Design ideas for under-stair areas


McClatchy-Tribune News Service

Everyone who has a stairway in their home might be interested in ideas of what to do with the space under the stairs. It’s part of the square footage of your home, so why not use it for something? Despite the shape, it is actually very usable space. Here are just a few ideas to make the best use of this awkward space in your home:

• Make a wall under the stairs with drawers. Instant storage. The drawers can be made to pull out vertically or horizontally, depending on how you want the storage facility to be. Or make a closet for extra storage under those stairs.

• If you prefer, don’t make a wall of drawers but instead create open shelving for books. People are always looking for a good place to put all those books that have been collected over the years, so this is one solution for that need. Or the shelves can be used to display knickknacks or your favorite collection. This idea can make a beautiful design statement for the room.

• The space under the stairs can serve as a little office with a tucked-in desk and some file drawers. If the wall space is long enough, two homework desk areas can be created by simply placing a small wall in the middle with a desk on each side. The wall can be an open etagere so books or supplies can be stored there.

• A daybed might fit, depending on the stairs. The daybed can serve as extra seating normally during the day with the added bonus of extra bed when needed.

• How about a wine cellar? OK, so you might not be able to control the temperature for the wine, but we can call it a wine storage area. Create diamond-shaped cubbies under the stairs and you'll have a great place to store and at the same time display your wine collection.

• A little television viewing area can be created under the stairs. Place a television on a stand or in a built-in custom wall unit under the stairs and then just add chairs across from it. This works well in small homes or apartments where space is limited and every inch counts.

• A little wet bar can also be made under the stairs complete with an under-counter refrigerator or ice maker depending on if the plumbing can be arranged.

• I’ve seen little drawers made of the steps themselves. Granted the drawers aren’t very deep but nevertheless, they do provide storage for countless small items.

Well, this gives you a start. Think of how you’d like that space under the stairs to serve you.

Rosemary Sadez Friedmann, an interior designer in Naples, Florida, is author of “Mystery of Color.” For design inquiries, write to Rosemary at

Read more Home & Garden stories from the Miami Herald

 <span class="cutline_leadin">COZY, CASUAL CHARM:</span> Downsizing from a larger home is an art, but you can still maintain a stylish space.


    The art of downsizing is well worth the effort

    My life changed the day I visited a friend who had downsized into a charming home on a little lake on the outskirts of Kansas City, Mo. I fell in love with the quiet community of small, unassuming homes built decades ago around a sleepy lake.

Neil Patrick Harris listed his home in the Sherman Oaks neighborhood of Los Angeles at $2.995 million.

    Hot Property: Los Angeles

    Country stars selling Malibu pad for $7.5 million

    Country music superstars Garth Brooks and Trisha Yearwood have put their place in Malibu up for sale at $7.5 million.

This impressive and rather rare vase was made in England by a company that was founded in 1820 to make utilitarian items out of stoneware.


    How old is this vase from my great-grandfather?

    Q: Attached are photos of a vase that once belonged to my great-grandfather. It is marked “Coulton, Burslem” and is decorated with painted poppies and a three-dimensional dragon. It is marked with an emblem with a crown on top and the number 1922. It is 221/2 inches tall. Would it be possible for you to tell me how old it is and the approximate value?

Miami Herald

Join the

The Miami Herald is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere on the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

The Miami Herald uses Facebook's commenting system. You need to log in with a Facebook account in order to comment. If you have questions about commenting with your Facebook account, click here.

Have a news tip? You can send it anonymously. Click here to send us your tip - or - consider joining the Public Insight Network and become a source for The Miami Herald and el Nuevo Herald.

Hide Comments

This affects comments on all stories.

Cancel OK

  • Marketplace

Today's Circulars

  • Quick Job Search

Enter Keyword(s) Enter City Select a State Select a Category