Categories: DIY Projects-Published On: April 1, 2024-

Creative purpose for space under the stairs

Creative purpose for space under the stairs

There are so many possibilities when it comes to the space under the stairs. You can stand upright in half of our space, and then you must crouch for the other half. This space originally held bins of home decor, but that got old very quickly because it seemed I always wanted something from the lower bins. It was such a pain. The space also holds some emergency food storage, our vacuum, mops, ironing board, keepsake bins, folding tables and chairs. Oh, and it was also a great place to store paint. The high and low temps in northwest Arkansas make it impossible to store paint in the attic or garage. So, the space was being used, but it’s never felt very organized or purposeful. I decided it would be a great space to use for an important family need, air drying clothes.

Our laundry room leads into the space under the stairs. We have a small laundry room and asked for pocket doors to make it easier to maneuver and more spacious, but our builder wouldn’t make that type of change (sigh). The laundry room cabinets hold cleaning supplies, humidifiers, and swimming stuff. There is no wall space or room for a clothing line or any other contraption to air dry our clothes. So, we added two retractable clothes lines in my husband’s closet, and I have a wall mounted fold-out clothes rack in my closet, but our teen daughter dries her clothes on all the dining chairs – it’s not optimal and you can guess who usually has to remove the clothes once they’re dry.

Hanging clothes on pretty much anything that stands still wasn’t a huge problem, but it wasn’t ideal. So, after some thought and a sketch, I came up with a way to organize our space under the stairs and add a drying station right off the laundry room – it’s very convenient. For this space, I knew that I wanted similar wall mounted drying racks like the one in my closet. The one in my closet only came in a length too long for under the stairs, so I found a model that would fit. I then used painter’s tape to mark where I wanted the racks and held clothes along the tape to see how much space I needed in between the racks. I also wanted the racks to be easily accessible and not crazy high or low. I determined that I could install two racks and there was room for a shelf above.

Actually, I also added a shelf along the bottom with enough clearance to store gallon paint cans on the floor. I do recognize that the bottom shelf is extra and not really necessary, but it hides the paint cans and could be used to hold extra laundry baskets if necessary. I stained the plywood shelves (instead of painting) because I wanted to add some warmth to the small space. I added edge banding to the front of the shelves for a finished look, but they’re very simple in design and the focus is definitely function.

I used what I had on hand to build these simple plywood shelves. I used 1x2s for the brackets and made them long enough to affix to studs. After measuring, marking, and making sure the 1×2 was level, I tacked it up with brad nails. I’m not strong enough to hold a board in place while predrilling and screwing it in all the while keeping it level. The brad nail hold worked perfectly for me. Our walls aren’t perfectly square, so I measured the width of the back of the shelf and where the front of the shelf would be to cut the shelf pieces of plywood. I just used a circular saw with my Kreg guide on top of a huge piece of insulation foam. The plywood is half an inch thick, but 3/4″ would have been ideal to prevent bowing over time. I’m storing half empty paint cans on the top shelf and it’s holding great – too much weight and we may have an issue.

After the shelves were installed, I followed the manufacturer’s instructions for installing the drying racks. I realized that my mops and dusters could be more easily stored, so I got this organizer from Amazon. I don’t usually love dark wood, but it’s great for my purposes. And instead of leaning the ironing board against the wall, I got an over-the-door hook for it.

You can check out my 1-minute video here.

This was a fun impromptu project for me. It added a ton of function for our family’s needs and it even sort of makes the laundry room feel bigger. The space under the stairs is organized and so much more functional now. There’s also still enough room in case our family needs to huddle in there during a small tornado scare. The funniest thing about this space makeover is how much my husband, Jeremy, talks about how great it is. He compliments my ‘pretty’ projects, but he really digs the ones that add function and purpose to our home, like the drop zone makeover. Anyway, thanks so much for checking out this post. I hope it inspires you to think of your small spaces in a new way and that there just may be a way to add more function to your daily tasks.

POSTED IN:  DIY Projects

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