Harry Potter taught us more than just spells. Do you know that awkward bit of room underneath the stairs? That’s actually usable space. Okay, so we wouldn’t recommend turning the crevice into a teenage boy’s bedroom, but it can be a lot of other things: a kitchen pantry, a powder room, an office—the sky’s the limit.
Because its shape is so odd (this isn’t a spot that should be designed for people to stand up in), seating and storage work best. Designer Markham Roberts opted for a series of closets in his New York home, but you might not notice them at first, given the doors are lined in the same rough-sawn knotty pine that covers the walls—a clever optical illusion. Overlook this nook to more: Ahead, we rounded up six more ideas for cracking this space’s hidden potential.
The Family Room
Anne-Sophie Bost’s living area’s staircase has become a favorite hangout spot, thanks to her clever use of the space beneath it. The designer and photographer created a cozy built-in sofa to fit perfectly in the corner, as well as a custom bookcase stocked with her favorite architecture and art titles. The extra-long pendant light makes the unexpected couch placement look all the more thoughtful.
Add throw pillows to whatever room needs an extra dose of comfy. Filled with a fluffy faux down insert, you don’t have to sacrifice comfort for style. Available in four sizes and all measurements are made without pillow insert.<< More Throw Pillow Styles >>
One way to optimize a teeny footprint: Position high-traffic spots along the periphery of the room. By integrating the pantry into the staircase, Liz and Tim Elton’s architects were able to maintain a flow and save more essential upper and island cabinets for cookware. A skylight floods the passageway with a ton of light, and the white steel rails make it look like the structure is floating.
Take your seats. Our bar stools, made with durable steel and vegan leather, will breathe new life to any blah kitchen. Pull them up to a counter at your home bar or use them as a stylish alternative to dining room chairs.<< More Bar Stool Styles >>
The Laundry Nook
You don’t need a whole room just for your washer and dryer. Joanne and Luke Bartels squeezed their machines, along with storage for detergent and laundry baskets, in their under-the-stairs closet. The key is taking advantage of the tallest part of the incline. Bring in an electrician while you’re at it: Overhead lighting will make a world of difference.
Our outdoor floor cushions are the super comfy and style-forward option for the boho side of us all. They’re UV coated to protect against fading and water-resistant so you can avoid scrambling to bring them inside whenever there’s a touch of weather. Grab a few to have on hand whenever seating is hard to come by or for a fun option for kids to use out in the yard.<< More Outdoor Floor Cushion Styles >>
The Reading Corner
Rather than splurge on a sectional sofa for her basement, Kasey Hickey and her designer, Heidi Callier, ripped out the closet underneath her basement stairs and built a 38-inch-deep couch into the opening, keeping the spacious cabinet next to it. Despite having to keep a structural beam right above the nook, they added shelves and a wall sconce from the Schoolhouse to make the alcove feel extra-cozy for Hickey’s kiddos.
As experts in the field of sitting down, we thoughtfully crafted our Floor Pillows to be overstuffed, plush, and firm. These cushions never lose their shape, and the high-quality print makes sure the design stays crisp and colorful.<< More Floor Pillow Styles >>
You can apply this thinking to just about any sloped nook, including a ladder. Designer Frances Merrill added three shelves right below the structure, so whoever is sleeping up top can grab a few toys or a book as they are ascending.
You went for the duvet… you fancy, huh? Now it’s time to finish the job and dress it up with some premium design. Our natural fiber cotton duvet covers feature your favorite artist’s design on the front. The lightweight cotton offers a more breathable option to keep you cool in the summer and toasty in the winter. Plus, just like your favorite pair of jeans, our cotton bedding gets softer after each wash! Available in Twin, Twin XL, Full, Queen, and King sizes. Duvet inserts not included.<< More Duvet Cover Styles >>
The Game Zone
For less than $500, design-loving mom Monica Chavez transformed this previously unused nook into a kaleidoscopic play space for her 2-year-old son. The interactive pegboard installations are just sheets of plywood from the hardware store with lots of holes drilled into them (the pegs themselves are dowels cut to 3-inch pieces). It’s the perfect fit.
Our blackout window curtains are a denser alternative to your standard window curtain, blocking out most light and proudly featuring your favorite designs. Whether you live in a busy apartment or a peaceful neighborhood, it’s always nice to have the option to shut out the sun and relax inside by the candlelight. Available in either single or double panel options.<< More Blackout Curtains Styles >>