5 Creative Ways to Use the Spare Space Under Your Staircase

HGTV Magazine has some clever ideas for turning untapped staircase space into a totally tempting little haven.

Photo By: Dustylu Photography

Photo By: Mary Marrero

Photo By: Joni Lay

Photo By: Rikki Snyder

Photo By: Eric Roth

Make a Cozy Reading Nook

When their grandkids aren’t sleeping here, Portland, Oregon, homeowners LauraLee and Bill Symes take turns lounging on the built-in bed with a book. “By including the bed in our house plans, we made the most of our spare room’s odd angles,” says LauraLee. There’s even storage beneath for extra linens. They amped up the warmth with a fringed rug from Rejuvenation and a vintage chair and stool.

Carve Out a Workstation

To chic up this niche — and inspire her kids to do their schoolwork — in her family’s home in the Netherlands, design influencer Mary Marrero painted the wall Hague Blue by Farrow & Ball. Then she slid in a desk and chair and hung prints, mostly from Ikea. “I’ve always seen gallery walls going up stairs,” says Mary. “Going beneath makes every inch count!” Bonus cool points for one frame propped up against the wall.

Build a Playroom

Blogger Joni Lay shares this Ellaville, Georgia, weekend house with her sister. “As our babies became toddlers, we needed an area for them to play that was within sight of the sofas but didn’t take over the living room,” she says. The corner under the stairs was totally open, and they swapped the buffet that had been there for bookshelves, toys and a chalkboard. The kid-size armchairs and circular table with bookshelves are from RH Baby & Child. Says Joni, “The kids love cozying up in here — and the grown-ups do too!”

Set Up a Bar

“This area, which is part of a large entertaining room in a house in North Haven, New York, used to be empty, so we had the idea to continue the bar cabinets from around the corner,” says designer Timothy Godbold. He maxed out wall space by varying the lengths of the reclaimed oak shelves, where bottles and glasses look fab shown off. Even the way they’re arranged (alternating bottles and glasses, plus a group on a tray) has style.

Create a Pet Zone

“If a house is short on storage, we add it wherever we can,” says designer Chloë Rideout. So when building an addition to this 1730s Ipswich, Massachusetts, home for a client, the team framed out an alcove for the family dogs, complete with a place for a bed and shelves for their basket of toys and an extra food bowl. (Happy pooch Dahli, an Australian cattle dog, is just visiting.) It’s finished with the same vertical wall paneling that’s on the stairs for a seamless look.

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