29 ways to add extra storage space under the stairs

Looking to optimize the use of space in your home?

We’ve compiled a comprehensive list of the top 29 under-stair cupboard storage ideas. This list will help you discover innovative storage solutions that are not just practical but also add aesthetics to your home interiors.

  1. Shoe Storage: Keep all your shoes organized with shelves or cubbies.
  2. Book Nook: Create a small library with wall-mounted shelves and a cozy reading corner.
  3. Wine Cellar: Install wine racks to store your favorite bottles, and even add a small wine fridge.
  4. Utility Closet: Store cleaning supplies, vacuum cleaners, and other essential tools for easy access.
  5. Hidden Office: Create a workspace with a built-in desk, storage, and seating.
  6. Children’s Play Area: Furnish the space with cushions, toys, and shelving for a fun playroom.
  7. Extra Pantry: Install shelving to store non-perishable food items and small kitchen appliances.
  8. Fitted wardrobe: Add hanging racks and shelves for a compact addition to your wardrobe storage.
  9. Mudroom: Create a drop zone for coats, bags, and shoes with hooks and storage bins.
  10. Pet Corner: Convert the area into a pet-friendly space by adding food and water stations, bedding, and toy storage.
  11. Craft Room: Design an organized crafting space with a worktable and storage solutions for supplies.
  12. Maximised Closet: Install hanging racks, ironing board, hooks for coats, hats, and umbrellas.
  13. Gaming Nook: Set up a gaming station with consoles, controllers, and seating for gaming enthusiasts.
  14. Music Corner: Store instruments and sheet music, or create a small practice area.
  15. Laundry Station: Include space for a small washer and dryer or utilize the area to hang and air dry clothes.
  16. Bulletin Board Wall: Keep track of important reminders and family schedules with a bulletin board or chalkboard wall.
  17. Media Storage: Organize and display your movies, music, and video games with custom shelving.
  18. Drawer System: Install a set of drawers for assorted storage needs.
  19. Yoga Corner: Create a calm and dedicated space for yoga and meditation.
  20. Gardening Station: Store gardening tools, seeds, and supplies for easy access when working outdoors.
  21. Luxury Display: Showcase your collection of designer bags, shoes, or accessories.
  22. Sports Gear Storage: Organize your sports equipment, such as balls, rackets, and helmets.
  23. Fitness Corner: Store workout gear and gym equipment, or create a mini exercise area.
  24. Kitchen Appliance Storage: Store bulky or rarely-used kitchen appliances and gadgets.
  25. Luggage Storage: Keep your suitcases and other travel essentials organized and hidden away.
  26. Indoor Plant Display: Create a mini greenhouse with shelves to showcase your plant collection and grow lights.
  27. Under stairs bicycle storage: Save floor and wall space in your home by hanging bicycles under the stairs using heavy-duty hooks. Install hooks on the wall for storing helmets, water bottles, and other bicycling gear.
  28. Photography Studio: Store camera equipment, backdrops, and props for your photography hobby.
  29. Minimalist Sanctuary: Keep the space empty and clean, using it as a meditation or relaxation area.

Table of Contents

Picture of Author: George Nicola
Author: George Nicola

George is a seasoned interior designer and property marketing strategist with over 13 years of experience. He specializes in transforming properties into visually stunning spaces, helping clients recognize the potential and beauty in each property. With an impressive international client base of exciting projects throughout Europe and America.

Disclosure: Some of the links below are affiliate links. This means that, at zero cost to you, we will earn an affiliate commission if you click through the link and finalize a purchase.

In contemporary residential architecture and especially in old terraced victorian houses the entrance hall is long and narrow ending with a steep staircase. 

In these confined spaces storage is key. This angled awkward space is capable to store everything with the right planning including an additional toilet.

This article aims to explore various under stair cupboard solutions that cater to different needs and preferences, providing both functional and aesthetic enhancements to one’s living environment.

