We'd caution against keeping your least favorite relative in yours but celebrate the idea of transforming it into something that's spectacular or useful or, in the best cases, both.
If you have under-stair space for conversion, here are a few cool ideas to get your DIY juices flowing.
Sure, some people have tossed the idea of books since converting to their Kindles and e-Readers, but to us (and lots of other people), tomes old and new are not only rich in fact and fantasy, they're lovely to display.
And where better than in a quirky space that shows off all the things you might find interesting, from woodcraft to witchcraft to fine wines. Shelves, cubbies and cubes can make for vertical and horizontal interest. And depending on the size of the space, you could even include some drawers for your beloved, but less beautiful, paperbacks.
You can also create a tiny library where you and your friends and family can take/leave those beach reads
2. Wine storage
And speaking of which, why take up valuable countertop real estate on your wine collection when you can display it both artfully and sensibly in the nook beneath your stairs?
Rustic crates and other options for the space can give it a Napa cellar feel and keep your kitchen clear of clutter while offering real organization for oenophiles.
3. Play area
It may be semi-permanent, but while your kids are small enough — make them the coolest private clubhouse ever by converting this space into a play haven.
Floor pillows, good lighting, bright colors and perhaps even magnetized boards for letters or a spray-on chalkboard finish can make this space a fun and inviting area that may even lessen the odds of Lego-related injuries for the grown-ups in the house
4. A place for pets
Animal crates are necessary for many pet owners, but they're always unsightly. Keep yours dismantled for travel needs only and convert that under-stair space into a decadent bedroom for your dog or cat.
You can wire it for lighting (or just use a tap light for ease and economy), cover the floor with carpet and a cushy bed and even install a beautifully finished pocket or latch door so that you'll have a good space for when you need Rover to remain in his “house" for a bit
5. Home office
Tight on space for work? Open this nook up to a narrow desk, ideal for laptop or flat-screen monitor, and create some shelving up top and/or drawers below for storage.
You can turn this useless zone into a haven for productivity, whether that means study, working from home or just online shopping. Just think of the space you'll save for not needing a desk and file cabinets!
6. Storm shelter
Depending on the features of your apartment, you may be concerned about the safest place to go during a tornado. If your home has no interior rooms to keep you clear of flying glass and debris, the space under the stairs is an ideal location to make one!
Stock it with your emergency kit, pillows and other items that could keep you safe in the event of a fast-approaching storm situation and head in if the weather gets rough.
7. Bicycle storage
No one really wants to keep their bike outside. Whether you're concerned with theft or the elements, it's simply not optimal. And storing yours on the balcony is no better when it comes to the effects of sun, rain or snow.
Opening up space beneath the stairs, however, gives you a cool and climate-controlled place to store one or two bikes without leaving them in your apartment's vestibule or hall. Overhead hooks made just for bicycles allow them to hang, like beautiful bats, when not in use.
8. Storage closet
Possibly the easiest conversion of all, expand your clothing and other storage options by creating a space for tall items (brooms, mops, beach umbrellas), things you want handy but out of sight (coats, jackets, vacuum cleaners) or items you don't use often but often take up valuable storage space (holiday decorations, camping equipment). Well-finished doors complete the look — you can even use the panels for extra family-photo space!
9. Indoor garden
Depending on how much light you have (or are willing to add), the space beneath your stairs could become the garden of your dreams! With good lighting, the cooks among you can enjoy the benefit of herbs such as lemongrass, parsley, chives and mint — all of which do well in indoor gardens.
Love flowers? Buy yourself a mister to ensure they get the humidity they need and cultivate gorgeous orchids for a serene, meditative space your guests will envy.
Alright, it's not precisely a zen garden, but not having to schlep your darks and lights to the laundry room is definitely cause for celebration. Stackable washer-dryer combos come in an array of sizes, and depending on the configuration of your stairs, could be a phenomenal way to use the space. Extra room could serve as shelving or drawer space for laundry accouterments from dryer sheets to ironing supplies.