Under stairs ideas – 10 stylish ways to make use of this awkward space (2022)

When it comes to under stair ideas, we often have a tendency to go straight to storage, transforming it into a cupboard for vacuums, mops, shoes, umbrellas and long-forgotten coat collections. And while this awkward nook does lend itself to a storage space, there are many more interesting ways to transform under the stairs, making it a really stylish and practical addition to your home.

So we've pulled together all our favorite under staircase ideas, yes there are storage solutions here, but there's also home bars, practical offices spaces, cozy reading nooks, luxurious wine rooms and more to inspire you to turn this humble, and often overlooked, part of your home into something far more beautiful than a stack of plastic containers and overcrowded shoe racks.

1. Build in book case

Under stairs ideas – 10 stylish ways to make use of this awkward space (1)

(Image credit: Future)

Didn't think you had room for a home library? Think again. Under stair spaces are perfect for turning book collections into beautiful displays and can work no matter what size you are dealing with. Keep it simple and wall mount shelves to fill the wall space or create something more unique to your space and design built-in shelving that will completely fill the nook.

We love how the colorful spines really pop against the black background in this under stair idea – it definitely makes a case for choosing dark colors for a staircase.

2. Incorporate sleek and discreet storage

Under stairs ideas – 10 stylish ways to make use of this awkward space (2)

(Image credit: Emma Tannenbaum)

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Staircase needn't always been positioned in a hallway. In more contemporary homes you'll often find them in open-plan kitchens and living rooms. Since they then sit in such a lived-in space, opting for something sleek and discrete may work best so as not to make the room feel too visually busy and overcrowded. In this case, built-in storage is an easy option – simple, stylish and functional.

Pick a design that's going to suit the vibe of the rest of the room. In this minimalist, slightly modern rustic living room, the fuss-free, handles walnut cabinetry works perfectly. They actually conceal a TV too, as well as providing plenty of storage, a clever way to conceal your bulky tech.

3. Transform under stairs space into a home bar

(Image credit: Soho Management London Ltd)

Now, this is a stair idea we can really get behind. Home bars have only increased in popularity over the last few years (no surprised there) and are no longer just reserved for luxury homes with acres of space. You can squeeze a home bar in even when square footage might be tight, and what better space to use for this than under the stairs?

You could create a dry bar with lovely displays of your finest tipple and spaces to store glassware. Or take it a step further and have a sink and mini-fridge installed so you don't need to go between bar and kitchen. Again, this would be a great home bar idea if your staircase sits in a more lived-in room than the hall, but likewise, what better way to greet guests than taking them straight to your under stairs bar in the entryway?

4. Keep it open to emphasis the staircase design

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(Image credit: Future)

If your staircase is a real feature in your home, whether it's a traditional design with curving wrought iron rails or something more contemporary like this exposed wood style, let the staircase be the focus by keeping the space underneath minimal.

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That doesn't mean it can't still be practical, just rather than filling the area with a block of built-in cabinetry, keep it open and add hooks for coats or a bench for putting on shoes. See how in this staircase decorating idea the gap under the bench has been put to practical use too with a collection of stylish rattan baskets. They look chic and no one need know they are filled with muddy shoes and dog toys.

5. Add a powder room

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(Image credit: Anna Stathaki)

It's one of the most popular under stair ideas for a reason, not only is adding a powder room a practical addition, adding an extra bathroom (no matter how small) can add value to your home too. Just be sure to check it's not going to be too tricky to get plumbing to the space, there's enough space to easily move around, and that there's a comfortable amount of headroom too.

In terms of space-expanding powder room ideas, we'd always go bold with prints in these tight spaces. Wallpaper on all four walls, and the ceiling if you dare, is great for blurring the edges and the room and creating the illusion it's larger.

6. Turn an awkward space into the perfect home office

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(Image credit: Julie Soefer)

We are all looking for clever home office ideas because despite a lot of us now working from home, not all have a room to call our own in which to work from. So be inspired by this gorgeous space designed by Marie Flanigan, and turn that dead space into an office.

Make it a space you want to spend your working day, so decorate it as you would a full-sized office. Add some narrow shelving (picture rails work perfectly) for decoration, hang prints, and pick an uplifting color scheme. And be sure to light the space well too with a few different sources. Adding in spotlights will ensure plenty of light and take up zero room – important in such a right space. And for more focused lighting add a desk lamp or wall-mounted downlight too.

