The small, triangular space underneath a staircase has been the focus of many childhood stories. A famous boy wizard slumbers silently within one; new worlds await discovery in another and monsters hide out in almost all others. In reality however, the area usually only holds cleaning supplies or worse, is a blank spot of wasted space.
Homes with stairs already provide extra square footage to live, sleep, play or store possessions. Another, lesser taken advantage of perk is to use the space underneath the stairs for extra and unique storage and living areas. Here are three of the most common types of ways to use the space underneath the stairs.
Adding a Bookshelf to a Staircase
Additional shelves are always welcome in a home, but bulky bookcases are not. Shelving set into the side of the staircase – recessed shelving – can instantly add interesting interior design detail while incorporating more space without the bulk.
There are several great online videos showing how to get professional results when recessing a bookshelf, but the first step is always to use a stud finder to find and mark the studs in the wall. Trace the studs onto the outside of the wall. Once the studs are marked, draw boxes the size of the recessed shelving onto the existing drywall, between studs. Putting the shelving in-between studs will ensure that the shelves can be drilled into the studs, making them safe and sturdy. Cut out the boxes with a handheld drywall saw.
Shelves can be made out of plywood pieces that have been screwed together into a box. Shelf pins are small, metal pins with a flat end that allows shelves to rest on it. Add rows of shelves, sand and paint before screwing securely into the wall. Trim is an easy way to cover the outside edges, just be sure to use the correct nail for a seamless finish.
Adding Shoe and Backpack Storage Underneath Stairs
Most staircases are closely located to the front door and most weekdays are hectic enough to make forgetting items on the way out the door to work, school or extra-curricular activities a common occurrence. Adding individual cubbies for each member of the family into the side of the stairs can help keep mornings more organized. Each member can place their morning essentials such as backpacks, gym shoes or keys in their specific space the night before.
The same method for adding shelves can be used to add individual storage spaces. Adding one large area, separated by vertical shelves is also possible but it’s important to determine if the wall is load bearing first before removing any studs.
Transforming a Stairway Closet into an Office
The dream of including a dedicated home office doesn’t always make it to reality when it comes to a home with limited bedrooms. Closets that are underneath a staircase can be re-imagined as an office by simply removing the door and adding a desk against the back wall. Alternatively, if the walls supporting the closet are not load bearing, the wall holding the door can be removed to create a small but open area, perfect for a corner desk, computer and wall shelves.
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