Under stairs ideas – 30 handy ways to make the most of your space

Want to uncover under stairs ideas? These super imaginative designs to maximize every inch of your entryway space

Under stairs ideas with shoe storage and wall hooks by IKEA
(Image credit: IKEA)

If you're anything like us, your wedge-shaped under the stairs ideas can only be described as an Armageddon of mismatched shoes, piles of plastic boxes and an ever-expanding collection of umbrellas... No, we're not spying on you, but if this does sound true, then it's time to make the most of that lost space.

The best staircase ideas usually come complete with under stairs storage elements covered. From practical and affordable shelving options to incredibly indulgent, temperature-controlled wine cellars, you'll never just chuck stuff under the stairs again.

Under stairs ideas that uncover unlimited opportunities

'Typically one of the first things we see when entering our homes, stairs can be the perfect place to create unique solutions that will help to maintain a pristine hallway and be sure to impress guests.', says Rachal Hutcheson, retail area sales manager at Sharps.

But while we often pay attention to things hallway ideas that we can instantly see, the saying goes: 'it's the inside that counts', so look beyond banisters and staircase runners because the beauty of your stairs runs much deeper... Inside the crevices of your stairs to be exact.

1. Create a space-efficient home office

Under the stairs teenage desk idea by Neville Johnson

(Image credit: Neville Johnson)

'For those looking to make the most of every inch of space in their home, the humble staircase is often an underutilized area,' says Hutcheson.

'If an additional workspace would be beneficial consider creating a dedicated desk area. Incorporating plenty of storage, drawers and shelving will keep files organized without needing to hide them away.'

'Accessorizing with a selection of personal trinkets, photos and plants will ensure the space remains stylish when not in use and most importantly doesn’t feel too corporate to be part of your home decor.'

2. Add a boot room style bench for brisk country walks

White boot root style space under the stairs

(Image credit: Humphrey Munson)

If you haven't been blessed with a big country home with a large space to create a dedicated boot room design, your dreams don't have to go down the drain!

This cute and contemporary farmhouse idea with a bench and coat hook idea is part of an under the stairs project by Humphey Munson. Lift up the seat to uncover lots of space to hide away footwear, sports equipment and anything else you'll want to grab before heading outside for some fresh air.

So whether your kids need to burn off some energy, or if the dog needs a walk, you can fill this bench-cum-storage-box with leads, treats and all sorts of other goodies.

3. Create a temperature-controlled wine cellar

Under the stairs wine storage by Tom Howley

(Image credit: Tom Howley)

'When we first met with the client on an under the stairs wine cellar project, her main goal was to store as many bottles as possible in an under-the-stair climate controlled wine cellar,' says Krisanna Sanders, licensed general contractor of Recast Homes in Portland, Oregon.

'An avid wine lover, she knew the importance of proper storage for her ever-expanding library of wines. With maximization in mind, I saw the opportunity to bump the space out beyond under the stairs to allow a “walk-in” room rather than just a closet. Doing this allowed more vertical storage and brought the total bottle count near 600,'

'I learned SO much on this project - especially about R-value (the insulating property of materials) and how it’s impacted with every decision. We had to make sure to get the highest R-value glass because I wasn’t willing to compromise that design element,'

'Making the room with the highest R-value materials possible was important to be able to properly regulate the temperature and humidity once the cooling system was installed - keeping that wine oh-so-fresh.'

4. Shoo away your untidy hallway with shoe storage

Under the stairs shoe and jacket storage by IKEA

(Image credit: IKEA)

Mules, flip-flops, sandals, sneakers and more. It's hardly surprising that our shoe collection can build up quite quickly... So when you're dealing with a flummox of family footwear, consider adding the best shoe storage ideas to the dead space under the stairs. 

Choose vertical solutions that slip onto the back of a door, with many affordable DIY options from IKEA  and the like to make those stairs work extra hard. Mounting hooks to hang your outerwear means there's no excuse for little ones dropping their coats on the floor as you can lower the hook for little hands to reach up high. 

If you really want to maximize your wall storage, consider mounting a door front on hinges and add some hooks for shoes. Place a mirror behind it for quick outfit checks before heading out to do your errands or go to special events.

5. File away flimsy papers and important documents

Under the stairs office organisation by IKEA with storage baskets, boxes etc.

(Image credit: IKEA)

'Perfectly sized storage items like baskets, trolleys and shelves can give you extra space for supplies and paperwork if you don’t have an office in your home, ' says Emma Parkinson, interior designer, IKEA.

