Under stairs storage ideas – cupboards, drawers and racks that use the space effectively

These smart under stairs storage ideas will help you squeeze in some extra space for items that need tidying away by making use of an awkward under stairs area

Practical under stairs storage ideas can be difficult to nail down, not least because this slanted space is so awkward. Its limited head height and inability to accommodate standard-sized furniture often means that it remains neglected and under-used. But it doesn't need to be.

Perhaps you have an under stairs area that has zero storage. Or a space with badly-designed storage that just ends up cluttered and untidy. However, re-thinking your under stairs space could ensure that the entire ground floor becomes neater and more organised.

From bespoke built-ins or flat-pack options, to off-the-peg furniture and DIY shelving, our round-up of clever and affordable staircase ideas incorporating storage will soon have you sorted.

Under stairs storage ideas

1. Set up a colourful family storage hub

yellow peg wall with blue hanging hooks, underneath a blue staircase, with a blue bench seat and white storage baskets, and a skateboard leaning up against the wall

(Image credit: Future PLC/ Dominic Blackmore)

Make good use of an open under stair area by creating a wall of storage. Cover the back section of wall with pegboard, as shown in the wall panelling idea above, and paint it in a cheery shade. Then add a row of peg rails for hanging coats and jackets, slotting in a few single hooks here and there for keys or dog leads.

Give little ones somewhere to sit when they’re taking off shoes by slotting in a longline bench. Tuck a few baskets underneath labelled up for different family members so they can chuck bits and bobs in.

The use of bright colours here makes this an enticing spot, which should hopefully encourage everyone to use it! Learning how to paint a staircase is a simple yet effective way to enhance your home's entrance, and there are plenty of other ways to make your entrance hall pop with colour, too.

2. Access all areas

White corner shelves and coat hooks in under stairs storage area

(Image credit: Future PLC/ Colin Poole)

Leaving the space under the stairs open and not boxing it in with cupboards and doors allows access to the whole area so you can pack more storage into a tight space.

Short floating shelves fitted to the end wall give orderly storage for shoes and boots. Just arrange at different heights so you can slot them in. Add coat hooks on the adjoining wall at staggered heights for storing longer coats, jackets and scarves.

3. Slot in a storage bench

an under stairs seating area with a grey storage bench seat with dark blue, orange and grey cushions on top, set against a dark blue wall

Sussex shoe bench, £425

(Image credit: Cotswold Company)

Fitted storage is a permanent option and can work out pricey, so if you’re undecided, try an off-the-peg piece instead. A longline hallway bench with storage drawers or cubbies underneath will keep clutter hidden away and makes a cosy spot to sit tucked in under the stairs. Paint the wall behind a dark moody shade and add a row of plush cushions on top.

Buy now: Sussex shoe bench in storm grey, £425, Cotswold Company (opens in new tab)

4. Maximise space with pull-out storage drawers

three large pull out drawers underneath a white staircase, the drawers containing books, wine, bags and shoes

Single drawer unit, from £649 including installation

(Image credit: Clever Closet)

Use under stair space to its full potential by opting for a bespoke storage arrangement. Awkwardly-shaped end space tends to be inaccessible and often gets wasted. But this system uses every inch with clever angled cupboards and pull-out drawers that are a perfect fit.

Generously-sized drawers are great if you're looking for practical hallway shoe storage ideas, and they also work well at hiding bags and bulky items. While taller end cupboards give stowing space for coats, jackets or the ironing board and vacuum cleaner.

Single drawer units start from £649 including installation at Clever Closet (opens in new tab).

5. Invest in bespoke built-to-fit storage

grey under stairs storage cupboards, with a dining table next to them

(Image credit: John Lewis of Hungerford)

Solve the problem of an awkwardly-shaped under stair area by having storage custom-built to fit. In this white hallway, full-length cupboards look sleek and streamlined and will keep outerwear and other household clutter hidden away out of sight.

Although it can be costly, having storage custom-built means that the interior can be kitted out to suit specific storage needs, whether that’s rails and racks for clothing and shoes or shelves and cubbies for dining kit or kitchenware.

