bins, or larger books. Adjust the height of shelves based on the size of books or items you want to store, maybe a mix of tall and short spaces?

You could look at incorporating cabinet doors at the bottom for hidden storage, this can be useful for items you don’t want on display. 

2. 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.

Depending on the height and depth, the area under the stairs can be a cozy nook for a compact home office, complete with a desk, chair, and some wall-mounted storage or shelving. Floating shelves, drawers, or wall-mounted pegboards can be great solutions.

If space is extremely limited, consider a fold-out desk that can be packed away when not in use. Keep it clutter-free to maintain focus and efficiency.

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

3. Coat and Shoe Under Stairs Storage

hooks, a small bench with drawers and some shelves under the stairs
Coats and shoe storage

A coat and shoe storage for under the stairs can serve as a practical, organized space for outerwear and footwear, especially in homes where entryways are adjacent to staircases. It capitalizes on an otherwise underutilized area, making the most of the available square footage.

To create this space, you don’t have to opt for expensive bespoke cupboards. Here’s how to do it on a budget: 

  • Incorporate a bench for comfortable seating while putting on or taking off shoes. This can be a standalone bench or built-in seating.
  • Ensure you have a variety of hooks or hangers at different heights for coats, hats, bags, and umbrellas.
  • Depending on the space’s depth, you can have built-in racks, pull-out drawers, or simple cubbies for shoes.
  • For displaying regularly worn or decorative shoes, or for storing baskets with items like gloves, scarves, or hats, use open shelving or an IKEA Kallax unit
  • Durable materials are crucial here, as the area will experience frequent use. Consider easy-to-clean finishes, especially for shoe storage.
  • Use the sloping nature of under-stair spaces to your advantage. Taller items like boots can be stored where there’s more height, while flats or sandals can be kept in lower sections.
  • Under-stair spaces can be dark. You might need to add some lighting solutions for functionality, especially in the evenings.

Incorporating a coat and shoe storage for under the stairs is a practical design choice for many homes. With the right considerations, it can be a stylish addition that enhances the functionality of your living space.

4. Sports Equipment Closet

fitted storage under the stairs for sports equipment
A very organized bespoke closet system for sporting equipment

The area under a staircase is often wasted space, but it’s prime real estate for storing bulky sports equipment that’s used frequently but not left out.

Installation of cupboards or closets under the stairs can provide the perfect spot to house bicycles, skateboards, hockey sticks, baseball bats, and other gear.

Custom cabinetry built to utilize every inch can accommodate these long and awkwardly shaped items that don’t fit well in traditional closets. Sturdy wall hooks, vertical stands, and specially mounted shelves allow you to store each sports item properly. Baskets and cubbies keep helmets, pads, gloves, and other accessories organized.

For safety and accessibility, especially for children, ensure smoothly operating cabinet doors and easy-open handles. Consider adding lighting inside the cupboards so gear is visible.

Durable, washable cabinet finishes also help maintain tidiness with frequent activity. Keeping equipment concealed but within reach encourages active kids to put the gear away properly after play.

5. Under Stairs Pantry

a pantry cupboard under the stairs painted in taupe with a coffee maker and toaster
A contemporary pantry under stairs storage. Image: Martin Moore

After looking at hundreds of images of under stairs storage, this was actually one of my favorite 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.

a small pantry under the stairs with shelves and baskets
We created a wall around the space under our stairs and built a pantry for the kitchen

Naturally, pantries are slim, so even if you don’t have a lot of space to play with, you will be able to maximize the space with drawers, a countertop, and lots of shelves with small baskets to easily place your groceries. We did this under the stairs in our kitchen renovation, it was the perfect use of space. 

6. Bespoke Built-in Cupboard Space

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

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 is probably the best way to optimize most of your space as they are custom-made.

This storage for under the stairs can be tailored to individual tastes, whether that’s a particular wood finish, paint color, handle type, or any other design detail.

The storage can also be designed for a specific purpose, such as a book collection, crafting supplies, wine storage, etc., ensuring every nook and cranny serves a purpose.