'For a more seamless look, try keeping them all within the same color scheme.' 

This blue and grey hallway idea is certainly a calming combo whether you're trying to file taxes or a student trying to cram in that last bit of revision before an exam.

6. Create a storage idea centered around the kitchen

Under the stairs storage in kitchen

(Image credit: Roundhouse Design)

Designed for a project by architect Simon Whitehead, this under the stairs storage idea is centered around one of the family hubs of the home. If you're looking for ideas for kitchen decor, look no further than this sleek cabinet design.

Here, teens can help set the table, knowing where the crockery, cutlery and condiments are. Recreate your own version of this metro handpainted matt lacquer under stair storage unit by using Farrow & Ball's paint in shade Ammonite.

Though this hue is named after the fossils found along the coast, it's a trendy shade that creates a hushed and calming feel – perfect for chaotic dinner times!

7. Create a custom breakfast bar

Under the stairs breakfast storage space

(Image credit: Martin Moore)

Create a chic breakfast bar space that feels like you've woken up in a 5-star setup for a modern approach to your under stairs space.

Making an ideal spot where you can store bread, croissants and hot beverage items, ready to start the day right. And, if smoothies are your thing, you can close the door to muffle the noise of your fruity drink whizzing away, while other members of your family are still sleeping.

8. Build under stair storage closets 

De Rosee Sa Caithness House under stairs storage

(Image credit: De Rosee Sa/Alex James Photography)

Even modest sized homes have decent under stair storage space. Make the most of yours by putting in a central door to create a spacious small closet idea for large items (or lots of small ones); a door beneath the bottom steps for seldom used items; and use leftover space for a shelved-out niche, like the one below. 

This bespoke under stair storage closet is by De Rosee Sa Architects.

9. Squeeze in a downstairs cloakroom

Vernice Storm Tiles Walls and Floors

(Image credit: Walls and Floors)

A downstairs cloakroom idea is a great under stair storage idea, as it is a must-have for many potential house buyers, and a valuable asset in a family home, especially if you've got small children who've returned home from a long car journey.

If you're tight on space, it makes most sense to put the loo beneath the sloping ceiling, and to fit a sliding door rather than one that opens out into an already squeezed hallway. A corner sink is a space-efficient solution for hand-washing, as are floating shelves to hold liquid soap and hand lotion.

10. Keep everything to hand with open storage

Ikea Sortera system used an an under stairs storage idea

(Image credit: Ikea)

If you want to create an impression of space in a small hallway design, keeping the cavity under the stairs open is a good option. Then, it's just a case of fitting  shelves and investing in stackable storage to fill the space in a bespoke way. Choose a simple color scheme for the boxes to make the space look as neat as possible. Take inspiration from Ikea's clever de-cluttering with the Sortera range.

11. More shoe storage needed? Make it modular

Argos shoe rack used as under the stair storage idea

(Image credit: Argos)

The under stair area is just asking for shoe storage! After all, most staircases are usually close to the front door, so it makes sense to buy clever hallway shoe storage to keep the space neat. Modular storage means that you can keep building space for your new purchases... especially if they're on sale right?

12. Cool and compartmentalized looks

Large Shoe & Welly Box Unit used as an under stair storage idea

(Image credit: Cox and Cox)

If you like more of a rustic vibe in your hallway, a welly box needn't just be used for your Hunter boots. This shoe unit from Cox & Cox  has a combination of tall and short compartments means there’s room for wellies and knee-high boots as well as shoes. It makes the perfect hallway shoe storage idea.

13. Add a stylish sideboard under the stairs

hallway with stair case and storage solutions

(Image credit: Ikea)

Not all under stair storage ideas have to be fitted. If you can squeeze a freestanding side board under your stairs, then this will add a bit of extra storage, plus a surface area for you to decorate to your heart's content. The Ikea Hemnes side board/shoe cabinet, is a favorite among small hallway owners as it's super slimline being only 30cm deep, so it's sure to slide under most staircases. 

14. Create storage drawers under the stairs

Kelross Road Modern Staircase under stair storage

(Image credit: Lipton Plant Architects)

Who knew steps could become drawers? If you're really squeezed for space, this neat under stair storage idea utilises the space inside the staircase itself. Useful for storing shoes, paperwork, the dog's lead...

