Brilliant Under-Stair Storage Ideas That Make the Most of a Small Space

under stairs storage ideas
25 Under-Stair Storage IdeasAimée Mazzenga

Instead of letting the dead space under a staircase go to waste, maximize storage and add style with these clever under-stair storage ideas. We've included everything from built-in bookshelves and a cozy reading nook, to a dry and wet bar that get creative with color and pattern. Spoiler alert: There's also a stunning hidden coat closet that injects instant character.

The key is evaluating your space and how you live in it. If your staircase is located in a small entryway and you're always tripping over piles of shoes, try a storage solution as simple as wicker baskets or as involved as DIY built-in drawers. If a stunning staircase opens into the living room, go for floating shelves stacked with decor or a built-in bench for extra seating. On the other hand, if you work from home and need a designated work station, we've found pretty and practical under-stair home offices.

So whether you're working with minimal square footage and a tight budget, or you're planning a full-scale renovation to increase your home's value, take inspiration from these creative under-stair storage ideas that merge style and function. And if you're a renter, there are plenty of non-permanent storage solutions that put a small space to good use (think repurposing old furniture, like a dresser or table).

Build a Dry Bar

Here's a fun way to add function to the space under your stairs. Consider building a dry bar that provides valuable storage and a surface for preparing drinks. Unlike a wet bar, a dry bar doesn't require any plumbing, which makes it more cost-effective. It's also a great opportunity to add a splash of color and pattern through a pretty wall tile as designer Christina Kim does here.

beverage station under the stairs
Raquel Langworthy; designed by Christina Kim Interior Design.

Mount a Floating Cabinet

Make the most of a small entryway by mounting a floating cabinet on the wall under the stairs. It keeps the space open and creates a handy drop zone for everyday essentials like keys and sunglasses. Style the cabinet surface with a couple of decorative accessories and hang a mirror to elongate the wall, bounce light around and complete the vignette.

Get the tutorial at A Beautiful Mess »

a white hallway with a mirror and a floating wood shelf
A Beautiful Mess

Create a Cozy Nook

Take inspiration from designer Emily Henderson and turn the empty space under a staircase into a plush nook for your kids. Make it extra comfy with a fluffy sheepskin rug and textured throw pillows, then add a magical touch with twinkle lights. Install curtains with tiebacks so the nook can double as a fun hiding spot!

white staircase with blue rug and white fur stockings
Emily Henderson; Sarah Ligorria-Tramp

Install Built-In Bookshelves

Install built-in bookshelves under stairs to maximize storage, just as Annie Obermann of Forge & Bow does in this modern interior. These shelves merge style with function, while providing space to display decorative and personal items. If you already have built-in shelves in the room, continue the same paint color onto the under-stair shelves and the stairs themselves for visual continuity.

bookcases next to staircase in home designed by annie obermann of forge bow
Arris Photography

Add Double the Function

Install a built-in bench, then use wicker baskets to corral shoes and seasonal accessories (which also happens to be a trendy way to incorporate a natural, textured element). Take note from White Sands Design/Build by topping the bench with a plush seat cushion for comfort and a decorative pillow or two for a pop of color and contrast.

RELATED: 25 Charming Entryway Ideas to Leave a Lasting Impression

a white staircase with a built in storage bench with baskets and pillow
White Sands Design & Build

Repurpose a Dresser

A dresser is the perfect piece of furniture for under-stair storage. Its multiple drawers give you plenty of hidden storage space and automatically provide a way to separate items into categories. Collected Interiors styles this statement-making dresser with a cool table lamp and layered picture frames that add height and visual interest while maintaining a neutral color scheme.

RELATED: 10 Best Dressers for Your Bedroom (Big or Small)

staircase ideas dresser
Nicole Dianne

Turn a Staircase Wall Into a Home Office

Turn the wall under the stairs into a pretty and practical home office. This modern WFH nook by designer Lindi Vanderschaaf seamlessly blends in with the rest of the space. The trick? Vanderschaaf opts for a neutral color scheme, a dark-stained wood worktop and shelves that match the staircase, plus white cabinets that echo the bright wall color.

RELATED: 40 Best Desk Organization Ideas to Maximize Productivity

home office ideas
Courtesy of Chatbooks

Store Cookbooks

Designer Tina Ramchandani took the dead space under the stairs in this modern kitchen and converted it into practical shelves to store cookbooks. The wood shelves warm up the modern white kitchen and keep the large cookbook collection visible and easy to access.

a kitchen with white cabinets and bookshelves under stairs
Tina Ramchandani Creative, Photo by Jacob Snavely Photography

Display a Wine Collection

For a stylish twist on under-stair storage, create a custom wine rack that adds an unexpected design feature to a staircase. Laura Brophy Interiors turned this contemporary-style staircase into a unique way to store and display a wine collection.

a staircase with a wine rack
Laura Brophy Interiors

Build a Powder Room

If space and budget allow, build a powder room under the stairs. It's a practical addition to an entryway and an excellent way to increase your home's value. Take cues from Stephanie Hoey Interiors and use a bold wallpaper in the powder room for a striking design statement.

entryway with staircase and powder room under the stairs
Stephanie Hoey Interiors, Photo by Ale Santana

Increase Closet Space

This wall of custom built-in closets designed by Marie Flanigan Interiors maximizes the space under the stairs and proves that a utilitarian room feature like a closet can look ultra-stylish. Use a mix of shelves and hanging rails inside to create versatile storage options, keeping items you reach for most frequently easily accessible and reserving higher shelves for seasonal pieces.

built in storage closets under stairs
Marie Flanagan Interiors, Photo by Julie Soefer

Create a Hidden Door

Add an element of surprise with a hidden door under the stairs that leads to a storage room, pantry or closet. It's an unexpected way to add character to your home and maintain a seamless wall design. Take inspiration from Ashley Montgomery Design and install decorative wall paneling on the lower half of the wall and use the same paint color on the wall, paneling and trim for an immersive visual experience.