6. Try built-in coat cubbies

lilac walls and coat cubbies in under stairs storage area, with bench seat in front and wicker baskets underneath

(Image credit: Future PLC)

Easy-access cubbies offer a less-costly alternative to fully-fitted cupboards that can easily be put together by a handyman or carpenter.

Angled sections like the ones shown in the hallway storage idea above are built to fit the slant of the stairs and give different-sized coat cubbies for mum, dad and little ones. Add a couple of benches underneath for extra storage and seating space.

7. Do it yourself with modular storage

grey modular cubes in under stairs storage area, the grey stairs having no railings

(Image credit: Ikea)

For a super-affordable option that’s a doddle to put together, too, opt for modular cube storage to fill under stair space efficiently. Single cubes can be stacked in sections, going higher each time, to create a staggered effect.

A roll-out trolley is another great option. Fill it with everything you need for the kids' craft projects, cleaning materials or laundry equipment like the iron. Wheel it out when you need it, and hide it away in one swift movement when you're done.

Buy now: Kallax cube, £15, Ikea (opens in new tab)

8. Build in a cosy reading nook

grey painted cupboard and drawers in under stairs storage area, with colourful cushion on bench seat with a small dog sitting on top

(Image credit: Future PLC)

Combine under stair storage with a reading corner idea, so family members can tuck themselves away and snuggle up with a good book.

A longline cupboard at one end makes good use of height and gives somewhere to store coats or stash the vacuum cleaner. While large pull-out drawers at the bottom give lots of stowing space for books or bulky bits and pieces. Top with a cushioned pad so it’s comfy to sit on.

9. Slot in an under stairs office

green cupboards and drawers with chrome handles with a desk with a Apple computer and office products, and pink chair in under stairs office set up

(Image credit: Future PLC/ Tim Young)

Create work space with this clever under-the-stairs home office idea. Make use of the awkward angle by adapting a couple of flat-pack kitchen cabinets to fit. A tall larder unit at one end, combined with a short base unit at the other, give plenty of drawer and cupboard space for office kit and stationery. Finish off with a length of worktop to create a desk.

10. Arrange furniture by height

white desk and black bookshelf in under stairs storage and study area

Hemnes desk, £129

(Image credit: Ikea)

In this clever break-away study area, furniture has been placed to fill the space to the max. Storage for books and other essentials is created by slotting in a tall shelf against the end wall. Just make sure it’s narrow enough so that it doesn’t jut out.

A slimline desk or console table will tuck neatly under the stairs without getting in the way of people passing through. And finally, a basket for books and magazines fills the tightest of gaps nicely.

What's the best way to incorporate storage under the stairs?

Your budget will play a big part in finding the best way to add under stairs storage. But our ideal option would be to add built-in furniture.

'Incorporating fitted furniture under the stairs is a great way of maximising the space that you have and provides you with ample storage solutions,' says Neville Johnson's National Design Team Manager Mike Grenier.

'Not only will this fully utilise awkward alcoves and sloping roofs, but it can also provide you with an additional room in the home that may have previously seemed impossible.'

'Unusually shaped spaces like under stair areas are notoriously difficult to work with. But if you approach it right, there’s no reason why you can’t achieve a home office or library feature in a tricky area of your home.

'A small area in the home will often benefit from the use of less intrusive materials, allowing maximum impact from natural light and creating the illusion of more space.'

In other words, avoid statement colours and dark woods, and instead focus on pale timbers or furniture painted in white, pale grey or soft pink. Mirrored and glass furniture are also your friend here!

Lisa Fazzani
Lisa Fazzani

Lisa is a freelance journalist who has written about interiors for more than 25 years and has worked on all the major homes titles, primarily Ideal Home, but also including Homes & Gardens, Country Homes & Interiors, Style at Home, Livingetc, Woman & Home, Easy Gardens and Good Homes magazines. Homes and interiors have always been a passion and she never tires of nosying around gorgeous homes, whether on TV, online, in print or in person, as well as being a serial shopper/bargain hunter.