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'When beauty meets function, magic happens. The space below a stairway is often unused square footage and presents the perfect opportunity to create something special for our clients.' says Marie. 'With so many people working from home, we are presented with the unique challenge of needing multiple work zones and a nook under the stairs is the perfect solution.'

7. Store your wine collection under the stairs

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(Image credit: Blakes London)

Wine collection gone way past fitting neatly into a wine rack? Consider storing it under the stairs. It's the perfect place as it's usually away from direct sunlight and the temperatures won't vary too much.

And rather than hide away those bottles gathering dust, get them out and on display behind by building a glass-fronted cabinet. There's so much wine storing tech out there too, so rather than just being a cupboard, you can turn the space into a climate-controlled wine room that not only looks lovely but is a practical way to preserve your collection.

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(Image credit: Simpson Studio)

When deciding on what to do with your under stairs space, consider where the staircase is positioned and what you need more of in that space. This under stair storage was designed by Simpson Studio (opens in new tab) to double up closet space for the nearby bedrooms, adding extra drawers rather than the more common cupboards.

'Under stairs is an often underutilized part of the home. These sometimes odd, always charming, leftover spaces are the perfect opportunity to create practical and hidden storage.' says Joanna Simpson founder of Simpson Studio. 'We always try to utilize these spaces with versatile drawers and cupboards, from shoe racks, cloakrooms to hidden utility spaces. A bespoke piece of joinery here can provide vital storage and free up clutter from the rest of the home. Finished with elegant detailing, under stairs storage creates a perfect and practical use for an otherwise un-programmed space.'

(Video) INTERIOR DESIGN FOR SMALL HOUSE | UNDER STAIRS IDEAS | CozyChic Design

9. Keep it simple with a console table

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(Image credit: Paul Massey)

If you don't need the space for something really functional just keep it chic and simple with a stylish console table. Opting for freestanding furniture, rather than something built in, offers a more minimalist, cleaner look that's ideal for small or narrow hallways. Choose a piece that has a bit of height so you can clearly see the floor space underneath and it doesn't add visual bulk or block the light from flowing around the space.

10. Create a cozy reading nook

Under stairs ideas – 10 stylish ways to make use of this awkward space (10)

(Image credit: Soho Management London Ltd)

By its very nature the area under the stairs is cozy, so lean into that and create a cocooning reading nook. Add a padded bench or squishy armchair with plenty of throw cushions and some low task lighting with a warm glowy floor lamp to create the perfect spot to escape to with a book in hand.

How can you maximize storage under the stairs?

If you want to use the space under your stairs solely for storage, the best way to maximize that is to go for a built-in design. This will mean you can make the most of every inch of space no matter how awkward it might be. And when planning your storage think about what it's needed for. Will you be storing coats so will need long cupboards with plenty of hooks? Do you want to plan in cubby holes and racks for shoes? Or will this space be used as a pantry or somewhere to store cleaning and DIY supplies? Once you have a plan of exactly what you want to keep under the stairs you can create a design to suit those needs.

The key thing to consider when planning storage is that sloping ceiling, you want to make sure you store everything that needs height at the tallest end of the space, and then you can work your way down in size order to ensure everything will fit.

How can you style under stairs?

How you style under stair spaces will depend on what you want out of it. Assess the size of the space and think feasibly about what can be done with it, then consider what your home might lack.

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Is the space large enough to become a home office? Could you add plumbing and turn it into a powder room? If space is tight and you need the extra storage, considering adding smart built-in cabinets. And if you simply want it to be a striking space guests notice as they entering your home, curate a gallery wall, hang picture rails to add decor, or add a slimline bench to create a cozy nook.

FAQs

What do you do with awkward space under stairs? ›

17 Creative Under Stairs Storage Ideas You Need to Try
  1. Build Under Stair Bookshelves. Photo via @allusterstorage. ...
  2. Create a Kids Playroom. ...
  3. Install Under Stairs Storage Drawers. ...
  4. Design a Cozy Reading Nook. ...
  5. Make a Phone Booth & Charging Station. ...
  6. Create an Under Stair Pantry. ...
  7. Expand Your Kitchen Cabinet. ...
  8. Design Your Dream Wine Room.
28 Jun 2022

How do you decorate empty space under stairs? ›

Turn the unused space under the stairs into a cozy home office. Create a hidden alcove in a playroom by turning the space under the stairs into a secret room for your kids. Turn a closet under the stairs into an artistic opportunity by decking it out with a custom mural, or even chalkboard paint for some versatile art.

