8 Great Staircase Storage Ideas

Hallway with staircase storage
John Keeble / Getty Images

Finding enough storage space is an ongoing issue for many of us—especially if you are living in a tiny house or have a large family. Staircase storage is an ingenious space-making solution that makes you wonder why it’s not a standard home feature. While it might someday become a household staple, you don't have to wait—the following eight ideas will show you how to put the unused square footage under or around your stairs to good use.

Several of these ideas are simple DIY solutions; for others, you may need to supervise a contractor to create the storage feature you want, tailored to your space.

  • 01 of 08

    Floor-to-Ceiling Cabinets

    Floor to ceiling cabinets

    The triangular space beneath a staircase can be an ideal location for shelves or cabinets. Floor-to-ceiling storage options, such as this impressive staircase by French architecture company Schemaa, provide the most under-the-stairs storage. The cabinets and a single bottom drawer make the most of every inch of under-stair space.

    This kind of under-stairs storage feature can be an ideal place for a home library or pantry shelving. Such a space can even make for a space-efficient home office.

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  • 02 of 08

    DIY Box Steps

    Box steps
    DIY House Building

    Tom and Shaye, the tiny home enthusiasts behind DIY House Building, say that their teeny house, which they call Lucy, wouldn't feel spacious if it wasn't for their storage staircase. Using the DIY House Building instructions—which start with measuring and math—you can make your own storage staircase, too.

    The steps are really nothing more than wooden boxes fitted with cabinet doors and stacked to create steps to a loft space. Always make sure, though, to consult your local building inspection office to learn if a hand-rail or other safety features are required in order to comply with building code regulations.

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  • 03 of 08

    An Under-the-Stairs Kitchen

    a kitchen built into stairs
    Dalibor Hlavacek

    Under-the-staircase solutions aren't just about where you can shove out-of-use items, but rather about maximizing the space to make your home as functional as possible. This micro-loft in Prague utilizes the staircase to maximize kitchen space. Under the steps, you'll find cabinets and a few major appliances, such as a convection oven and wine refrigerator. Note the inclusion of open cubes for displaying a few decorative items.

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  • 04 of 08

    A DIY Reclaimed Crate Staircase

    Crates turned into a staircase
    Tiny House Giant Journey

    Guillaume Dutilh and Jenna Spesard, the traveling duo who write for Tiny House Giant Journey, created a staircase leading to the loft, using around a dozen vintage wood crates, which they reinforced with nails and screws. They added a secure handrail attached to the wall for safety.

    When using reclaimed materials to create stairs, check to make sure they are structurally sound, and reinforce joints where necessary. Make sure the crates are securely fastened together.

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  • 05 of 08

    Secret Steps

    Staircase leading to a hidden space
    Kitoko Studio

    This micro apartment in Paris, designed by Kitoko Studio, has a sliding bookcase staircase that leads to the loft bed. When the steps are not needed, they can be tucked inside the wall cabinet, which maximizes useful space in the apartment.

    A solution of this complexity might challenge most DIYers, but a skilled carpenter will have no problem creating this feature.

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  • 06 of 08

    Ship Ladder Steps

    Shelves built into a black staircase
    General Assembly

    A small NYC loft with double-height ceilings was transformed into a duplex, thanks to this ship ladder staircase. Not only did the steps create an additional level of living space, but they also provide the home with more storage. If you're never heard of ship ladder steps, here's the deal: Stairs with alternating treads (like this one) are widely used in ships because they take up less space than conventional staircases. 

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  • 07 of 08

    Suspended Steps With a Built-in Desk

    Suspended steps leading to a second floor with a desk built in
    Mieke Meijer

    This one-of-a-kind staircase requires you to step on its coordinating desk and shelves so they can climb the suspended stairs. If you're interested in creating a similar storage solution, double-check local building codes—this particular example was designed for a home in the Netherlands.

    Projects of this kind of complexity should not be attempted by most DIYers. Consult a skilled builder or architect to design a custom staircase based on this idea.

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  • 08 of 08

    Tiny House Stairs Loaded With Storage

    Tiny house stairs with storag
    Tiny House Listings

    This functional staircase, spotted on Tiny House Listings, features four different kinds of storage. Five risers conceal dresser drawers, while one reveals a small bookcase. The side of the staircase houses a clothing rack and a lower compartment for storage bins.

    You may be able to find this kind of stairway unit sold at retailers specializing in loft beds for children. More likely, though, you'll want to hire a carpenter to recreate the design in a manner appropriate to your space.