Under-stair storage is one of the most convenient spaces in your home. But fitting a storage unit under there can be tricky. We show you how to get it right with these IKEA hacks and ideas to turn that extra space into functional under stairs storage.
1. Use bookcases under the stairs
Sgantina wanted a wall of bookshelves under the stairs. They loved the minimal and simple look (and affordability) of the IKEA BILLY bookcase and so they adapted 5 units to the space. Using a circular saw, they cut the BILLY bookcases to fit, starting from left, mounting one unit at a time. Apart from the circular saw, they used a hammer, ruler, spirit level, wood screw, wood glue and wood plug to complete the shelves in the IKEA bookshelf. In the end the “best friend” was white caulk which was used to fix all imperfections and holes. All units are regular BILLY bookcases except the second one to the left cut to end where the floor step is.
2. Try stepped storage for size
The TROFAST staggered storage unit seems made for the design of a stairway. It fits comfortably under the stairs and can transform the unused space into plentiful storage.
If your under stair space is behind a closed door, use the TROFAST like the way Maastricht did. She transformed it into a triangle shaped trolley to fit the odd under stair space. She fastened four caster wheels on the underside and added a sturdy handle to roll it in and out of the closet for easy access from the side. It now offers lots of space for spare bulk products like wine, potatoes, toilet paper and pasta.
3. Place a bench with storage
@fraeulein.froehlich hacked a storage bench from the IKEA BESTÅ units in a style similar to her stairway. The effect is seamless and the entire space becomes a beautiful moment.
4. Build a built-in under stairs storage cabinet
Redditor Bobbymig maximized the space under the stairs with a DIY built-in, complete with reading nook and a space for the dog bed. He used the IKEA PLATSA frames as the starting point and built MDF panelling around them. Click to see the process of the build here.
5. Add drawers to the awkward space
Drawers are a great idea for the odd triangle shaped space under the stairs. IKEA kitchen cabinets provide you the flexibility to mix different lengths, width and heights to get the right combination to fit the sloped space. This IKEA hacker used 3 different METOD (SEKTION) kitchen cabinet frames, drawers and doors to turn the inaccessible under-stair space into functional convenient storage. See the under stair drawer hack.
6. Stack it with KALLAX
LEGO must have been the inspiration for Liesa in this under stair storage idea using IKEA KALLAX units. She took different size KALLAX units and stacked them under the stairs for both open and closed storage. The space remains open, light and airy. Worked out beautifully.
7. Make a daybed with storage
Jayne made the most out of the nook, changing the narrow space into a daybed reading nook. Her storage of choice was a KALLAX shelving unit to form the base of the seat as well as shoe storage. She topped it with bench cushion (readymade cushion here) to complete the daybed.
8. Use modular open shelving
Open shelving systems like the IKEA BOAXEL will fill out the space under the stairs nicely and affordably. Select a combination of shelves, rails and mesh baskets for customised storage, using different length of wall uprights to navigate the slope. You can even use a shelf to create a under stairs homework station like the image below.
9. An IKEA under stairs kitchen storage or bar
If your stairs is sited next to your kitchen or dining room, don’t let it get in the way. Plan up the space as part of your kitchen and build your cabinets and kitchen appliances under the stairs.
10. Make it a space for pets
The space below the stair is a perfect place for pets. Slot in a cat litter hack or enclose it as a puppy pen like how Jayne did.
Which of these IKEA under stairs storage ideas will you be using in your home? Let us know in the comments below.
How to build in IKEA KALLAX cube storage under the stairs
The under-stairs area in our house was an awkward cluttered cupboard, but had the potential to be a great storage area in the hallway if it could be repurposed with some clever IKEA hackery. The EXPEDIT looked ideal …
(The KALLAX can also be used for this IKEA hack.)
EXPEDIT/ KALLAX shelving unit (149 x 149 cm) shelf unit in high-gloss white
3 x EXPEDIT/ KALLAX insert doors, green
2 x shelf brackets
1 x large L-bracket
18 x small L-bracket (narrower than EXPEDIT/ KALLAX shelf-thickness)
44mm square section timber
Step 1: Design
I created a 3D model of our staircase and the full EXPEDIT shelf unit in SolidWorks, then modified both of them to work out where I should cut down the EXPEDIT, and get a feel for how the thing would look when done.
In hindsight it’s a fairly simple modification but creating a 3D model was a useful exercise to fully understand how things would work before attacking the EXPEDIT with a saw. It was quickly apparent that it would need substantial reinforcement after removing two of the four outer panels.
Step 2: Cutting down Expedit base
First I marked out the cut and scored the laminate surface with a sharp knife – then carefully cut with a panel saw.
Step 3: Assembling the first row
After fixing the base to the side panel I added three of the upright dividers, and also fixed in one of the door inserts to brace the corner. As a precaution I used wood-glue to fix the dowels in place.
Step 4: Add the first shelf
I inserted the dowels a little way through the shelf to locate it exactly against the upright, so it could be marked up before removing it to score then cut to length. Made a minor mistake here when fixing the shelf in place – I forgot to cut down the last upright dowels before inserting them, leaving them exposed and requiring cutting down later (much more fiddly) – lesson learned for the next row!
Step 5: Repeat for the next rows until you get to the top
I fixed the door inserts in place using cabinet connector fixings to provide extra rigidity.
Step 6: Add reinforcement shelf-brackets
Because the Expedit will be without two of the four structural outer panels it needs reinforcing. The missing upright can be partially replaced with a couple of shelf brackets. My design means this will be covered up when under the stairs, so I’m not too worried how this area looks.
As with a lot of IKEA furniture, the base panel isn’t solid – instead it is a honeycomb of cardboard with a thin outer structure. This means there is nothing solid to fix the shelf brackets in to. To remedy this I cut two lengths of 44mm timber to insert inside the base. 45mm would have been a perfect fit but 44mm was good enough, and readily available. I carefully cut away the cardboard honeycomb using a sharp knife and then a chisel when the knife wouldn’t reach, creating two slots for the wooden battens to slide into. The shelf brackets could then be fixed to the base and upright (being careful to use short screws on the upright thinner walled panel!).
Step 7: Add reinforcement L-brackets wherever possible
I added L-brackets to the back face of the Expedit wherever I could, taking care to drill pilot holes square to the back, to avoid screws puncturing the surface.
Step 8: Cut down spare panels to blank off back of cabinet
I marked up and cut the left-over small panels to fit in the back of the cabinet – for the triangular areas and those that don’t have a door insert. I then fixed them in place using a few more of the L-brackets.
Step 9: Cut and fit filler piece to upright panel
The upright panel wasn’t quite long enough to fill the void under the stairs, so I carefully cut the end off the other (unused) upright panel. This could then be attached in place, neatly filling the gap.
Step 10: The hack to the IKEA Expedit under stair storage is all done!
It is positioned under the stairs but not fixed in place, in case we need access to the cabling in the void behind it. Two jobs remain: panelling the areas to the left and right of the Expedit, then paint the staircase, but that can wait for another day…
See more of the under stairs EXPEDIT storage on my blog.