7 Smart Ways to Decorate the Dead Space Under Your Stairs

updated Sep 5, 2023
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The dead space underneath your stairs can be tricky. On one hand, that pocket of square footage holds a lot of potential when it comes to storage or creative decor. On the other hand, under-the-stairs decorating is challenging due to the cramped quarters and angular build. You don’t want the area to end up looking like you tried too hard to make use of it, but then you don’t want it to end up as a catch-all for your clutter or storage.

Luckily, there are a ton of interior designers and amateur decorators that have found clever ways to repurpose the space. Some of the ideas are as easy as artfully arranging furniture underneath, and others will take some power tools (or perhaps even a contractor) to accomplish. Get inspired and see which one makes the most sense for your own home.  

1. Install a wine room.

Encase the space in glass and add some climate control in order to transform the unused space into a fabulous wine room, like the one shown here by @susangrecointeriors.

Credit: César Belio

2. Add a plant collection.

Show off your green thumb by making a greenhouse of sorts underneath your staircase, like this house in Mexico. You can include vine plants on top so their long tendrils artfully trail down, and you can play with different colors, patterns, and sizes of planters to add an eclectic touch.

Credit: @daito10taku

3. Create a reading nook.

The empty space underneath the staircase is a perfect place to create a reading nook, like the one shown here by @daito10taku. You can make it stand out by adding loud wallpaper into the tiny room, or keep things sparse like this homeowner chose to do. In either case, creating a reading area is also a great opportunity to create more storage space in the form of drawers and cabinets.

4. Squeeze in a home office.

If you don’t have an extra room in your house for an office, you can use the area underneath your staircase to set up shop, like in this Montreal apartment. Add in a desk, some floating shelves for file and box storage, and a shelving unit to make the area feel more complete.

Credit: @architdz

5. Set up a colorful play space.

The space under your stairs doesn’t have to be utilitarian. Make it a fun, cozy space for little ones by tossing down a few oversized pillows and setting up a cubby with a few of their favorite toys and books in some fun storage bins. They’ll love the fort-like atmosphere. This space by @architdz is whimsical and fun.

6. Create additional storage.

The owners of this small Amsterdam apartment came up with the idea to create this make-shift closet in the space under the stairs. Here, there’s room to hang a few coats, and there’s also space for shoes and important documents as well.

7. Make a playhouse.

How clever is this adorable space, made just for little ones? It’s an entire playhouse, created in the space under the stairs. Complete with a front door and even a “porch light,” we can imagine this space has lent itself to hours of imaginative play.