According to Nationwide Building Society, adding a second bathroom adds on average of 5% to the value of a home . However, the value added can depend on the location of the property, the size of the house, and the quality of the bathroom.

The space under your stairs is an investment

The understair cupboard has emerged as one of the first renovation projects to 75% terraced house home buyers.

Since it’s a significant part of the hallway if you can benefit from different use of space, even without the quality materials aspect of space utilization and organization, this area, often overlooked or underutilized, presents unique opportunities for storage and design solutions within the home.

As square footage becomes an increasingly valuable commodity in modern living spaces, homeowners seek innovative ideas to optimize every inch of their homes.

child play room under the stairs
child play room under the stairs

A made to measure understair cupboard that can optimize this space for practical use will increase the house’s perceived value in addition to it’s  as well. These approaches may encompass shelving systems, drawers, cabinets, and even integrated appliances or workstations.

How to build an under stairs cupboard?

A National Association of Home Builders study revealed that 61% of homebuyers consider hallway storage a crucial factor in selecting a suitable living space.

The attention to detail and money invested in creating that additional space to store in tiny houses is well appreciated. Especially given the floor space the hallway occupies in a typical home.

narrow victorian terrace hallway example
narrow victorian terrace hallway example

This statistic highlights the increasing demand for efficient storage systems within residential properties, but where to start?

Recognize the Potential of Under Stair Cupboard: Hidden beneath your staircase is a treasure of potential space that can be transformed into practical storage. We’re discussing built-in shelves, drawers, innovative cabinets, and more. Get creative and think of all the items you could store – books, clothing, you name it!

Declutter and Organize: You might be battling with limited floor space and cramped cupboards, but under-stair storage helps streamline and organize your home better. Explore the area, measure the dimensions, and ponder about the items that could be effectively stored under stairs – a surefire step towards a clutter-free life.

Customize Your Storage: Once you understand your personal preferences and the spatial constraints of your house, it opens up a whole world of under stair possibilities. You can either go for market-available storage units or opt for bespoke designs. It’s your space; make it friendly and work for you!

Holistic Edge: Using under-stairs storage effectively is about more than just aesthetics – it improves your home’s overall functionality too. It’s about investing the time and channeling the grit to meticulously analyze how to utilize your space for the maximum benefit best.

We can help you establish if you need full service design or just advice. Free interior design consultant >

9 Most popular Under Stairs Storage Solutions

#1 Installing Built-In Storage Solution

The video discusses how to build understairs storage in the simplest possible way.

Materials and tools needed:

Tools:

  • Tape measure
  • Fine-toothed saw
  • Coarse cut saw
  • Mitre saw
  • Electric drill
  • Screwdriver set
  • Boat level (small spirit level)
  • Nail gun
  • Mastic gun (Caulk gun)
  • Circular saw
  • Packers (Shims)
  • Polyfilla or another brand of wall filler (Spackling compound or wood filler)
  • Waterborne varnish-2 litres (Waterborne polyurethane-2 qt)
  • Router
  • Padsaw (Pad saw)
  • Grips (Clamps)
  • Hot glue gun
  • Small roller and tray (Small paint roller and tray)

Materials:

  • 2.4m x 2cm x 15cm European redwood (1 x 6 x 8-ft. poplar-3)
  • 32mm finishing screws (1-1/4 in. trim screws)
  • 32mm and 50mm and 57mm wood screws
  • 122cm x 244cm x 1.27cm birch plywood (1/2 x 48 x 96-in. Baltic birch)
  • 100mm x 50mm softwood (4″x 2″ timber)
  • 50mm x 25mm softwood (2″x1″ timber)
  • Metal “L” brackets
  • Plywood
  • Medium Density Fibreboard (MDF)
  • Heavy-duty drawer runners
  • Iron-on edge banding
  • PVC angle
  • Push-to-open latches
  • PVA Adhesive (Wood glue)
  • Grab Adhesive (Construction adhesive)
  • Wood screws
  • Wall plugs

The area under the stairs is a goldmine of space often underutilized; hence, the plan is to create convenient pull-out storage for everyone in the family.

