Houseworks: understairs storage

Space under the stairs could be the solution to keeping chaos at bay

There can be a surprising amount of space under a staircase. Photograph: Getty Images

If your hallway feels like it’s been repurposed as a dumping ground for coats, shoes, sports bags, scooters – and all the paraphernalia that goes with family life, the redundant space underneath the staircase may well hold the solution to sorting out the chaos.

Tony Quinn from Clever Closets in Kilkee, Co Clare, says: "I've yet to meet a staircase we can't transform with drawers and pull-out closets in the space underneath. They slot seamlessly into the wall and all the units are on push release, spring runners, so you don't have handles obstructing the hallway. Even staircases with loos underneath still have a few feet worth of unused space which can take three pretty big drawers that can store an incredible amount of stuff."

While sets of slide-out drawers are one of the most popular options for maximising the void under the stairwell, you can also have tallboy pull-out coat racks, shoe racks, bookshelves or laundry baskets installed too. The process is fairly straightforward – a fitter or carpenter will do a site visit and measure up space and discuss the best configuration for space – a mixture of deep drawers and tallboy pull-out coat racks is the most popular option, according to Quinn.

At this point, finishes are also chosen – they range from basic unfinished MDF to fully sprayed on the inside and outside with a paint colour of your choice. The fronts of the units can also be adapted to match the decor in your hall – options include flat-front, wood panelling, Shaker-style or shiplap finishes. If there are electrical boxes, heat pumps or old service boards under the stairwell, these will be worked into the plans too and be boxed around with a hatch of some form created for access through the drawer frame.


“Once we have the measurements, we then build the bespoke frame and its corresponding units back in the workshop. Typically, it takes three to four weeks and when we return we simply cut out any plasterwork or woodwork under the stairwell and literally slot in the new unit and tidy up any plaster or woodwork around the frame. We’re in and out in just a few hours,” says Quinn.

Clever Closets’ prices for units and fitting start from €650 for a basic three-drawer unfinished unit to €800 for a spray-painted three-drawer unit with wood trimmings.

Steve Byrnes from Complete Carpentry Service quotes on average of €550 for a two-door and €860 for a three-door pop-out drawer system.;