RELATED: 26 Modern Butler's Pantry Ideas That Are Worth Recreating

a staircase with pictures on the wall and a hidden door
Ashley Montgomery Design, Photo by Lauren Miller

Go With a Wet Bar

Take your entertaining game to the next level with an under-stair wet bar. To fully integrate it with the rest of the space, Blakely Interior Design echoed materials and colors used throughout the room in this wet bar design. The floating wood shelves are a nod to the staircase and ceiling beams, and the deep navy blue cabinet color matches the kitchen cabinets.

wet bar with blue cabinets and wood floating shelves under stairs
Blakely Interior Design, Photo by Greg Premru Photography

Build a Reading Nook

This reading nook designed by Bria Hammel Interiors is tucked away under the stairs and embraces the structure's rounded shape for an elegant effect. When installing under-stair shelves, make use of every nook and cranny, and extend them from the lowest wall point to the tallest. Not only does it maximize storage space, but it creates depth and dimension.

under stairs storage ideas
Aimée Mazzenga

Add a Hall Tree

Design a hall tree, like this one by Ellie Mroz Design, to gain versatile storage. Use the top shelf for storage baskets, mount hanging hooks to hold jackets, bags and dog leashes, plus incorporate a pull-out drawer to stash away clutter. A shiplap detail and trendy hardware tie it into the surrounding space.

built in hallway tree under stairs
Ellie Mroz Design and Michael Robert Construction, Photo by Laura Moss Photography

Design an Under-Stair Laundry Room

Instead of letting the area under the stairs in your basement go unused, turn it into a laundry room like The Handmade Home does. Hide appliances behind the stairs and elevate the space with beautiful decorative touches such as a patterned wallpaper, an unexpected ceiling color, unique furniture or playful wall art to merge form and function.

RELATED: 52 Laundry Room Ideas That Make the Most of a Small Space

laundry room under the stairs
THe Handmade Home

Choose Open Shelving

Open shelving under the stairs offers the benefit of easy access and doubles as a display surface. Jihan Spearman Spaces incorporates wood shelves of different sizes and at different heights under this sleek white staircase, creating depth and contrast. And if you're worried about under-stair open shelving looking messy, gather items in decorative baskets for a uniform look.

under staircase storage
Christopher Stark

Create a Mudroom

Recreate this clever idea from The Home I Create and convert an under-stair closet into a mudroom. Think vertical and maximize space by mounting shelves, baskets and hooks from the floor all the way up to the ceiling, and give your mudroom design personality with a colorful rug, textured stool and hanging wall mirror.

under stair closet with various storage solutions
The Home I Create

Assemble a Makeshift Entryway

If your home doesn't have a grand and spacious foyer, make the most of the small space by the front door, just as designer Ashley Gilbreath does here. A built-in bench with a pull-out drawer features fun textiles that brighten the space and a styled woven console table serves as a drop zone for mail, keys and other essentials.

sleep nook under stair well
Laurey Glenn

Pull Together a WFH Corner

Pull together a designated WFH corner under the stairs such as this compact space by Pretty in the Pines. A white desk and floating shelves seamlessly blend in with the wall to prevent the under-stair nook from looking cluttered. Plus, a small area rug helps define the space.

a desk and floating shelves under a staircase
Pretty in the Pines

Opt for Non-Permanent Storage

Whether you're a renter or want to avoid an extensive (and expensive!) home improvement project, skip the under-stair built-ins and opt for a non-permanent storage solution such as a cabinet or dresser. It adds storage while giving you the flexibility to switch the piece out as needed.

See more at Bless'er House »

a staircase with a mirror and a lamp on the side
Bless'er House

Liven It Up With Potted Plants

Store plants on a shelf or console table under the stairs for a space-saving way to fit more live greenery into your home. Emphasize the corner's function with a floral print wallpaper and stick to one style of planters to maintain a neat and uniform look.

Get the staircase tutorial at House That Lars Built »

a painting on a wallpapered wall and a blue console with potted plants under a staircase
The House That Lars Built

Organize Under-Stair Storage With Baskets

Baskets are your best friend when it comes to keeping open under-stair storage pieces such as a console table tidy. Use wicker or wire baskets to hold shoes and seasonal accessories, or designate one basket to each household member for a simple way to stay organized.

See more at Made in a Day »

a table with a basket and a painting on it
Made In A Day

Eliminate Shoe Piles With DIY Storage Drawers

Go the DIY route and install space-saving storage drawers under the stairs. This is the perfect solution for a tiny entryway that can't accommodate a bulky shoe rack, since the drawers are installed directly into the wall.

Get the tutorial at Lemon Thistle »

diy shoe storage shelves under stairs in entryway
Lemon Thistle

Corral Essentials in a Decorative Tray

Whether your under-stair storage consists of a console table or a cabinet, take inspiration from Studio Munroe and use a decorative tray to keep its surface clutter-free. Round up daily items inside a tray to keep them contained and always on hand.

staircase ideas striped carpet
Thomas Kuoh

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