  1. Pre-project preparation involves teardown of wall covering and removal of wall trim. Once the studs are out of the way, the next step is to divide the opening under the stairs into three equal sections for drawer boxes.
  2. An important aspect is to ensure the wall is plumb for the doors to close properly. The existing studs will be used as markers for achieving equal sections. The chosen design uses inset doors and requires door faces and trims to be flush with the skirting board.
  3. Drawer fronts or doors covering the studs won’t need furring strips, just quarter-inch thick trim and these pieces will be primed and painted before application.
  4. For the drawers, heavy-duty 500lb slides are used; however, it is mentioned a 200lb slide could also work. All parts of the drawer boxes are made from Baltic Birch due to its screw-holding strength, quality finish, and pleasing appearance. The bases and shelves employ pre-finished three-quarter veneer ply.
  5. The final steps include installing drawer faces and using push latches for a minimalistic look on the doors. The project is hoped to provide an efficient solution to gaining more storage in often underused house portions.
house renovation designer

We can help you establish if you need full service design or just advice. Free interior design consultant >

#2 Made to Measure Understair Bookshelf

Do you have a sprawling collection of books with nowhere sensible to house them? 

Have you wondered: How to plan bookshelf under stairs?

If so, you’re in good company. A made-to-measure bookshelf could turn that ordinary under-stair area into your personal home library.

However, like any DIY project, this, too, demands a bit of forethought and planning. So here are some things you should consider before you take that dive:

How to plan bookshelf under stairs graphics
How to plan bookshelf under stairs graphics

1. Space Assessment:
The first step is to work out how much actual space you have. Use a tape measure to get the available area’s width, height, and depth. Be aware of any irregularities like pipes, ductwork, or sloping ceilings which could impact your design.

2. Functionality and Design:
Think about the kind of bookshelf you want. Are you after something simple and functional, or are you looking for a design with a bit more flair? Do you want additional features like sliding ladders, built-in reading nooks, or storage drawers? Keep in mind a good design should marry both beauty and functionality.

3. Material and Construction for a bookshelf:
Decide on the type of material you want for your bookshelf under stairs. Solid hardwood offers durability and timeless appeal but can be costly.

Materials like MDF or plywood are easier on the pocket and can be painted to match your decor.

Also, consider the load the shelves will bear. If you’re storing hefty encyclopedias, you’ll need sturdier shelves than if you’re keeping paperback novels.

4. Under Stairs Bookcase Safety:
Never overlook safety. An under stairs area can often be a high-traffic zone, and you’ll want to guard against accidents. Make sure your bookshelf design doesn’t impede access or create trip hazards.

5. Bookshelf Budget:
Figure out your budget. The average DIY project with all materials and given that you have the tools would come to around £300 ($380) to £700 ($900), while a professional installation is £1,000 ($1,270) to £2,500 ($3,180) for fitting a 3-door under-stair cupboard with no drawers.

Remember, it’s not just about the cost of materials; you’ll also need to factor in the cost of labor if you’re hiring a professional or the time and tools you’ll need if you’re taking the DIY route.

#3 Pullout drawer for cabinet under stair

Moving away from the concept of an under-stair bookshelf, another great understair cupboard solution involves the installation of pullout drawers. These drawers maximize storage space and provide easy access to items stored within.

Pull-out drawers are an excellent option for those who wish to make optimal use of their understair cupboard without compromising on style or functionality.

A pull-out drawer storage system can be custom-built to fit the specific dimensions and requirements of an individual’s understair cupboard.

This ensures that every inch of available space is utilized efficiently while also accommodating the unique needs of each homeowner.

For instance, one might incorporate a shoe rack into the design, making it simple to keep footwear organized and accessible without taking up additional floor space elsewhere in the home.

