8 Great Staircase Storage Ideas

Adding storage to your staircase can be a great way to maximize unused space in your home. Staircases often have awkward nooks and corners that can be difficult to utilize. However, with some clever storage solutions, you can transform your staircase into a functional and decorative feature. Here are 8 great ideas to help you get started.

Use Baskets Under The Stairs

Baskets are a simple way to add storage under a staircase. They come in a variety of shapes, sizes, colors and materials to suit your needs. Wicker baskets provide a natural look, while fabric baskets often match existing decor.

Place matching baskets underneath each step for a cohesive look. Use them to store items like shoes, accessories, toys, linens, or seasonal decor. The space under stairs tends to be dark, so open baskets work best for easy access. Install battery operated lights for better visibility if needed.

Baskets are inexpensive, lightweight, and easy to switch out. You can find them at most home goods and department stores. Opt for baskets with handles for easy transport up and down the stairs. Measure the space under each step beforehand to ensure proper fitting baskets.

Try Under Stair Drawers

Drawers built seamlessly into staircase risers are a brilliant way to add hidden storage. This method provides an organized way to neatly tuck items out of sight.

Custom drawers will maximize every inch of available space under the stairs. They can be sized to hold anything from shoes and bags to office supplies and linens. Consider your staircase dimensions and what you want to store when deciding on drawer size and configuration.

For a streamlined look, have drawers made front-facing or with narrow sides to fit tightly within the risers. Opt for soft-closing drawer slides and durable materials like wood or metal. Paint or finish drawers to match other staircase detailing for a cohesive look. Pulls should be recessed to maintain a sleek aesthetic.

Professional installation is recommended to properly build drawers into the staircase. This method may require reinforcing risers or altering steps depending on the home. But seamlessly integrated drawers provide discreet storage without sacrificing style.

Add A Built-In Bookcase

Turn that awkward under stair space into a built-in bookcase for a functional and aesthetically pleasing storage solution. This is perfect for holding books, decorative objects, collections, or media.

Measure carefully to determine what size bookcase will fit in the space. Account for any existing architectural details like railings or electrical. Freestanding bookcases can work, but built-ins make the most of the area.

Opt for shelving deep enough to accommodate desired items. If storing books, be sure shelves are tall enough to house them properly. Include doors on the cabinet for a polished look. Paint or finish the bookcase to blend with stairs and surrounding decor.

Proper lighting is key for utilizing a bookcase in this often dim space. Consider wiring interior lighting inside the cabinet if possible. Or place battery operated lights along the shelves. The right lighting makes stored items easily visible.

A staircase bookcase adds both storage and character to any home. It’s the perfect use for what would otherwise be wasted space!

Incorporate Drawers Into Risers

Another way to seamlessly integrate storage into stairs is by adding drawers into individual risers. This method provides designated storage spots within each step. It’s perfect for tucking away smaller items.

Carefully measure riser dimensions to determine drawer size possibilities. Opt for a few larger drawers or several small stacked drawers based on your needs. Include handles or knobs to open drawers easily. Soft-close slides prevent loud closing noises throughout the home.

Select durable drawer materials like wood that can be painted or stained to match your staircase. Install them securely into the risers, reinforcing the steps if needed. Consider adding lighting inside drawers to easily see contents.

Riser drawers are ideal for storing items you use frequently near the stairs. Use them for small cleaning supplies, first aid essentials, flashlights or other household items. Keeping necessities at your fingertips minimizes trips up and down the stairs.

Integrating storage directly into staircase risers is brilliant way to utilize the space while adding function and style. Just be sure drawers are installed properly for safety and aesthetic appeal.

Use An Under Stair Ladder Shelf

Ladder shelves mounted to the underside of a staircase are a unique storage option. This setup takes advantage of vertical wall space rather than the floor area. It’s perfect for narrower stairs without room underneath.

Measure the total width available to determine shelf dimensions. Shelves around 3-5 inches deep suit smaller items like decor, books or baskets. Deeper shelves can hold folded linens, media or utility boxes.

Look for sturdy metal or wooden ladder shelves that mount securely to stairs. Be sure they can handle the weight of whatever you intend to store without compromising safety. Include protective end caps so shelves don’t scratch walls.

Arrange ladder shelves going up or down the stairs based on your needs. Place them low for more easily accessible storage. Or mount them higher to be out of the way. Paint shelves the same color as the stairs for a cohesive look.

