Tips and Guides

Build A Home Office Under The Stairs

Make the most of every inch of space with these easy steps

Original Article: Issa Villar Photography: Gravity Home and Centsational Girl (Main Photos)

While it's safe to say that the space under the stairs is one of the most versatile areas at home, it can be a bit difficult to see its potential at first. How can you make use of such an area with its often low headroom, awkward angles, and cramped feel? Never doubt as with the right pieces and a good layout—this tiny area can be transformed into a storage center, a reading nook, or even as a home office! Don't just use it as a spot where you can leave and dump your essentials. Get started with the reminders below:

1. Make sure there's enough headroom for sitting, a space for a desk, and vertical space for shelves.

2. Place the desk parallel to the run of the staircase. Doing so ensures a streamlined look while making the most of every inch of space.

3. Check if there are power and lighting outlets. It's best to work with an electrician to ensure proper connections and to avoid accidents. If the area you're working with is too small, it might be best to park the home office idea for now and just use the space as a storage area with a cabinet or freestanding shelves.

4. Opt for a narrow desk to complete your space. If this area is near the living or dining area, make sure your chosen desk matches the other pieces of furniture. As an alternative, you can work with a built-in wooden plank that can serve as your work table. Paint it in a color that blends well with the rest of your interiors.

5. Depending on the area you're working with, invest in a comfortable chair. If the space allows, have a storage ottoman that you can keep under the table and a comfy option perfect for reading.

6. As with any other area at home, make sure you have sufficient lighting, too. Add overhead lighting under the landing and have a desk or floor lamp as well, just in case it's not enough.

7. Aside from working with wall-mounted shelves, it pays to have enough bins, baskets, and boxes where you can keep small essentials and other knickknacks. Since you're working in such a tight space, it's important to keep clutter at bay.

Don't need a home office? Maximize the space under the stairs with these options:

1. As a phone station: Simply place a chair and a small table so you can be comfortable while making or receiving calls. Turn it into a message center by having catchalls, mini baskets for bills, and a stationery set where you can jot down numbers and other notes.

2. As a reading nook: Invest in a daybed, install a ceiling fan, and prep some shelves with your favorite books for an instant cozy spot.

3. As a shoe storage: Get cabinets with doors and keep all your shoes inside. You can even keep your slippers there, too! If there's still enough space, place a chair where you can sit and change footwear comfortably.

Read the original article ("Down Under Office") in the April 2005 issue of Real Living Magazine. Download your digital copy of Real Living on the Real Living App. Log on to for more details.

PHOTOS: Gravity Home | Luxury On | Centsational Girl

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