In many historic homes, access to the basement is not located under the main staircase, leaving an empty, underutilized space. This is especially prevalent when the basement was built as or will be converted into a separate unit with its own exterior entrance. These spaces are also common in the basement as well, since they are the lowest level of the property. Modern designs, however, don’t tend to have this issue of “dead space,” but if your fixer-upper has the opportunity to use this area to add value to your property, we’re here to give you inspiration.

Below you’ll find 5 unique ways to turn the under-the-stairs small space into something you’ll love to show off, instead of just storing holiday decorations and boxes.

  • Create a Media Closet

 The tech-friendly mentality has become more and more of a standard in modern real estate. There’s a laundry list of conveniences and benefits of having a variety of electronic devices in the home, but many of these gadgets can be unsightly if they are simply left out in the open.

Utilizing the space under a staircase for a media closet allows potential buyers to rest assured that their surround-sound control unit, Wi-Fi hub, security control unit, and smart home hub all have an organized space in the home without adding to the clutter/exposing them to potential damage. As long as your electrician knows ahead of time to wire this area correctly for modern electronics, this space simply needs shelving and mounting areas for the buyer’s devices. You may also want to consider adding temperature control features like fans or connected vents for air conditioning, as many devices tend to heat up with use. 

  • A Wine Cellar

The space under the stairs can be a perfect place for a wine cellar but don’t think this has to be a large, “authentic” cellar. You can use the basic layout of a butler’s pantry, with storage for glasses above, and a wine cooler below and then individual bottle displays on each stair to showcase a vintage or collectors bottle. To really make your wine “cellar” stand out, you can add stonework or rustic wood to the walls and functional yet mellow lighting to truly give the space a cozy feel that any wine enthusiast will appreciate.

  • Sensory Deprivation or Meditation Rooms

Another creative way is to create a sensory-friendly space that provides isolation from the rest of the home. With the growing popularity of sensory deprivation as a form of introspection or meditation, creating a small space for this may appeal to a trendy buyer. This can also potentially be an escape for children with autism or SPD (sensory processing disorders) who need a break from everyday stimulation including lighting, smells and sounds.

Sound-proofing this space is easy, with materials readily available from vendors and generally simple installation methods. While sensory deprivation has plenty of trendy and functional benefits, this area can easily double as a simple prayer or meditation area, with the focus being on sound-proofing but not necessarily requiring the suppression of light, smells, etc.

  • Library/Book Shelves

Another simple and effective use of this space is to make it a small library. Here you can match the exact decor of your home and add to the overall aesthetics while saving space and storing your book collection. There’s a huge variety of space-saving shelving options available to maximize even the smallest of spaces under the staircase.

  • Coat Room

Coats take up a ton of space, especially if you’re having a party. Having an overcrowded closet by the front door or a coat rack that’s already full is not a welcoming site.  Your under-stairs empty space provides the optimal solution for storing jackets, hats, umbrellas and even suitcases for overnight guests after they unpack.

You can also take it to another level by customizing cubicles for each family member to store shoes, coats, umbrellas or whatever else they take on their daily trips – from purses to bookbags. This also keeps these items in one space – there will be no more wasted time searching for the purse or coat minutes before leaving the house.

Bonus Tip! 

  • Half Bathroom/Powder Room

This is an extremely popular and creative way to utilize wasted under-stair space. A powder room is simply a toilet and a sink to wash up. A downstairs powder room is a huge positive from a buyer’s perspective since the need for guests to enter the bedroom area of a home is eliminated. Many staircases won’t allow enough room for this space outright – at least without adding a few more square feet – but this is a huge plus for investors that can make it happen in their property.

This idea works especially well when the plumbing is already near and accessible, versus the expensive task of creating new plumbing to make a half bathroom possible.

The space under a staircase can be so much more than just drywall, yet so many properties don’t utilize this area to its fullest. With a little creativity, you can turn the space under a staircase into a major selling point for your investment property and it may even tilt the scales in your favor against a very predictable competitor when renovations are done and it’s for sale on the market.