How do you decorate space around stairs? ›

7 Smart Ways to Decorate the Dead Space Under Your Stairs
  1. Position A Couch Inside. If your stair nook is in your living room, then make the most of that space and add a couch underneath. ...
  2. Add A Plant Collection. ...
  3. Create A Reading Nook. ...
  4. Add A Home Office. ...
  5. Carve Out An Entertainment Area. ...
  6. Add A Swing. ...
  7. Squeeze In A Bench.
26 May 2019

How do I arrange my cupboards under the stairs? ›

Easy ways to organise the understair cupboard
  1. Get the hang of it. Make full use of wall space in understair cupboards by installing hooks and hanging up brooms, mops, and dustpan and brush sets. ...
  2. Declutter cleaning products. ...
  3. Bag of tricks. ...
  4. Stack it up. ...
  5. Light the way.
30 Jun 2017

What is the room under the stairs called? ›

The space under stairs is called a “spandrel” which simply translates to the triangular space underneath if there's not another flight of stairs immediately under this.

Can we make bathroom under stairs? ›

A bathroom, kitchen or puja room should never be built under a staircase. This area can only be used as a storage space.

What should be under the stairs? ›

If you have limited space in your home, the place under the stairs can be an excellent spot for a closet. You could go for a coat closet, cleaning closet, linen closet, utility closet or something else. Just get some hooks, hangers, rods, and shelves, and you can store dozens of things!

What should be kept under stairs as per Vastu? ›

The space under the staircase should be used for nothing but storage of common household items, say Vastu experts. Cabinets containing valuable items, such as cash or jewellery, should not be kept in this space.

What is a stair spandrel? ›

Spandrel: The triangular space underneath a staircase (when there is not another flight underneath).

Where is the best place to put a staircase? ›

The best place to have the staircase in your house is near the entrance. As per the principles of vastu the best direction for an internal staircase is in the south-west part of the house, followed by the south and west directions. These rules go for east-facing, north-facing and west-facing houses.

How do I support my basement stairs? ›

How To Strengthen Weak Basement Steps – Stair Repairs - YouTube

How do I put drawers under stairs? ›

How to Build Under Stair Storage Drawers - YouTube

What are parts of stairs called? ›

The riser is the vertical surface of the stair. The tread on the other hand is the horizontal surface of the stair and the part of the stair you step on. Nosing is the portion of the tread that overhangs the front of the riser. Often a stair builder will talk about the rise and run of the stair.

What is side of stairs called? ›

Outer String. The outer string is the side of a staircase where the treads and risers can be seen from the side. Riser. A riser is a vertical board that forms the face of a step. Nosing.

Which side should the toilet face? ›

The toilet seat should always be placed in such a direction that the person using it would be facing the northern or southern direction of the home. This will keep the health of the family members balanced.

What direction should toilet be? ›

The flush of the toilet should never face east or west. It should be in the southeast or at the northwest facing the North or the South.

Can toilet face south? ›

The best direction of the toilet seat, according to Vastu, is in the south-east or north-west side. This should be in such a way that a person using it is not facing either the east or the west. 5.

How do you make stairs in a small space? ›

20 Creative Stairs Design for Small Space - YouTube

How do you hide stairs in a lounge? ›

Tapestries or wall hangings offers an attractive solution to hiding a staircase. A ceiling-mounted curtain track will hold fabric hangings, making it possible to hide a staircase whether it is only visible through a doorway or if it's an open staircase, such as in a loft.

How do you put a room under stairs in Sims 4? ›

The Sims 4 How to Create a Functional Room Under the Stairs ...

Can we keep shoes under staircase? ›

The spaces under the staircase should never be used as a kitchen, pooja room, study room, or bathroom. Ideally, it can be used as storage for necessary things. It should not be the storage for unnecessary things that are not required for years. Also one should not use this space as storage for old footwear.

Can we keep shoes under stairs? ›

Wearing footwear inside the house is not recommended either. Some people keep expensive shoes and other footwear inside their house. It is not proper to place them under the staircase, below the cot or anywhere in the bedroom.

