How to get the most out of the space below the stairs

March 24, 2017 | By | Comments (0)

Whitten Architects, original photo on Houzz

by Nicole Jacobs, Houzz

The area at the bottom of the entryway staircase can be tricky to decorate — or even to put to any practical use. If you have plenty of square footage and money on hand, building a powder room, closet or office might make sense, as long as an adjoining basement staircase doesn’t block your plan. But you don’t have to do a full remodel — or even a renovation at all — to make good use of your plain old staircase space. If you’re not sure what to put there besides a coat hook or chair, here are ideas for making this area pretty and functional.

Built-in bench

A front-entrance staircase can be an ideal spot to install storage for shoes, hats and scarves. Build in a bench to create a convenient spot for sitting, saying goodbye to guests or getting the brood ready for school.

This built-in bench is in the main foyer of the house, just off the vestibule.

It contains drawers for storage, a cushion and stylish throw pillows for some warmth and color. While this option is lovely, a less costly stand-alone bench could provide the same pragmatic storage and aesthetic function.

Writing nook

Listen up, aspiring novelists: A writing nook really can go anywhere, and the staircase space is a great pick. All you need is a small table or desk, a chair and some task lighting. While such a nook is a perfect use of the front-hall staircase spot, be aware that it might end up serving as a catchall for things we use daily, like keys, receipts and notes from school. That could work out great for busy parents or those in need of a home command center, but would-be novelists might want to guard the space for writing alone.

An old-fashioned secretary’s desk is gorgeous and functional, with lots of drawers for storage and a fold-down writing surface. This option might help with keeping the foyer clutter-free.

Soucie Horner, Ltd., original photo on Houzz

Lounge about

Some entry halls are so grand they act as a room of their own. If you’re lucky enough to be in this situation, you might consider putting a sofa at the bottom of the stairs.

Here, the sofa provides some visual weight, grounding the large, white-painted space. It also offers an opportunity to decorate the area as its own room, introducing a color palette and decorative finishes. The blue of the sofa corresponds to the blue in the rug and on the stair runner. A few comfy pillows complete the look.

Graceful greenery

The advantages of keeping live plants in your home are legion, from improving air quality to brightening your mood. The varieties to choose from are endless, from fresh-cut flowers and greens to potted plants. Branches cut from a blossoming tree, as seen here, bring a lovely and affordable touch of spring to your home.

Hobbs’ Ink, LLC, original photo on Houzz

Martini time

If you enjoy a cocktail at the day’s end, the area beneath the stairs could be a good place to put your bar, particularly if your kitchen or dining room have no more real estate.

Related: See more design inspiration for your home bar

This one has been outfitted with a sink and wine fridge, making it fully functional for a household that enjoys entertaining. With cabinets, a counter and shelving, it’s like a mini kitchen. The silvery basketweave tile backsplash and sparkle of the sink and glassware communicate that any time can be party time.

Bistro table

In small spaces, a table and chairs below the stairs could be the perfect spot for enjoying a meal. If space is at a premium in your home, the stair spot can turn into a dinner joint.

Related: Find perfectly sized dining room sets

If eating at the bottom of the stairs isn’t for you, you might find a different use for a table and chairs there. Provide a ready place to play a board game. Puzzle lovers might also enjoy keeping their current obsession out. Designate your stair space for a particular objective and you’ll be more likely to find yourself using it.

Chris Snook, original photo on Houzz

Mirror mirror

Mirrors are magical things. They open up a room by providing visual depth and making it feel larger, they illuminate a space by reflecting light, and their beautiful frames can be pieces of art.

Need a spot to do your makeup? A mirror can be used to create a makeshift vanity in this space if there’s no room for one elsewhere.

Chest of drawers

Bureaus and sideboards aren’t restricted to the bedroom or dining room. They can work anywhere, including the stair spot.

Related: Finally! The difference between a sideboard, buffet, server, and credenza

Katie Rosenfeld Design, original photo on Houzz

All-in-one

If you don’t need or want the area beneath the stairs to function for anything else, why not stretch your decorator’s legs with a full styling of the space? Think about including some elements from the aforementioned suggestions — greenery, mirror, table, seat — into one glorious zone that’s all about style.

This photo is a beautiful example. The narrow hall table is styled with a lamp that balances the vase of fresh-cut blooms, books and other smaller items. The decorative orange mirror adds a shock of color and height. The upholstered stools add texture and pattern, and the stripe of the chair’s slipcover echoes the stripe of the stair runner.

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