This unique storage approach is great for homes with minimal floor space under stairs. The skinny shelves tuck neatly against the angled underside of stairs without protruding. Yet they provide a place to tuck away extra items.

Build Cabinetry Under Stairs

For a built-in look, install custom cabinetry under your stairs. This approach completely conceals stored items behind closed doors for a polished feel. It also allows you to make the most of all the available space.

Carefully measure the entire area under the stairs to plan cabinet configurations. Design shelves, drawers, cabinets and organizational systems to suit your needs. Custom cabinetry finishes the space beautifully for a high-end look.

Incorporate features like pull-out shelves, hooks, adjustable shelving and other functional elements. Interior lighting allows you to see everything inside. Easy-access doors near the bottom prevent having to duck under low steps.

Durable cabinet materials like wood or metal withstand frequent use. Paint or stain cabinets in a neutral tone for a seamless look that blends with the stairs. Hardware should coordinate with other finishes in your home.

Though more expensive than premade options, custom stair cabinetry maximizes storage while adding style. It provides a polished way to hide clutter in what’s often a forgotten space.

Use Riser Shelving

Turn your staircase risers into shelving for display and storage. This transforms an empty vertical space into a functional one. Riser shelves are easy to access and can hold a variety of items.

Measure riser height and depth to determine optimal shelving dimensions. You can use readymade shelf inserts or build custom shelving to fit each riser. Make shelves removable if needed for easy cleaning behind.

Riser shelves work well open or enclosed by doors for different looks. Enclose shelves to hide clutter or display special decorative items. Opt for open shelves when storing books, photos and accessory displays.

Stagger shelves at different heights on alternating risers for a more dynamic look. Paint shelves and edging the same color as risers for a cohesive effect. Consider lighting to better showcase displayed items.

Riser shelving adds style and function to any staircase. Alternating open and closed shelving provides both display space and concealed storage. It maximizes the riser area that typically goes unused.

Add A Sliding Storage Drawer

Another innovative way to utilize the space under stairs is by installing a sliding storage drawer. These custom pull-out drawers maximize even narrow vertical spaces.

Measure under stair dimensions and doorway width to ensure an adequately sized drawer can slide in and out. Drawers ride on a tracking system that allows smooth access even in tight areas.

These drawers can be sized to hold anything from shoes, sports equipment and tools to cleaning supplies. Built-in dividers keep contents organized. Soft-close drawer slides operate quietly.

For safety, look for sturdy drawer construction that can bear heavy weight. And install a locking mechanism to prevent unintended opening. Match the drawer front to your staircase style.

Though installing a sliding drawer requires expertise, it provides hidden storage that’s easily accessible. This approach takes advantage of what is typically an unusable narrow area under stairs.

Incorporate Cabinets Into The Sides

Take advantage of awkward angled space beside staircases by installing storage cabinets. Custom built-in cabinets maximize available side walls for storage.

Consider cabinet depth carefully to avoid encroaching on the stairway. Opt for shallow shelves to hold smaller items or glassware securely. Include adjustable shelves and other organizational elements.

Finish side cabinets to blend seamlessly with stairs and surrounding trim. Paint, stain or match the material used on other stairway features. Use recessed hardware for a streamlined look.

Lighting installed inside and underneath cabinets creates visibility in this often shaded space. LED strip lighting illuminates interiors without excessive heat.

Built-in side cabinets provide discreet enclosed storage that doesn’t interrupt staircase flow. And they make use of the sloped walls which typically become wasted space.

8 Great Staircase Storage Frequently Asked Questions

Staircase storage can help maximize unused space in your home. But knowing the best options for your needs is key to success. Here are answers to some frequently asked questions about staircase storage ideas.

Is staircase storage safe?

Yes, staircase storage can be completely safe when designed and installed properly. The key factors are to use durable materials, reinforce steps as needed, and avoid overloading. Built-in cabinets or shelves attached securely to the staircase structure are safe options. Freestanding pieces must be stable and unable to tip when loaded. Items should be stored inside enclosed cabinets or securely placed on shelves. Never place loose items on open stairs. Also ensure drawers and doors open smoothly without blocking the stairway. Staircase storage installed correctly by professionals minimizes any safety hazards.

What are the best materials for staircase storage?