Incorporating pull-out drawers into an under stairs cupboard’s organization strategy demonstrates ingenuity and practicality.

This storage solution easily adapts to various items, ranging from shoes to tools, linens, or kitchenware. 

By implementing this versatile and functional approach, homeowners can transform previously underutilized areas beneath their staircase into valuable storage spaces that cater specifically to their needs and preferences.

#4 Hidden Shoe Storage Cupboard

If you’re looking for clever storage solutions, don’t overlook the versatile space of your understair cupboard. One of the most efficient and aesthetically pleasing options is to create hidden shoe storage.

In this section, we’ll explore how you can turn your under stairs cupboard into a shoe storage area that maximizes organization and maintains an uncluttered appearance in your home.

When designing your shoe storage system, investing in bespoke furniture is important. This ensures that the available space is utilized efficiently while offering customizable options to suit your needs and preferences.

Now, let’s dive into some practical ideas:

1. Pull-out Drawers: As discussed in the previous section pull-out drawers are adaptable. They can be integrated as an rotating compartment designed specifically for shoes to keep your shoes neatly tucked away. 

The entire module depending on the height of your under stair space, can at minimum of 50 pairs of shoes.

The rotating function make it easy to access your footwear and keep them concealed from view when closed, maintaining a clean and seamless look in your home.

pull out shoe rack under stairs
pull out shoe rack under stairs

2. Shelving Units: Incorporating shelves into the design of your understair cupboard is a fantastic way to create an organized display for your shoes. This makes it easier to locate specific pairs in a hurry quickly. Even better, adjustable shelving allows for customization based on the size and number of shoes in your collection. You’ll have the flexibility to accommodate all types of footwear with ease.

3. Rotating Shoe Rack: Are you an avid shoe collector or dealing with limited space? Consider installing a rotating shoe rack within your understair cupboard. This innovative design maximizes vertical space usage while providing a convenient shoe storage and access method. With a simple spin, you’ll have all your footwear readily available.

#5 Open Under Stair Shelving Units

Transitioning from hidden shoe storage, another effective solution for maximizing the use of understair cupboard space is open shelving.

This approach can transform the often underutilized area beneath a staircase into an organized and visually appealing storage area.

Open shelving offers homeowners the opportunity to display their belongings in an aesthetically pleasing manner while maintaining easy access to frequently used items.

The implementation of open shelving in an understair cupboard provides numerous benefits for homeowners seeking additional storage solutions.

By installing fitted furniture, such as shelves made from medium-density fiberboard (MDF), one can create a customized storage area that meets specific needs and preferences.

MDF is an affordable and versatile material that lends itself well to various applications, including shelving units designed to fit snugly within the unique dimensions of an understair cupboard.

Numerous options exist for incorporating open shelving into an understair cupboard, allowing homeowners to select a design that complements their existing décor and optimizes available space.

When designing the layout, it is essential to consider factors such as shelf height, width, and depth in order to create a functional storage area that maximizes capacity without compromising on aesthetics.

#5 Built-In Cabinets

Are you ready to take on the challenge of building your own storage units?

One popular option for understair storage is incorporating hanging rails into the design of built-in cabinets. Hanging rails provide ample storage for clothing items or other household essentials that require vertical space.

Pull-out features such as drawers or baskets can be integrated into the cabinet design to accommodate smaller items that may otherwise become lost in larger storage spaces. A noteworthy trend in recent years involves using sliding wardrobe doors as part of understair cupboard solutions.

These sliding doors offer several benefits over traditional hinged doors; they save valuable floor space and create a seamless transition between different room areas when closed. Sliding wardrobe doors allow easier access to stored items without obstructing pathways or requiring additional clearance space. 

Consider that sliding doors take up more space depending on the door type and mechanism.

#6 Slide-Out Storage

Slide-out storage components include shaker-style panels, stylish underlighting, and versatile drawer options to accommodate various household items.

This storage solution allows homeowners to customize their understair spaces to meet their needs and preferences.

