We all have that space in our house that we don’t even want to think about. You know the one. It’s a dumping ground for everything, it makes you sad every time you walk by it, and you really aren’t sure where to start with making it work better for you and your family.
For me, this space was my under the stairs storage area. It’s not quite tall enough for a grown person to stand up in, but plenty large enough to stack boxes and everything else that doesn’t have any other place to live. You can imagine how messy it got in there! I finally decided I couldn’t ignore it any longer and got to work.
First, I took everything out so I could see what I was dealing with and plan the space to my advantage. That is a satisfying job, let me tell you! Under the stairs storage areas are so awkward and difficult to use, so I wanted to make sure that my plan maximized this space as much as possible.
Then, I removed the interlocking foam mats that I was using as temporary flooring on the otherwise bare concrete floor. I had to prep the floor properly before putting in the new flooring. Because concrete is a porous substance, it can be difficult to cover and I knew that the flooring I chose wouldn’t stick to it very well unless I did an extra step. I put a layer of latex primer on top of it, which sealed it properly and solved that problem.
Adding Vinyl Peel & Stick Tile Flooring
Then it was time for the new flooring! I’m so excited about this! I chose peel and stick tiles in a gorgeous black and white checkerboard pattern for this under the stairs storage area. I chose these for a few reasons. First, I wanted something affordable. This is a low traffic area, so I didn’t want to spend a lot on the flooring.
I also chose a product that was easy to deal with for someone who is not a professional floor installer! This tile cut easily with an Exacto knife, so there were no power tools required and it was easy to go around posts and into corners and small spaces. I also didn’t need grout or any of the tools or skills that go along with that. I just started laying my pattern and cut as I needed to! It was so easy.
And lastly, I chose it because it was beautiful! Buying something affordable doesn’t mean it can’t be pretty too. I think the chalky, slightly distressed look of these tiles is just perfect and they make me smile every time I go into this under the stairs storage area. You can see the difference between my temporary flooring and these beautiful tiles right here!
Using vertical storage in this awkward under the stairs storage
I knew that my best chance to maximize this funny shaped under the stairs storage area was to store things vertically, and I love the Gladiator Premier Series for this purpose. I put up these GearWall panels, which are compatible with a whole bunch of shelves, hooks, and baskets. The products I used are:
This system allowed me to get everything up off the floor so I could store more in this space and also access it more easily.
How to Install the Gladiator System
Step 1- Cut the Gear Wall panels
The panels were easy to cut and customize to this storage space. I used my circular saw to cut the panels to the length of the walls. I chose to cover the entire wall to maximize storage, and have flexibility to move my hooks and baskets around
Step 2 – Install the Gear Wall Panels
- Find your studs with a stud finder. Make sure the studs are not more than 24″ apart. This will ensure the panels don’t fall off when you hang your heavy objects to it.
- Mark your stud line vertically
- The panels are installed from the bottom, upwards. You can get a buddy to help you, or place an object on the floor and then place your first panel on top of it. Make sure the first panel is level.
- Drill a pilot hole. Then, use an impact driver to install the panels. You can use these screws to install the panels, they are color matched to the panels
- Each subsequent panel is installed on top. The panels click together.
Step 3 – Organize your closet!
I used shelves, racks, and accessories. I love the Gladiator system because very single hook and shelf can be moved to a new spot. This is great as our kids get older and the needs of this closet change! I used baskets to store winter items, the shoe shelf for out of season shoes, and shelves for toy rotation. The hooks are great for hats, backpacks, or anything that hangs easily! I decided the best things to store here were those items I didn’t need to use every day, so it stays tidy because I don’t have to go into it that often. Check out exactly how it turned out right here!
Installing a coat rack
I have 3 kids and I have the challenge of storing all their out of season jackets and snowpants. Plus, I hand down these items between kids, so we have A LOT of extra winter gear. I used a curtain rod, flipped upside down to hang these jackets. I simply screwed it into the joists of the stairs. Isn’t that such a neat solution? That might be my favourite part!
The reveal: Under the stairs storage sanctuary!!
So there you go! Now you’ve seen how I turned this under the stairs storage, which was basically wasted space into a smart, organized under the stairs storage area. I no longer cringe when I walk past this closet door, and because I increased its capacity to hold things with all the vertical storage, I was actually able to clean out some other areas in my house and store it all in there! I love this new space and I’m so glad I finally decided to tackle it.
Have you turned an awkward area in your home into functional storage? Tag me @hanashappyhome with your before and after pics! Leave a comment below if you loved this space!