Friday, May 13, 2016


One of America's oldest cities, Baltimore is home to hundreds of homes and structures built prior to World War II. Included in that statistic is the home I live in my husband and 5 children.  Our home was built at a time when families had a lot less "stuff.

I've often found that adequate storage at home is a major issue for our modern day family. 

Many older homes are short on space. However, odd nooks and alcoves always seem to be in quite abundance in older homes. Since space is at a premium, utilizing all available storage space at home is a definite must.

So how does one make use of those often unused and typically referred to as "wasted" or "awkward" spaces at home? 

Recently, I received a question from a reader with that precise situation.  She lives in an older home and wants to know "what to do with the blank space under a stairway"?

Finding functional and creative storage solutions is key to making the most of the awkward spaces often found in older homes.

Here's my list of 8 things you can create to get the most out of your stairway space.  To maximize your use of the space, you can create:  

1. An Inviting Reading Nook

Using the space under a stairway as  a cozy reading nook is a wonderful use of an otherwise unused space.  Imagine a serene space, tucked away from all the activity in the house where you can steal a private moment or two, curl up with your favorite book or magazine, or even take a nap. 

2. A Set of Built-In Drawers

Enclosed storage under the steps allows frequently used items to remain within easy reach without cluttering the room or taking up visual space.  These drawers would be great for storing anything from shoes to extra blankets.

3. A Home Library

This library beneath the stairs becomes the focal point of the room with its staggered bookshelves.  It also makes for a great place to display favorite collection items.

4. A Pantry 

If your dining room is located near the stairway, creating a neatly tucked away pantry would be a great use for the space under the stairs.

5. Extra Shelving or Guest Coat Closet

A small closet under the stairs is great for guests to hang coats, store winter accessories and boots or for homes that don't have an entry closet.

The multi-functional space below features an area for hanging bags and jackets, shelving for books and niches for baskets to store smaller items.

This space even incorporates an upholstered storage bench.

6. A Mini Office

If you don't have an extra room in the house to claim as a dedicated work space, carve out a bit of space beneath the stairs.  This organized mini office features open shelving as well as hidden storage via drawers and cabinets.

The space under the stairway also make a great homework area for the kids.

7.  A Powder Room

I love the idea of tucking a powder room into the unused space beneath the stairs.  While adding this convenient feature would definitely require hiring a pro,  the return on your investment would make the project well worth the expense.

Whichever way you chose to update the unused space in your home, remember to integrate design solutions that match how you and your family live. 

As you can see, storage options under your stairway can be incorporated in many different ways.  In some of the examples I've shared, the unused space has actually become the focal area in the room!

Need help figuring out what to do with an awkward space in your home?  Let's chat! Email me here.

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