You can also go for open or closed storage or a mix of both. First, decide on what should be displayed and what should be concealed. Under stairs storage shelves are great for decor or books, while closed storage can hide clutter. For tight spaces, consider tall pull-out drawers, which can be perfect for storing items like umbrellas, scarves, and hats.

Rather than opting for off-the-shelf solutions, custom-built under stairs storage offers precise fit and function, but the cost to build storage under stairs can sometimes be out of many people’s budget. 

8. Small Laundry Area

a laundry area under the stairs with washing machine and sink
If you don’t have room for a separate laundry room, the space under the stairs is perfect for your washing machine and a few cupboards

I love this idea! For homes lacking separate laundry rooms, the under-stairs space presents an opportunity to carve out an essential laundry zone. Though compact, setting up a washer and dryer under the staircase can make doing laundry much more convenient when located on the main living level.

Strategic custom cabinetry, countertops, and the addition of a sink optimize the narrow floorplan under the stairs for laundry functions.

Stack your washer-dryer units, or fit a front-loading washer into the rectangular shape against the wall or on one side. Open shelves above provide drying space as well as storage for detergent, hanging laundry bags, and other washing accessories.

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

Adding a curtain across the front or including slide-over doors can conceal the laundry area when not in use. A folding counter is also useful for folding clothes and can be tucked away to save space.

Finally, add a vent or dehumidifier to manage moisture and a small ironing board or portable steamer to make quick touch-ups easy. Bright lighting and cheerful paint colors help prevent the laundry nook from feeling too dark.

Having a laundry space in your hallway will make it smell of fresh linen which is an added bonus! 

9. A Bar Under the Stairs

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!

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 neighbor popping around for some milk. 

Creating a bar under the stairs is a brilliant idea for those who love to entertain or just enjoy a quiet evening cocktail. By utilizing the often-underused space beneath the staircase, you can have a dedicated space for beverages and bar essentials, especially if your stairs are linked to your living room or kitchen. 

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

10. Wine Storage

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

The enclosed space under a staircase can provide the perfect spot for a climate-controlled wine cellar. Protecting wine from light, humidity, and temperature fluctuations helps preserve it best. A tightly sealed under-stairs wine storage area fits the bill.

Built-in wine racks and shelving units that make the most of the angled walls and steps are ideal for neatly stowing bottles. Cooling systems like thermoelectric or compressor-based wine refrigerators can be installed to control temperature and a unit with humidity control can help to maintain optimal wine preservation conditions.

For pure opulence, add glass doors to allow you to display your collection while keeping it protected. Cedar planks lining the walls can absorb moisture while adding an elegant touch to your under stairs storage cellar. 

11. Pet Paradise

a bespoke bench under the stairs with a little cupboard for a dog
A place where the dog can curl up with cupboards to keep all your pet supplies!

The unused space under the stairs can transform into a perfect pet corner for feeding, housing, and bathing your furry friends. Installing cupboards, shelves, and hooks allows you to organize all your pet necessities in one place.

a dog on a bench under the stairs with baskets and lots of cushions
A bench with lots of cushions is the perfect place for a pet to curl up. Include lots of baskets underneath to house leads, toys, and other pet supplies

Here are some more ideas to create a little pet haven under the stairs: 

  • Built-in nooks with comfy beds and mats
  • Litter boxes can be concealed in cupboards to reduce mess and odors.
  • Tall cabinets provide plenty of room to store large bags of pet food, towers of cans, and containers of treats to keep them fresh.
  • Add a small sink, if plumbing allows, for washing bowls, cleaning up paws after walks, and grooming.
  • Install secure hooks for leashes, harnesses, and carriers to keep them handy by the door.
  • Under stairs storage shelves above can hold toys, brushes, towels, and other essentials within easy access.

The under-stairs space is warm, den-like, and removed from high-traffic areas. It is an ideal spot for your four-legged family members to call their own.

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  1. Hi,
    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 !

    1. 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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