10 Smart Ways to Create Storage Under the Stairs When You’re Short on Space

updated Sep 11, 2023
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Credit: Jessica Rapp

No matter the size of your home, things can quickly start to feel cluttered if you’re short on storage. Making use of otherwise unused, hidden nooks and crannies — such as the space underneath your stairs — is a great way to increase your storage and decrease visible clutter, all at the same time. Not sure where to start? We’ve got you covered. Below, 10 of the best under-stairs storage ideas you can try out in your own home.

1. Add Custom Drawers

If you’re handy, or you’ve got a great handyperson on call, consider adding custom drawers to the awkward-shaped space beneath your stairs — it can function like a dresser or credenza, but without taking up valuable square footage on the floor. You can use the drawers to store anything from shoes to extra linens. 

2. Try a Cube Shelf and Baskets

For a more temporary solution, grab a cube shelf and pop in baskets or bins. Cube shelving units come in lots of different shapes and configurations, so you’re bound to find one that fits under your stairway. 

3. Stack Storage Bins 

Utility doesn’t always have to be pretty. Under your stairs, especially if that space is totally hidden, is a great spot for a few storage bins that won’t fit in a closet. Use this space to store items you don’t use every day, but ones you don’t want to store in a basement or attic. 

4. Pop in a Rolling Cart

Whether you’re short on under-sink storage or you don’t have a dedicated bathroom closet, consider storing a rolling cart under your stairs to hold cleaning supplies. That way, when it’s time to scrub, you can roll the cart around the house with you (then tuck it out of sight). You can also use it for kids’ art supplies or crafting tools!

Credit: Viv Yapp

5. Hang Some Hooks 

Short on hanging space? Add hooks to the wall in your under-stairs storage space so you have extra room to hang bags and jackets — kind of like a makeshift mudroom!

6. DIY a Pantry 

Kitchen real estate is hard to come by — so why not use the space under your stairs to create more room? Install shelving or cabinets with pull-out drawers and use them to store nonperishables or small appliances you only use every so often.

7. Expand Your Bedroom Closet

The area under your stairs can function just like a closet if there’s a door. So if your bedroom closet is feeling crammed, install a couple of clothes hanger racks to hang clothes. Try a waterfall hanging system that angles downward to accommodate the weirdly shaped space.

8. Carve Out a Display Nook 

If you want to use space on the wall beneath your stairs, you can add floating shelves to display tchotchkes and store small items in a narrow storage basket

9. Get a Storage Bench

Another way to maximize the wall space beneath your stairs? Furniture that doubles as storage! Grab a cute storage bench to tuck away all that clutter (or strategically store items in baskets inside). 

10. Create a Workspace

Who needs a home office when you have space under your stairway? If there’s room, find a simple desk that doubles as storage for office supplies (your junk drawer will thank you).

A version of this story was first published on August 14, 2017 by Nancy Mitchell.