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How to use the space under your stairs effectively

A reader asked me recently whether I had some ideas for how best to use the space under the stairs as they were struggling with the angled ceiling and wanted to make the most of it by using the space for a specific purpose if possible.

I love to help where I can! – so here are some great ideas for how to use the space under your stairs to its full advantage, a space that’s often forgotten and that just simply becomes a dumping ground.

I hope you’re inspired!

space under the stairs



Idea #1 – Close off the space and use individual hinged doors for storage


This works really well as you have lots of different sized spaces to have a selection of hanging and shelving space. You could add in coat, shoe and bag storage, and even house most of your cleaning stuff there (it’s handy to have your hoover in the hallway as you can grab and take quickly to any room in the house, for example)
The only trouble though is that you may find it hard to reach the back of the cupboards…. so the next step to go to is the next idea…



Idea #2 – Closed storage but pull out individual sections


This works well as you pull out the storage and therefore don’t have to hurt yourself trying to get to the very back of each space. It also utilises the most space under the stairs for storage, and keeps everything looking tidy.
TIP – using discreet handles means the storage actually looks more like a solid wall when the cupboards are pushed into place, streamlining the space.

Idea #3 – Open bookcases/shelving


If your staircase is in another room other than the hall then you may want to opt for a more open plan feel – this bookcase works really well as it adds loads of storage to the room, and the cubes make the most of all the available space.
TIP – Built in units make the most of space under the stairs

Idea #4 – Use the stairs themselves to access the space


As in this example, you may not have direct access to under the stairs, and what an ingenius solution this is! – you still have access to your shoes easily, but they couldn’t be more tucked away!.

Idea #5 – Use for a home office


I love this idea as you could create a home office in a home that hasn’t really got room for a completely separate area. It would be a great place for housing and dealing with all your paperwork, a homework area that the kids could use and still be seen, and a place to house the computer for work and play.
TIP – if you haven’t got the budget to have fitted furniture, then a simple desk with wall shelves above would work equally well – you could also have a small filing cabinet in the smaller area to maximise the use of space.

Idea #6 – Playroom under the stairs


I bet you know a few children who would love a space like this under the stairs! – Adding some cutouts to a wall makes this space whatever a childs imagination wants it to be – a shop, a house, a school etc……. It would also be a great place to house storage cubes for toys to keep them all out of the way.

Idea #7 – Toilet under the stairs


Whether you had the door on the side, or at the end of the staircase like shown here, you can see that the space under the stairs is perfect for a toilet and a sink area.
TIP – ensure that the toilet is far enough into the space to not allow head height below the sloping roof to become an issue with using it!
And if you’re wonderinng about how I use the space in my own home – well, when we moved into our house the area was a cupboard, but rather under used, so I turned it into a downstairs toilet – and it works perfectly! here’s a picture of it – perfect for what we need, and handy too!
under stairs storage

So – are you inspired by any of these ideas? Do you already use your under stairs space for anything in particular? I’d love to hear about about it so please leave a comment below…..

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4 Responses to How to use the space under your stairs effectively

  1. Annabel Sep 10, 2014 at 1:02 pm #

    Thanks Chrissy! No, the door can’t be moved. I like the idea of a wheeled trolley, but the problem is that the cupboard itself turns ‘back on itself’ so the area under the lowest stairs is hard to reach, and the more used stuff like the hoover gets in the way of reaching further in! I’d like to send you a picture, but don’t know how to add one on here!

    • Chrissy Halton Sep 10, 2014 at 1:19 pm #

      Hi Annabel – you can email me a picture if you like – its These areas are really tricky to get the right storage so if I can help I will! x

  2. Annabel Sep 8, 2014 at 1:07 pm #

    I love your ideas above, but none of them are suitable for me! We have stairs that have a 180 degree return – ie 7 stairs up, a small ‘landing’ area, then 7 more stairs turned back on themselves. The door to the understairs cupboard is only about 4 feet high, but the area underneath is quite big. Because it’s impossible to stand up, it tends just to have junk thrown in from the door! Any ideas?!?

    • Chrissy Halton Sep 8, 2014 at 11:11 pm #

      Hi Annabel – good question! – Can I ask whether the space allows for the door to be moved so that it can be higher, or whether the opening for the door can be made larger at all? If this is not an option then what about adding in a tiered trolley (or 2 if possible) that can be easily wheeled in and out of the cupboard when needed rather than having to try and reach in to fixed shelves etc…. Then you can store things on each shelf within the trolleys (something like IKEAs RASKOG trolley that I featured in the BACK TO SCHOOL post a week or so ago – would be what I would look at). Hope this helps! x

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