DIY Storage Drawers for Under the Stairs


Storage is key for those tight on space. Oftentimes, the most effective way to maximize what space you have is to build it yourself -- this ensures both functionality and an acceptable aesthetic. You can make the most of the area under your stairs by constructing your own sliding storage drawers. Whether you want to build just one multiple drawers, they will be tailored fit for your space.

Things You'll Need

  • 4-by-8 sheets of plywood, 2 sheets
  • Nail gun, optional
  • Hammer
  • Carpenter’s square
  • Pencil
  • Wood trim
  • 1 pair drawer sides
  • 1 package of 1/2 wood screws
  • Wood glue
  • 2 screw-on drawer pulls, one set per drawer
  • Tape measure
  • Level
  • Circular saw with a straight edge jig, optional
  • Reciprocating saw
  • Electric drill with 1/16 inch drill bit
  • Worktable
  • Plastic floor covering
  • Nail gun

Build the Drawer Box

  • Cut the plywood with a circular saw based on the desired dimensions of the front, back and sides of your drawers.

  • Glue and nail the sides first. The front and back must be glued and nailed between the sides. If you use finish nails instead of a nail gun, predrill holes to avoid splitting the plywood.

  • Measure the top and bottom dimensions needed for the drawer, then cut from the plywood.

  • Glue and then nail the drawer top and bottom pieces. Use a carpenter’s square to ensure the drawer box is square.

Assemble the Cradle

  • Cut the sides of the cradle to the same dimensions as the sides of your drawer. If you decide to stack more than one drawer, build one single cradle in which the drawers share the cradle sides and base.

  • Draw a horizontal screw line across the drawer sides at its center. Do the same for the cradle sides.

  • Take the drawer slides and pull them apart so you have the drawer member and cradle member.

  • Center the screw holes of the slides over the screw line and drill in place. Slip the slides of the cradle with the drawer, so that you have the cradle sides now attached to the sides of your drawer.

  • Flip the drawer upside down. Measure the dimensions needed for the cradle cover and base and cut the plywood accordingly.

  • Attach the cradle base and cover to the cradle sides with screws only. The drawer should now be self-contained within the cradle.

Wall Installation

  • Lay the plastic floor covering on the floor and carefully remove the drywall with a reciprocating saw according to the size of the cradle. Slide the cradle into the wall.

  • Cut the drawer face to width. But when you cut the length, ensure the drawer is flush with the outside of the cabinet -- leaving a ¼-inch gap between the neighboring faces or each drawer.

  • Use a nail gun to attach the drawer face to the the drawer body. Then, screw in the drawer pulls.

  • Attach wood trim to the border to hide the dry wall from where it was cut. Ensure that once the wood trim is nailed in place, it does not interfere with the pulling of the drawers.

Tips & Warnings

  • Do not attach the cradle base to the cradle sides with wood glue. The glue could drip and clog the sides, preventing the slides from working.

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  • Photo Credit Jupiterimages/Polka Dot/Getty Images
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