Don’t waste the space under your staircase.


Finding clever ways to use up previously unused space in your home is always a smart idea – and it’s never been more trendy than it is now, when so many spend more time at home than ever before.

One of the areas that homeowners and designers find creative uses for is the space under the stairs. Whether you choose to tackle this project yourself or enlist the help of a professional, “The space under the stairs is a hidden gem,” said Nicole White, president and chief designer of Nicole White Designs in Miami. From sleek storage and workstations to mud corners and ladies’ restrooms, this space has the potential to become a cozy and coveted corner of your home – especially if you keep the following in mind.

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Before you start

Don’t start swinging that sledgehammer just yet, warns White, who says you should never assume space exists. “There may be plumbing or electricity (systems under your stairs), so don’t just start breaking walls.” If you have a bathroom at the top of your stairs, chances are you have plumbing in that area – which can be a good thing if you want to turn the space into a powder room. You may be able to make use of that existing plumbing, but you need to start the demolition process with caution.

If your house has a staircase under your main staircase, you may not be able to do much with that space, says Ben Herzog, director at Ben Herzog Architect, PC, in Brooklyn, NY At least, not without some extra work. “If you can move or remove that lower staircase, there are plenty of options,” he says, although he recommends that you think long and hard before removing a lower staircase altogether in case you (or a potential buyer) need access has to your basement in the future.

Your first instinct may be to put a wardrobe in the room, but consider your family’s needs when deciding what works best, says White, who turns her under-the-stairs closet into a work space / coffee and tea maker. wine bar. “COVID taught us all to purify, so think about it,” she says. “Do you really need a cupboard there, or do you prefer a workplace now that you work from home?”

Once you factor in the structure of the stairs above and the ceiling below that structure, you may end up with a little less height than you might expect, Herzog says. But at the same time, you might be surprised at how little space you need for something like a powder room. “A pro tip is that you can easily find the toilet on the ‘low’ side under the stairs, as you only need about five feet of height for the wall behind the toilet,” he says.

White is also a big fan of adding a powder room, noting that it’s a solid investment if space and budget allow. “You will never lose value by adding a bathroom to your home,” she says.

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Make it your own

While hidden storage and powder rooms are popular choices – and generally beneficial when it comes to reselling – don’t limit yourself to what you’ve seen in magazines.

‘It’s your house. Do what you want to do. I would love to walk in and be surprised – not just how you use the space, but how you use it, ”says White. “I like to be dramatic in a small space, so if you like leopard print, leopard print on that wall. Place wallpaper, tiles, planks. If a stripper pole under the stairs would be fun for you, do it! “By using the space to reflect your interests, you can let your personality shine. Bring a record player and LPs to create a small music spot, make a small library station, and use materials and surfaces that appeal to you.

With proper planning – and perhaps a little professional help – this can make an interesting, intimate alcove for one person, Herzog says. “It doesn’t have to be a Harry Potter-style cell,” he adds. “A desk or a custom-made lounger, a reading corner or a playroom can use that space very neatly.”

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