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How To Build An Under Stairs Storage Unit

Picture this: Your under stairs space, an often overlooked space in your home, has the potential to be transformed into a functional and stylish area. With some creativity and careful planning, you can turn that awkward space beneath your staircase into a valuable addition to your living environment.

In this blog post, we'll dive deep into the world of under stairs storage solutions. We'll guide you through assessing available space and dimensions, identifying your storage needs and preferences, as well as choosing the right materials for constructing shelves or cabinets 🧰

We will also explore creative ideas like coat hooks and scarf racks installation techniques, designing compact desks with built-in drawers tailored specifically for that unique spot in your home.

Achieving a minimalist look is crucial when it comes to under stairs storage units; hence we will discuss selecting neutral color schemes along with incorporating hidden hinges or handles for seamless integration within any interior design style ✨

Ready to maximize the potential of every corner of your abode? Let's get started 🛠

Table Of Contents:

Planning Your Under Stairs Storage Unit

Before you start hammering away at your under stairs storage project, it's crucial to have a solid plan in place.

We've got some expert tips and ideas to help you design the perfect storage solution that fits your needs and space.


Keep reading as we guide you through choosing materials, building shelves, adding hooks or creating desks, achieving minimalist looks all while making sure everything is secure 👌

Choosing the Right Materials for Your Under Stairs Storage

To build a sturdy and durable under stairs storage unit, you'll need to select the right wood and hardware components. Rest assured, we have you covered 🤝

First up, wood options.

  • Plywood: A popular choice due to its affordability and strength. Check out this plywood bookshelf tutorial for inspiration.
  • MDF boards: Another budget-friendly option with a smooth surface that's perfect for painting. Learn more about MDF in this MDF vs plywood comparison guide.

Moving on to metal hardware components...

  • Metal brackets: These provide extra support for shelves or cabinets, ensuring they can hold all your items securely. 

In short, opt for either plywood or MDF boards when constructing your under stairs storage unit and don't forget those essential metal brackets for added support.


Under stairs wardrobe storage

How to Build Shelves 

Let's dive into the fun part constructing shelves for your under stairs storage unit.

You'll need to install supporting battens on the walls where your shelves will be placed. This not only provides stability but also helps distribute weight evenly across each shelf 👌

First, pry off the baseboard and remove the drywall, or skip this step if you already have that wedge-shaped space under the stairs freed up. 

  1. Measure and cut battens (small sections of plywood) according to the dimensions of your available space.
    • Attach two battens to the top of the opening, one on the front edge and one on the back edge of the underside of the stairs, using screws or nails.
  2. You’ll need to cut each end to an angle.
    • Use a speed square to measure the angle and a miter saw to cut the wood ✂
  3. Attach battens down both the left and right hand side, connecting to the newly fitted battens on the underside of the stairs.
    • This will need to be done for both the front and back of the recessed space. Write down the angle.
  4. If you’re using shelves low on the floor, you’ll want to use battens along the floor to support them.
    • Space pieces across to form supports for shelving and anything heavy that may sit on top. Ideally, no more than 23 inches apart.
  5. Once you’ve decided how many rows you want to use in your under-stair storage, you’ll need to add battens upright from the floor to the underside of the stairs.
    • These will need cutting at an angle at the end connecting to the stairs. This angle should be the same as the one previously used to cut the left and right upright pieces. Use a spirit level to ensure all uprights are level.
  6. With your uprights all secured, you can now add horizontal pieces for your display shelves.
    • Again, use a spirit level to make sure each piece is level. You can either use pre-cut wood planks or customize them based on desired height requirements, while ensuring even spacing between each level for building sturdy display shelves. 
  7. Depending on the finish you’re looking for, you can board the inner recesses with either MDF or contiboard.


Under stairs hooks

Creating Coat Hook and Scarf Racks

Let's walk through how you can create functional coat hooks and scarf racks in your under stairs storage unit. Simply line up a handful of your favorite hooks on a piece of wood, for a practical hook rack. You can place this under a shelf, to make the most of free wall space. For a minimalist look, opt for PULLMAN, or if you need something that can handle more weight, go for LEVI. Browse our full range of wall hooks to find the right hook for your under stairs project.

For a stylish scarf and bag rail, install our MONROE Towel Rail. With the help of our BRONTE S-Hooks, you can hook up your essentials to speed out the door with ease 🚪


Under stairs home office desk

Designing An Under Stairs Desk 

If you're looking to transform your under stairs storage into a functional home office, it's all about customizing the design for maximum efficiency and style 💅

Let us walk you through some essential steps, before you get DIY'ing:

  1. Determine the exact measurements of your available space – width, depth, and height are crucial factors here.
  2. Create a detailed plan or sketch based on those dimensions while keeping functionality at the forefront.
  3. Select appropriate materials like plywood or MDF boards for sturdiness (remember our discussion from Heading 2?).
  4. Gather necessary tools such as saws, drills, screws and brackets to bring your vision to life.

To create a small home office space, you'll have to simply install the shelf brackets onto the wall, and attach the desktop to the brackets. There you have it a floating desk under your stairs 🙌



Achieving A Minimalist Look for Your Under Stairs Storage

To create a subtle storage unit that blends seamlessly with your hall and entryway, it's all about embracing simplicity.

Here are some tips to help you achieve that minimalist look:

  • Selecting neutral color schemes: Opt for colors like white, gray or beige to maintain a clean and uncluttered appearance 🤍
  • Incorporating hidden hinges: Concealed hardware components can make all the difference in achieving a sleek design. 

Beyond these basic principles, consider using clean lines when designing your under stairs storage unit. This means avoiding overly ornate details or intricate patterns think modern and streamlined instead 😎

You might also want to explore options like floating shelves or sliding doors which further enhance the minimalist aesthetic while still providing ample storage space.

We've a range of minimalist hardware to help top off your under stairs storage. From the PLANE Pull to the FOLD Edge Pull, there's bound to be something that suits your build 🌟


Under the stairs storage ideas

FAQs in Relation to Under Stairs Storage

What Is Under Stairs Storage Called?

Under stairs storage is often referred to as "understairs" or "under-staircase" storage. These spaces are designed to utilize the otherwise wasted area beneath staircases by creating functional and efficient solutions for storing items such as books, shoes, coats, or decorative pieces 👕

What Is the NFPA Code for Storage Under Stairs?

The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) code 101 - Life Safety Code states that enclosed usable space created underneath interior exit stairways must be protected with fire-resistant construction materials equivalent to those used in constructing the exit enclosure itself (Section 7.2.2). Consult local building codes for specific requirements in your area.

Let's get going 🧰

You have all the under stairs storage ideas and guidance you need to get you started. First, assess the awkward space beneath your stairs and choose the right materials. Consider the weight of the items you plan to store and the durability of the materials you select. For example, if you plan to store heavy items like books or tools, you may want to use sturdy wood or metal shelves.

Next, build shelves and cabinets that fit the space and your stair storage needs. You can also create coat hooks and scarf racks to keep your outerwear organized. If you need an at-home workspace, consider designing a desk.

To achieve a minimalist look, use neutral color schemes and hidden hardware components. This will give your under stairs storage a clean and modern feel 🌠

By following these tips, you'll be able to transform your under stairs area into an organized and functional storage unit. Whether you're a DIY'er, home renovator, or interior designer, share your project by tagging us at @plankhardware 📸