Can we put pooja room under staircase? ›

Don't position the pooja room under a staircase or against the wall of a bathroom — it is considered inauspicious. 4. Design the pooja ghar on the ground floor of your home for best results. Basements and upper floors are not recommended for mandirs as per Vastu.

What is a balustrade on stairs? ›

The balustrade is the railing and baluster that prevents you from falling over the edge. It's also the collective name for the complete assembly of handrails, including spindles and newel posts. These can be highly decorative; turned, carved, forged, or even replaced by wooden or glass panels.

What is a stair core? ›

Inside the stair core, PSS provides precast stairs and landings with cast-in lifting points making installation efficient and safe. For bespoke and high quality precast stairs, that are designed to the highest standards, we recommend you consider our stairs as an option.

What is the back of stairs called? ›

Risers. The back part of the step is the riser. Risers are the vertical pieces at the back of each step that keeps your toe from going any further.

How do you cover stairs on wood? ›

How To Install Hardwood on Stairs - YouTube

Why did Harry Potter live under the stairs? ›

Instead of being given a real bedroom, Harry was kept in the cupboard under the stairs. In addition to sleeping in the cupboard and keeping his possessions, it also served as a place for the Dursleys to punish Harry every time he accidentally unleashed some magic.

Are studs under stairs load bearing? ›

If the staircase walls sit at a 90 degree angle to your supports, it is almost definitely load bearing. Another way to tell if a staircase wall is load bearing or not is to start at the lowest point in your home and work your way up to the staircase wall in question.

What is the 18 rule for a staircase? ›

Rule one says that rise plus run (r+R) should equal 18 inches. Why? That's what most people find to be a comfortable stride on most stairs. You can cheat a bit up or down, but below 17” and more than 19” will result in steps that require strides either too big or too small for most people.

How do you design a staircase? ›

Factors to consider when designing a staircase

All the steps on the same flight must be identical. Any stairway that has more than 15 steps have to incorporate a landing in between. The width of each landing must not be less than the width of the ramp. When possible, use of straight stair flights should be preferred.

How do you draw stairs? ›

How to Draw Steps in 1-Point Perspective Easy: Narrated

How can I decorate my bedroom with no money? ›

Decorate with no Money, Budget DIY Room Decor - YouTube

What to put on the wall at the top of the stairs? ›

Wall art is another option for the blank wall at top of the staircase, whether you paint the wall another color or not. Framed family photos or nature photos can fill the wall, or use the space to display vintage album cover art or movie or sports posters, depending on your interests, says Elle Decor.

Is it OK to put mirror facing the stairs? ›

It is not OK to put a mirror in front of the stairs. It is considered bad luck and can double the unsettling energy of the staircase. While a lot of homes can benefit from mirrors, there are some areas of the house where they should not be placed and this includes in front of the stairs.

How do you decorate a staircase wall? ›

Employing color, hanging wallpaper, or adding paneling can transform plain walls, while artwork, wall sculpture, or other wall-hung displays can equally give this part of your home personality, and make the staircase far more than simply a way up and down.

How do you decorate a landing? ›

Reflect light with mirrors. When a landing is small and lacking natural light a mirror is the answer. Hanging a decorative mirror helps bounce light around the space to make it feel airy and more open. Using multiple mirrors creates an alternative gallery wall, to add a stylish touch to the decor.

What is the wall above the stairs called? ›

Kneewall. A framed wall slightly above the noses of the stair treads with its top running parallel with the incline of the stair resulting in a closed stair – also called a pony wall or stub wall.

Where should you not put a mirror in a bedroom? ›

We recommend avoiding placing a mirror above your bed or facing any other mirrors within your bedroom. Hanging mirrors are much higher than standing, so they can cause quite the glare in a bedroom if they face a window.

Where should you not put a mirror? ›

4 Places NOT to Hang a Mirror in Your Home
  1. DON'T hang across from clutter. You want your mirrors to reflect light and happy energy — not piles of mail, toys, or other clutter. ...
  2. DON'T hang directly above or opposite bed. ...
  3. DON'T hang in the kitchen. ...
  4. DON'T hang directly across from the front door.

Where should mirrors be placed for good luck? ›

Apparently, the dining room is the best place in the house to have a mirror. The dining room of any house is the “vault” for wealth, health and prosperity. A mirror, if placed at the right place in this room of the house can multiply the wealth in the house.

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