Need More Space? Look Under the Stairs

Use that extra room under a stairway for extra storage, office space or a secret hideaway

By Becky Harris / Courtesy of

I remember visiting my great aunt's house every Thanksgiving when I was a little girl. My brother, cousins and I loved going there, mostly because she had a tiny closet underneath the stairs that we thought was the greatest secret fort ever. 

Space underneath the stairs is often wasted. This area can provide spaces ranging from recessed nooks to powder rooms, depending on your home's configuration. Whether you're planning on building a new home or trying to find a spot for storage, don't forget to think about the possibilities under the stairs.

This ingenious little powder room makes the most of this staircase.

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The latest in under-stair storage: Drawers that hide everything you need to store, like magazines, movies, games and toys.

I spy a coat closet for with a short door and recessed bookshelves. Did I mention that a short door makes it even cooler to kids?

Don't forget about borrowing space underneath the attic stairs. This nook even has a comfy built-in seat in front of it.

Bookcases like these make the most of what is often wasted space.

A space carved out of the stairway like this one is a throwback to a time when the household's one (rented) phone would be placed there, along with a telephone table and built-in bench for sitting and chatting. I remember my grandparents' early-1900s tudor had a telephone table and built-in bench in this very spot. 

Borrowing a little bit of space beyond the stairs gave this designer enough room for a home office.

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This is the ultimate fort, complete with kid-sized opening and porthole windows.

Another secret fort hidden by a curtain is bright pink inside.

This designer created the ultimate fort for for kids and adults, complete with comfy cushion, pillows a curtain for privacy and a reading light. This even works as a spot to tuck an extra guest when one has a full house.

This home has a barware cabinet and a microwave (not shown) recessed into this side of the staircase wall.

On the other side, a shelf for the homeowner's many books backs up to the barware cabinet.