Stored under the stairs

Stored under the stairs

If Harry Potter could live under the stairs, why can’t some of your stuff at home? Susheela Srinivas explores some creative storage options

Additional storage space is essential in every house. Often, when attics are incorporated in the plan, they help in achieving this. Attics offer good storage options, but are unreachable without a high stool or ladder. Most of the times, we even forget about the items stored there. Some rooms appear crowded with attic spaces, especially the kitchen area.

Many houses — duplex or triplex types — have internal steps in the house. Some have them in the verandah space; whereas others have them in the garage. Though they are essential in homes, they occupy a lot of floor space and create dead space beneath them.

However, if you have staircases in and around the house and think of storing items in the space, the thought of it immediately transforms into a great idea. The numerous possibilities this space offers almost brings your attic to the floor level, extending the living area and keeping things reachable.

Wherever they may be, these wonderful storage ideas are sure to amaze you. They will inspire you to convert these spaces into functional workplaces, storage rooms and many more. Before implementing, though, identify the zone and plan accordingly.

External spaces

Many independent houses have stairs outside, in the garage area or garden, that usually lead to the terrace or to the living quarters in the top floor. These are often adjoining the garage wall or the compound wall. A good amount of space — nearly six to seven feet is available underneath.

Ensure there is a solid wall behind this area in either concrete or hardwood/metal before transforming them. Engage a carpenter to fix the appropriate fitments. You can use this space in many ways:

* Hang all the hardware tools neatly on a board to the wall. This way, they are handy and easy to locate.

* If you have kids using bicycles, then a great idea is to nail a few strong pegs at reachable height to hang their bicycles. This avoids the muddy trails and the garage or garden is freer.

* Install louvred shutters to the space below the stairs and convert it into a storage area for gardening tools like gloves, rakes, spades, hose and other garden essentials like plant manure, chemicals etc. This way, they get neatly stored and can be kept away from the reach of children.

* You could also stack and store your car cleaning equipment in these cupboards.

* This is an ideal place to store the extra gas cylinders. It also works well for a centralised gas system.

Internal areas

A staircase inside the house opens up a plethora of options to store and extend the functionality of the house. For houses with a split-level design, the number of staircase space is more.

Depending on the position of the stairs, convert the space underneath to suit the storage. Here are some ideas to get going:

* If you have a staircase leading to the living quarters from the ground level then consider converting it into a home-office. You will be amazed at how comfortable and utilitarian this can be. All it needs is a wide staircase. Even a corner under the stairs can come handy for this purpose.

This instantly transforms the area into a professional nook. This space can hold a table running the entire length with a comfortable area for the PC/laptop and other office requirements. The shelves below can hold your files and stationery.

* If the stairs offer sufficient width and depth underneath, then convert this place into a playarea for your children. Plan this as an open space with a doorway where toys can be stored.

This defined space helps in keeping the house neat and tidy — a difficult task with children of a young age. Tidying up has never been easier even as your children learn their first lessons in responsibility and organising.

* The cupboard is an excellent place to hide the UPS and the battery. Ensure the shutters have louvers or openings for ventilation.

* Other items that can be stored in this area are recyclable stuff, umbrellas and raincoats, helmets etc. One very popular idea is to install a coat hanger in one of the cupboards. Hang sweaters and coats to pegs or hangers ensuring they do not sag and lose shape.

* Of course, it is also a good idea to install shoe racks in the lowermost shelves. Let them be of a drawer or tilting type for easy access.Plan for a foot mat to leave dirty shoes here and your house remains sparkling clean.

* If near the kitchen, then the cupboard can double up as a pantry to store bags of grains and pulses. This space is so versatile that you can even plan for glass shutters to display crockery. Judiciously use pullouts, stainless steel racks and shelves to gain maximum accessibility.

* A stairway cupboard planned near a bedroom can hold extra blankets, cushions and pillows. In fact, with a little planning it can hold rolled up mattresses too
* Do you love reading books? Then this place is ideal for a mini library. Team up the space with a comfortable chair and a side console and it instantly transforms into a haven for the bookworms.

* If you happen to have a window below the stairs, then, fret not. Place a floor mattress with comfortable cushions. This adds an element of interest to your home. This instantly creates a niche for you to enjoy a hot cuppa or a favourite magazine. Else, indulge in a bit of needlework as you enjoy the view from the window.

* If you do not need a cupboard here, then just leave the space open and convert it into an indoor green patch. Place some indoor plants in brass/terracotta containers. Else, have an indoor creeper running along the wall and onto the railing of the stairs for that exquisite look.

So depending on the functionality required, unleash your creativity as you look around and plan the storage space. All it needs is a little imagination on your part.

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