This sleek, contemporary stair design is by London's Lipton Plant Architects

15. A traditional and slightly hidden home office 

Neville Johnson bespoke under stair study as an under stair storage idea

(Image credit: Neville Johnson)

For those who like a bit of privacy when working from home, but do not have a separate study or home office, a bespoke under stair study space is a great under stair storage idea. But, contrary to the home workspaces you've already seen, these don't have to be modern and contemporary – especially if you've got a historic home and want to respect the existing architecture.

Although the space will be relatively small, the advantage is being able to design and style it exactly how you want it. Check out more small home office ideas for a ton of inspiration. 

16. Turn an under stairs cupboard into pantry storage

Pantry by John Lewis of Hungerford used as an under stair storage idea

(Image credit: John Lewis of Hungerford)

If your staircase is in your kitchen or dining area, why not design the under stair pantry storage to hold everything you need to hand, whether dinner tableware or table linens? If it's within the kitchen area, you could design the cupboard fronts to mimic those of your kitchen cabinets – ideal for making a small space look more streamlined.

John Lewis of Hungerford have a bespoke solution for an under stair space that’s next to the dining room.

17. Design a walk-in wine cabinet with lighting

Sorrells Wineracks Wine Room used as an under stair storage idea

(Image credit: Sorrells Wineracks)

Maybe your house has no basement for storage, or you simply don't fancy going down into a cellar every time you want to open a bottle? Why not pinch this under stair storage idea and utilise that space to create a beautiful, functional wine room? 

A real step up from the classic wine rack, you bougie wine buffs might like to create a climate-controlled space that's lit to show it off, too. Find out how to create a wine cellar in our guide.

This wine storage was created by Sorrells Wineracks

18. Store toys in under stair drawers

Clever Closet under stair storage idea

(Image credit: Clever Closet)

Toys scattered around the hallway can test even the most serene parent's patience, but large, pull-out storage drawers make for an ingenious toy storage solution for that awkward under stair space. Why stick to toys? Drawers are an ideal under stair storage idea for stashing shoes, gloves, hats, coats and even cleaning products.

These drawers are by Clever Closet.

19. Carve out an under stairs nook for a pet bed

Pet area by Create Perfect is an alternative under stair storage solution

(Image credit: Create Perfect)

Animals love a nook to steal some precious napping time in, and what better place for it than the cozy under stair space? You can buy and put a pet bed under the stairs, or go for a more streamlined solution - a bespoke under stair pet area. The one shown here is by the design studio Create Perfect. 

20. Bespoke and luxury looks

Under stairs storage idea, built in cupboards painted in Farrow & Ball Ammonite

(Image credit: Roundhouse Design. Photography by Billy Bolton)

Bespoke under stair storage ideas can help integrate all your sundry bits and pieces into a modern, clutter-free open-plan interior. This intricate example is by Roundhouse Design.

21. Fit a utility room under the stairs

Utility room fitted under the stairs is a great under stair storage idea

(Image credit: Inspired Kitchen Design)

Not everyone has the luxury of a utility room. But if you want to free up space in your kitchen, or simply move your washing machine somewhere more sound-proofed, why not create a mini laundry room beneath the stairs? 

This clever under stair storage idea by Inspired Kitchen Design tucks not one, but two washing machines under the stairs. More washing done, no space wasted! Get a full blown launderette setup going by swapping one out with a tumble dryer instead. Anyone else love picking lint out of the dryer?

22. No playroom? It can go under the stairs

CplusC Peas in a Pod Dulwich Hill under stair storage idea project

(Image credit: CplusC Architectural Workshop. Photograph by Jackie Chan.)

Children love a den to play in, so why not copy this under stair storage idea and create a playroom idea under the stairs? CplusC Architectural Workshop created this striking space as part of a bespoke residential project in Dulwich Hill, NSW, Australia. Not only is it perfect for kids to play in, but it also looks like a stunning modern sculpture.

23. Or DIY a play den under your stairs 

How to make a den

(Image credit: Dulux)

If you are after DIY under stair ideas, this is a really cute one. Just get creative with painting add fun patterns and plenty of color, as some cushions and pop a curtain in front and ta da, a den under the stairs, the kids will love it.

It'll also provide an alternative place to play in lieu of a kids room idea on the ground floor, so you and your fellow parents can keep an eye on the children while you're socializing in another living space.

Being a kid is tiring work, so by including a lightweight curtain, you can create a totally cozy spot to curl up with a favorite toy, book, or even to just take a nap. It might also be a hangover hideaway for adults, but we're yet to try that out!

