Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Utilizing Space Under a Staircase

Tips for Tuesday

When your house is small, space is at a premium. You want to utilize every nook and cranny for storage or living. One space that is often overlooked is under a staircase. If your stairs go down as well as up at the staircase, the space is already utilized by both sets of stairs. However, if you have a set of stairs going to an upper level, but no staircase going down, the space under your stairs is open.

There are many things you can do with this space, depending on the width, depth and your needs. Here are a few ideas.

• For shallow spaces, install bookcases. These can be either custom-made or pre-made that fit into the space. Since bookshelves only need to be 10"-12", this works well for a narrow staircase, or a wider staircase where you want to split the area into two uses. Adjustable shelves work best to accommodate different sized books.
• For wide and tall spaces, build in a small office. Wire the area for lighting, and build in a desk and shelves. This area works great for homework, bill-paying or a small computer nook.
• If the area is cool and dark, install shelving and use the space for food storage--canned goods, root vegetables, grains, etc. Keep grains sealed to keep out pests.
• In basements, the space under stairs is ideal for seasonal items or luggage--items you do not need to access often.
• Install hooks along one wall, and shallow shelves along the opposite wall to create a cleaning closet.
• Under wide staircases, install drawers for storage.
• Install open shelving for displaying art collections.
• Create a 'mudroom' with hooks for coats and a bench for shoe storage.
• If the area can be temperature controlled, install wine racks for your collection.

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