One key advantage of slide-out storage systems is their ability to adapt to the unique dimensions and configurations of understair cupboards.

By incorporating components such as adjustable shelves, pull-out drawers, and even specialized interior fittings for items like shoes or wine bottles, these systems enable homeowners to optimize space usage without compromising on style or functionality.

With the addition of stylish under lighting and shaker-style paneling, these storage solutions can seamlessly integrate with existing home décor while providing a cohesive look that enhances the overall ambiance of the living space.

#6 Under stair Desk / Office

Imagine a homeowner who has a small living space and needs an additional area to work or study. The understair cupboard, often overlooked, can provide the perfect solution for this problem.

One innovative approach to utilizing this space is installing a suspended desk – a practical and modern way to create a functional workstation while maximizing the available square footage.

Or as in the case below, a shorter in depth L-shaped desk.

smart under stair office set up
smart under stair office set up

A suspended desk offers various advantages:

  • Space-saving: As it is mounted on the wall and does not require any floor space, it optimizes the limited area beneath the stairs.
  • Customizable: Homeowners can tailor the design according to their preferences and requirements, including size, materials, and finishes.
  • Ergonomic: By adjusting the desk’s height during installation, users can ensure that it suits their specific ergonomic needs for comfortable working conditions.
  • Aesthetic appeal: Suspended desks can be designed with sleek lines and minimalist features that blend seamlessly into any home décor style.

Overall, hanging a gallery wall is an excellent way to add personality and character to any narrow Victorian terrace hallway while also making use of space that may not otherwise be utilized.

#7 Hallway Pet Nook

Transitioning from the ingenious concept of a suspended desk, another innovative and practical solution for an understair cupboard is to create a pet nook.

This functional space serves as a cozy retreat for furry companions and helps maintain an organized and clutter-free home environment.

A well-designed pet nook should be comfortable, safe, and personalized to meet the specific requirements of individual pets.

To create such a haven, start by selecting an appropriate flooring material that is easy to clean and resistant to scratches.

incorporating dedicated storage compartments for pet supplies like toys, leashes, grooming tools, and treats can contribute significantly towards maintaining orderliness in the area.

One must also pay attention to lighting inside the pet nook.

Installing low-level lighting fixtures can create a warm ambiance while ensuring energy efficiency.

integrating air purifiers or ventilation systems can help maintain good air quality within the confined space.

By adopting these measures, one can transform an underutilized understair cupboard into a delightful sanctuary that caters to the needs of beloved pets while enhancing overall home organization.

#8 Under stair Wine Cellar

If you are a wine collector or lover living in a Victorian terraced house, you must find space to store your wine collection.

Like a fine bottle of wine awaiting its time to shine, the under stair cupboard holds untapped potential for homeowners seeking innovative storage solutions.

One solution is transforming the space under the stairs into a large-capacity cellar or an elegant and functional wine cellar. Since the space under the stairs is dark and cooler, it can be ideal for wine storage.

Proper insulation and temperature control are the first step in creating a wine cellar under the stairs. Wine preservation necessitates a stable environment with minimal fluctuations in temperature and humidity levels. To achieve this, experts recommend insulating the space’s walls, floor, and ceiling with closed-cell foam or rigid insulation boards.

Installing a climate control system or wine cooling unit is great and will maintain optimal conditions for long-term storage, preventing potential damage from mold or mildew growth. But even if you do not add one, your wine most probably will be fine.

A well-designed racking system is paramount to ensuring that each bottle rests comfortably within its allotted space while providing easy access for retrieval.

Custom-built racks crafted from wood or metal can be designed to accommodate various bottle sizes and shapes and maximize storage capacity within the confined area beneath the staircase.

#9 Under stair Toilet (Wc)

The understair space for incorporating a toilet or water closet (WC) is an increasingly popular approach to maximize the functional potential of this often-underutilized area in residential buildings.

