The space underneath the stairs is prime real estate for reuse, whether your home could use an additional storage area, a compact home office or even a pantry. Plan the use of the space based on the room in which the under-stairs space is visible; for instance, in a kitchen, use the space for kitchen-related items or shelved cookbooks; in a basement, the space may be a pantry or a craft station.
No matter how petite the space beneath the stairs, if it has room for shelves, it has room for bookshelves to turn the space into a miniature library. In a children's room or play area, even a space 4 feet high provides plenty of room to store favorite easy reading materials and keep them neatly off the floor when not in use. The lowest or floor-level shelf may contain storage tubs filled with building blocks or toy cars. In a living room with a large under-stairs space, the space becomes a single-wall library, housing all your favorite reading materials. If you don't have enough books to fill all the shelves, display coffee-table books facing forward for extra visual interest, or add a vase, decorative bookends or a framed family photo designed for desktop display.
Turn the under-stairs space into a small closet, if you have room to hang clothes. Install the closet rod high up across the open space: One end of the rod may be attached to the back of the stairs; the other to the wall. Add shelves or cube-style cubby holes to stash shoes, folded sweaters and pants. If the space is in a living area rather than near a bedroom, store board games, video-game consoles or spare table linens in the drawers. Disguise a door over the entire under-stairs opening so it looks like a wall for a completely hidden closet. Open the door or drawers by gripping the panels on the sides, rather than with an obvious handle in front.
From Homework to Home Office
If the space under the stairs is large enough to house a desk comfortably, use the space as a teenager's homework area or your own home office. For a small space, go compact: a narrow desk with computer monitor mounted to the back wall, the base tucked into a space on the side of the desk. A laptop computer offers another option, tucking away into a drawer when not in use. Add a gooseneck or adjustable light source, mounting it to a wall or under the stairs if desktop space is precious. For a larger under-stairs space, the desk can be a long table or a door set atop two short filing cabinets for additional storage space.
For space in a bedroom, basement or family play room, the space under the stairs may be used for a craft station or workshop suited to your interests. A craft workstation may include a wide, long table or desk with pegboard behind it for storing scissors, packages of beads or craft wire. For a small home workshop, storage cubes or racks house assorted power tools for carving or creating with wood, along with space for assorted adhesives, paints and scrap wood. An adjustable light attached to the table or wall shines light directly where it is needed.
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