View Full Version : Under-the-Stairs Storage/Closet Design Help

Chris Padilla
03-04-2008, 11:01 AM
I'm not sure exactly where to post this thread but I'll start in here.

We have a "coat closet" of sorts under our stairs and I'm looking for ideas on how to best expand its capabilities. Right now it has a smallish shelf with a closet rod under running from wall to wall in typical fashion. Storage behind it is nice but you have to stoop, dig through the coats and what not to find what is back there.

Of course, you have the sloped "ceiling" to deal with which makes it all that much more fun, challenging, and interesting to design.

Post your pics and ideas and links you've found.

Sam Yerardi
03-04-2008, 11:20 AM

It's funny you mention this as I was reading an article last night in Fine Woodworking (I think it was either 112 or 113) and someone had sent in a novel idea for making use of the staircase for drawers. They turned each riser into a drawer frame and each step thus had its own drawer. You could still make use of the closet space under the stairs to some extent. Probably isn't what you're looking for. And of course there are the obvious safety issues. Just thought I'd mention it.

Chris Padilla
03-04-2008, 12:05 PM
Hi Sam,

Yep, some web crawling found those ideas but our steps are carpeted so drawers from that perspective won't fly but on the side of the stairs, absolutely.

You see, we have a flight of stairs, a landing, and another flight of stairs to the second floor. The first flight of stairs is available on one side for a drawer system under them. The second flight of stairs is where the closet is located under them.

The landing is open from my garage and I use this "cubby hole" for storage for my shop.

I'll have to get some pics posted here so y'all can see my stair situation as everyone's is different.

Randal Stevenson
03-04-2008, 1:17 PM
Since you have stairs next to stairs, what about some doors, with some pull out shelves? Think of those boxes people build in kitchen cabinets for trash cans and such.

Chris Padilla
03-05-2008, 11:41 AM
I attached some pictures of our stairwell/closet area to provide a better idea of what I am looking for.

That space on the side of the stairs is right next to the front door of my house. I'll put a drawer or maybe doors there (or both!) one day.

The last two shots are of the coat/storage closet which is under the upper flight of stairs.

For starters, I'm thinking to make it more of a walk-in kind of closet so that things can be accessed in the back. This means putting the closet rod perpendicular to what it is right now. I may wish to make the drawer I'm planning to put under the lower flight of stairs accessible from here, too.

Lottsa things to figure out! Oh, the floor of the closet is the access point for getting into the crawl space but I think I did a decent job of hiding it with the new floor I just installed. I just need to keep this in mind with whatever I do to the closet.

Prashun Patel
03-05-2008, 12:15 PM
Can you make a roll out cart for the bottom that has rods 2-deep?
You'll have to move the top rod up a little to make room, but this'd essentially give you 3 rows of storage.

Of course, the bottom rows will only be as wide as the door...

Or you could just make a rolling shelf that sits on the floor and can be pulled out twice a year.. At least you'd be able to tuck off season gear in the back.

Mike Langford
03-05-2008, 9:15 PM
:eek: Chris! Someone has stolen your base molding and casework.......:eek:

Back when I had the DIY network (before my cable company made it a premium digital channel :mad:) there was a program on there called "Wasted Spaces" where the host Karl Champley went to people's homes and found ways to make the most of their unused space.

Video #5 (Custom Staircase Storage) is the episode where he builds some drawers under a staircase.....might give you an ideal or two....


Randy Cohen
03-05-2008, 9:28 PM
can you access it somehow from what looks like a half bath? no matter what you do you still need a place to hang the coats.

Chris Padilla
03-06-2008, 10:49 AM

Yes, I'm working on getting the trim back up in this living room! This weekend, this weeknd it shall be completed or darn near close!! It has been a long road of remodeling in here and I'm ready for it to be done! Thanks for the pointers and I did find that program and associated links...I do have the DIY channel so I may start recording this program.


That half-bath and the closet surround the door that enters my garage but looking at the pics, I can understand how you came to that conclusion!

Sam Yerardi
03-06-2008, 10:59 AM

I was thinking of a pull-out when I looked down and read Shawn's suggestion. What I was going to suggest is to build a custom pull-out assembly that fills the entire space, like a corner pull-out in a kitchen cabinet. I envision it having a hanger bar across the top (coming out at right angles to the staricase), and drawers that pull out parallel to the staircase. That way you more easily make use of the depth of the space as the width of the drawers.

Chris Padilla
03-07-2008, 10:53 AM
Yeah, I'm thinking of some kind of pull-out, swing-out type of things for this closet. Lots to think about!! Keep the ideas coming.

James Mudler
03-07-2008, 2:42 PM

This weekend I am starting the exact project - With the exactly the same staircases, garage - layout. :eek:

I plan on making one big area 1st, then decide on the next step. I will be watching this thread.

Chris Padilla
03-07-2008, 2:50 PM

Cool! Let's put our heads together and come up with something nice.

First, what are your goals for storage? For my needs:

(1) coats, umbrellas, shoes

We need convenient storage of such items but it is possible that shoes can be stored in the drawer I want to place under the lower flight of stairs. I've been wondering if I should make the drawer also accessible from the closet but I think not right now.

(2) Next will be storage of things like the vacuum cleaner, family board games, and other miscellaneous items not used terribly often (hiking boots, rug shampooer, etc.)

I don't follow what you mean by make one big area first. Do you mean a full gut of your current closet? Post some pics!!


It would be nice to place a closet rod up high for my wife and high and have a smaller one down low for the kid but have it be adjustable so that over time, the lower one can move higher.