This innovative solution addresses spatial constraints in urban dwellings and enhances the convenience and accessibility of sanitation facilities, particularly for elderly or physically challenged occupants.

Installing a WC under the stairs can significantly increase the property value by providing an additional bathroom facility without compromising the primary living spaces.

The design and layout of an under stairs toilet call for meticulous planning and execution to ensure optimal utilization of available space, compliance with building regulations, and seamless integration with the existing plumbing system.

A compact and efficient design should prioritize important fixtures such as a wall-mounted toilet, corner sink, and concealed cistern while minimizing visual clutter through suitable storage solutions like recessed shelves or mirrored cabinets.

Creative use of lighting, color schemes, and surface finishes can create an illusion of spaciousness and elevate the aesthetic appeal of this compact bathroom.

It is imperative to engage qualified professionals such as architects, interior designers, or home organization experts with adequate experience in optimizing understair spaces for toilet installations.

These professionals can provide valuable guidance on various aspects including structural modifications, material selection, ventilation requirements, drainage solutions, as well as safety considerations.

Conclusion

The under-stair space epitomizes the essence of resourcefulness and ingenuity in home design.

With an array of bespoke solutions catering to diverse storage needs, transforming this often-overlooked area into a functional and visually striking feature is worth undertaking.

The design and layout of an under stairs toilet call for meticulous planning and execution to ensure optimal utilization of available space, compliance with building regulations, and seamless integration with the existing plumbing system.

A compact and efficient design should prioritize important fixtures such as a wall-mounted toilet, corner sink, and concealed cistern while minimizing visual clutter through suitable storage solutions like recessed shelves or mirrored cabinets.

Creative use of lighting, color schemes, and surface finishes can create an illusion of spaciousness and elevate the aesthetic appeal of this compact bathroom.

How to hide under stairs storage?

To hide under stairs storage: conceal behind sliding doors, mount false walls to hide contents or curtains or fabric panels for a soft and flexible solution.

Benefits of hiding under stairs storage:

  • Maximizes use of space without appearing cluttered
  • Keeps entrance halls/staircases looking neat and tidy
  • Allows you to store items out of sight
  • Creates a smooth, cohesive look in your home’s design

Benefits of exposed under stairs storage:

  • Allows for display and quick grab-and-go access to items
  • Can visually widen a narrow hallway if styled openly with lighting
  • Offers customizable organizational options like open shelves

However, exposed storage has drawbacks like appearing messy or cramping the corridor.

Discreet under stairs storage aligns with and enables several complementary home design, especially for open-plan living in terraced houses. Hiding storage honors the adage that “less is more” for interior harmony.

 

3 methods to to hide existing under stairs storage

Most expensive one is create a custom built-in unit with disguised access.

  • Design shelves, cabinets, or drawers that fit neatly under the stairs, maximizing storage space.
  • Incorporate discreet handles or push-latch mechanisms for a streamlined look.
  • Consider using a bookcase-style door that blends seamlessly with adjacent shelving for a hidden entrance.

Mid-range expensive is to install a door that blends seamlessly with the surrounding walls.

  • Installing a door designed to blend seamlessly with the surrounding walls is a mid-range cost option for concealing under stairs storage.

It is more expensive than basic solutions like curtains or removable panels, but less costly than major renovations like false walls or built-in cabinetry.

  • Paint the door the same color as the walls to make it almost disappear visually.

This balances function, aesthetics, and budget reasonably compared to the most or least pricey approaches.

The least expensive is to use curtains or fabric panels for a soft and flexible solution.

  • Hang curtains or fabric panels from a track or rod mounted beneath the stairs, concealing the storage area.
  • Choose fabrics that complement your décor and can be easily removed for cleaning or access.

Additional tips:

  • Keep the storage area tidy and organized to maintain a seamless look.
  • Install soft-close hinges and drawer slides to minimize noise when accessing the storage.
  • Consider adding lighting within the storage space for better visibility.