Durable wood, metal and plastic are good staircase storage materials. Wood can be painted or stained to match your décor. Metal wire storage units are lightweight yet sturdy. Plastic bins are affordable and come in many colors. Wicker baskets work forbreathable storage. The best materials are scratch resistant, easily cleaned, and able to handle the weight of your stored belongings without sagging or warping. Match your staircase aesthetics and storage needs to choose the ideal materials.

How much weight can staircase storage hold?

The weight staircase storage can handle varies based on the material used and quality of construction. Well-built wooden cabinets and shelving can safely hold 50+ pounds per square foot. Metal shelves and storage units typically bear 25+ pounds per square foot. Sturdy plastic bins hold up to 10 pounds each. Wire units are light storage options ideal for linens and accessories more than heavy items. Know the total weight of what you want to store. Then choose staircase storage fixtures rated for at least that much weight to be safe. Reinforce as needed during installation.

Does staircase storage add value?

Yes, the right staircase storage can add value by improving function and aesthetics. Built-in cabinets, drawers and shelving make the most of dead space in a sleek, integrated way. Attractive storage also makes staircases a design feature rather than an eyesore. Well-executed storage shows homeowners how to maximize awkward areas, which buyers appreciate. But cluttered freestanding units or unsightly DIY projects can detract from home value. Quality installation and materials ensure staircase storage adds rather than subtracts value.

How do you decorate staircase storage?

First coordinate staircase storage with your existing decor. Paint, finish or upholster units to match wood tones, metal finishes and fabrics in surrounding spaces. Then style utilitarian pieces like bookshelves attractively. Add artful objects like sculptures or trailing plants. Use baskets and bins to corral everyday items out of sight. Lighting illuminates display objects. Finally purge clutter and rotate seasonal items to keep stairs looking neat. Well-styled staircase storage looks pulled together, not cluttered.

What should you not store under stairs?

Avoid storing anything too large or heavy to retrieve easily. Bulky furniture can be challenging to remove. Overloading shelves or cabinets risks damage. Avoid flammable, combustible or hazardous items like chemicals, fuels and explosives. Damp, moist areas under stairs cause mold and mildew when storing fabrics or paper goods. Perishable foods also do not store well in these spots. It’s also smart to keep irreplaceable or cherished items in more accessible places. Use common sense when deciding what not to store under stairs.

Does staircase storage need ventilation?

Proper ventilation helps keep stored items dry and prevents musty odors in enclosed staircase areas. Allow space between shelving units or cabinets and walls for airflow. Install vent grates or slots if enclosed on all sides. If the area is climate controlled, cut vents into storage cabinets to allow circulation. Dehumidifiers help in damp climates. Avoid sealing off small spaces completely. Storing only non-porous items limits moisture issues. Getting creative with ventilation keeps staircase storage fresher.

How is open staircase storage secured?

Take precautions to secure open staircase storage for safety and aesthetics. Use heavy stable bases like stone, wood or metal to anchor furniture. Secure shelving and cabinets to the wall at multiple points. Consider anchoring freestanding units to a stud for stability. Install child safety gates to keep little ones away from open stairs. Choose storage furniture with straps or lids to corral contents. Avoid clutter that can spill over. Position items securely inside and you won’t have to worry about stabilizing open storage.

What are some small staircase storage ideas?

Small spaces under and around stairs can still be utilized cleverly. Use wall mounted ladder shelves for vertical storage. Install hooks or clips to hang items. Slide narrow boxes or baskets tightly under stairs. Built-in cubbies in risers hold small supplies. Use the stair tread edges to rest photos or decor. Look for thin shelving units to squeeze into tight spots. An over the door fabric organizer hangs on railings. A freestanding coat rack takes up little space. Get creative with multi-purpose furniture like a bench with built-in storage. Even small staircases have usable nooks and crannies.


Staircase storage provides a host of benefits beyond just adding space. This often underutilized area can become a functional and decorative asset with the right storage solutions. Make frequently used items more accessible by storing them near the stairs. Hidden storage keeps clutter out of sight for a tidy appearance. Display collections or decor in stylish ways. And custom built-ins allow you to maximize every inch of available space.

With innovative staircases storage options like drawers, shelving, cabinets and more, you can transform wasted areas into useful space. Built-ins tailored to your staircase configuration and storage needs provide an integrated look that adds beauty and value. The ideas here are just a starting point for unleashing the potential in the unique architecture of your staircase. Get creative, and that awkward, empty space under and around your stairs can become both beautiful and functional.