24. Stretch space with mirrored under stair storage

Barbara Genda mirrored under stair storage idea

(Image credit: Barbara Genda)

A great under stair storage idea is to cleverly use cupboards to make the room feel bigger. All you have to do is swap plain, painted doors for mirrored doors that will not only make the room feel larger, but brighter, too. 

This beautiful design is by Barbara Genda. Use these mirror design and display ideas to make more of your space. Get ready for a night out downstairs, or if you're on the healthy bandwagon, use this as an impromptu gym studio style space for your home workouts.

25. Create a kitchen under the stairs

Bisca under stair kitchen

(Image credit: Bisca)

Like open-plan living, but don't have the space? With the help of clever bespoke design, the area under the stairs can be transformed into a fully fitted kitchen, complete with ample cupboard storage. 

In this bespoke under stair kitchen design by Bisca, the fitted cupboards effortlessly complete the open-plan look and connect the space to the dining/living area. So if you're wondering how to design a small kitchen - this is it!

26. Use under stairs as bike storage

Bike storage ideas can be tricky to find, especially if you don't want to banish your bike to the garden or the shed. So take inspiration from this inventive under stair storage idea and use the space to store your bikes. You can install wall-mounted storage such as The Endo to either keep your bikes against the wall or you could turn them into a bit of a design feature and fit them to the underneath of your stairs. 

27. Create a tranquil space for reading

Reading nook under the stairs in a traditional hallway

(Image credit: Colin Poole)

If you don't have room for a full on Dickens-esque study in your home, you could always turn under the stairs into a smart, but snug reading room

Just check out this idea from Period Living – pick out some lovely cozy wallpaper (tartan definitely works here), add a bureau and a small bookcase and you're sorted. Do be sure to account for the height of a chair at the highest point, and mind your head on the way out.

28. A lounging spot

grey scheme hallway by nest

(Image credit: Nest)

If you have the space and it feels open and light enough, add a really compact sofa (check out our pick of the best small sofas) or a comfy armchair, plus a nice reading light and there you go.

29. Install multi-functional shelves

Under stair shelf with hooks from John Lewis

(Image credit: John Lewis)

Don't have the room under your stairs for a built-in cloakroom? Or maybe a fitted design doesn't suit your style? Instead opt for a a nifty wall unit that will do everything a cloakroom can and only take up a fraction of the space.

We love this super pratical shelf from John Lewis. With three sections and nine hooks to move around as you wish, you can assign everyone their own module or go freestyle when it comes to hanging coats and keys, and use the shelf for those other curious bits and bobs that usually end up amassed on top of the hall radiator or slung on the stairs.

30. Use cute pegs for practicality

Under the stair storage using peg boards

(Image credit: Jeremy Philips)

We love this under stairs storage idea of using oversized pegs to hang stuff from, and build shelves onto. It's basically like a giant peg board, but your wall is the board.

You could recreate this look using spare pegboard pegs and drilling holes to stick them into or if that sounds too messy, just wall mount a pegboard to use as extra storage.

What can you do with the under stairs space?

'A great way to utilize the space under the stairs is to turn it into a boot room. We recommend installing bespoke joinery to create cupboards, shelving and draws which are made to measure and fit the space available, ' says Louise Wicksteed, design director for Sims Hilditch interior design.

'This not only utilizes a part of the home which might otherwise have been wasted, but allows smaller homes without a surplus of rooms to enjoy the benefit of a boot room too.'

While Rosie Axford, co-founder at Wicklewood adds: 'If like us your under-stair cupboard becomes an utter dumping ground, then invest in clever carpentry and add a draw wall transforms your under-stair cave into a horizontal shelving unit, which you access from the side of your stairs,'

'You can work with your carpenter to design the cupboard to your liking, whether it be a shoe rack, coat hooks or draws to store bags and blankets.'

What considerations do you need to make with a under the stairs space?

'If you're considering designing a home office under the staircase, then you’d need to make sure you’ve enough head height, and also enough space behind you for people to pass easily,' says Jane Powell, designer at Roundhouse Design.

'If it’s brooms storage or utility, then making sure you’ve enough depth and correct plumbing for the appliances. If it’s pantry storage, then making sure you’ve enough compartments for easy, quick access to your dry goods.'

'If depth of space allows, then tall pull-out mechanisms and drawers are great.  This allows much easier access for items that would normally get lost or stuck at the back of the cabinet. It’s not often a naturally well lit area so it’s important to incorporate lighting inside to allow ease of visibility inside the cabinets.'

Anna is a professional writer with many years of experience. She has a passion for contemporary home decor and gardening. She covers a range of topics, from practical advice to interior and garden design.