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Under the stairs

(39 Posts)
Doodledog Tue 14-Jul-20 21:43:09

My hallway is quite narrow (I live in a typical Victorian terrace), and I've long fancied the idea of knocking out the wall under the stairs to widen it, and getting rid of the

At present, there are 6329 coats and a million shoes in there, plus odd suitcases and other 'junk'. It seems like a waste of space, but that stuff needs to go somewhere, as even with a thorough declutter there will be a lot left. On the other hand, there's only my husband and me left in the house, so there should be somewhere to put it if I get rid of clutter from elsewhere.

I have been searching online for ideas, and there are some really nice looking built-in storage units on the market. They would hide the clutter, which would look better, but won't widen the space in the hall, which is what I really want to do. Also, as the hall is narrow, the sliding drawers that would open out into it wouldn't really work.

I am hoping (Covid restrictions permitting) to get the hall, stairs and landing decorated before Christmas, and get a new carpet fitted, so it's now or never for the understair area.

Has anyone had this done, and if so, what did you do? Any tips about what is likely to be useful and what you would do differently, please?

Lucca Tue 14-Jul-20 21:47:05

Be ruthless. Dispose of at least 3000 coats.

Calendargirl Tue 14-Jul-20 21:55:33

I agree with Lucca really.

They would hide the clutter

Get rid of the clutter and hopefully you won’t need the storage.

Doodledog Tue 14-Jul-20 22:00:54

It's less the storage than the space I want, really. I can move the things I want to keep (and yes, I do need a ruthless clear out!), but I could put some sort of units in there when I do.

In our last house we had an 'office' space under the stairs, but then we had two children at home and a desktop computer which needed to go somewhere, and the hall was a thoroughfare, so we could keep an eye on what they were doing on the PC. Nowadays we both have laptops, and it's more comfortable using them on our laps.

I also wondered about shallow shelving, but I'm trying to thin out the books which also threaten to overtake the house, and I don't want something else to keep tidy. Maybe I should try to adopt a minimalist approach, but it doesn't come naturally to me grin.

tanith Tue 14-Jul-20 22:14:28

In my house the previous owners had the wall taken down between the small living room and hall, had the stars made open as in no risers and removed the under stairs cupboard.
They built a very narrow cupboard and shelf unit under the stairs barely 15” wide to enclose the gas and electric meters could be used as a computer table although we use it as a book/ cd unit.
It’s incorporated the space into the living room and makes the under stairs space much more useful instead of a dark cupboard filled with ‘stuff’.
The probably explains it better than me

MawB Tue 14-Jul-20 22:40:04

No room- move over Hattie!

Evie64 Tue 14-Jul-20 22:54:07

Put the clutter you want to keep in your loft and go for what Tanith suggested. It looks fab.

Callistemon Tue 14-Jul-20 23:01:57

AKA The Glory Hole according to my DM.

Coats, a box of yarn, another of fabric, a pair of crutches, two boxes of LPs. Etc. Etc. Etc.
Only six dozen coats, there is no room for more.

A concrete lintel which is handy if you feel like banging your head.

I'd like to have the stairs turned round so that we could make better use of the space.

FarNorth Wed 15-Jul-20 00:01:20

If you want the hall to be not so narrow, I don't understand why you are thinking of putting storage in the space.

How about getting rid of the living room wall, as in tanith's pic, even if you don't change the stairs?

Txquiltz Wed 15-Jul-20 00:20:23

Maybe the first step would be ruthless clean out and give away to Oxfam or a similar place. Once that is done, then you will have a better idea of exactly what storage you need and want. It is so easy to put things back for "someday when I might need it". I read a post here that mentioned what your survivors would have to face when they have to do the clean out. That gave me a real boost to get more realistic in my situation.

Doodledog Wed 15-Jul-20 00:43:12

That does look good, tanith. It looks as though it has combined storage with creating a wider hall, which is the best of both worlds.

Coolgran65 Wed 15-Jul-20 04:20:30

Tanith, this is exactly what ours is. Wa!l removed to make a bigger room. However under the stairs is still boxed in.and the sofa is across it. There is actually nothing stored in there and only last week I mentioned doing this to dh. The seed is sown.. And now I will show him your pic.

Sparkling Wed 15-Jul-20 06:17:35

Why hang on to things you don't use, just be ruthless, the things like suitcases, you only need a couple, could go in a spare room or the loft. I plucked up the enthusiasm to get rid of anything I didn't love or was used, I do the one thing in one out now. I used to have things going back years that I never wore, its different if you use all those coats and shoes. Books I never reread, apart from reference books, then only rarely as everything is on I pad now. Good luck.

FindingNemo15 Wed 15-Jul-20 07:18:52

Now we live in a bungalow I do miss our 'Glory Hole'. Used to put the buggy, vacuum and ironing board under there and our DD played in it as a den when friends came round.

Doodledog Wed 15-Jul-20 08:02:32

I know I need to declutter, and am slowly doing so.

As I said. though, a good part of what I am hoping to do is to widen my narrow hall.

Anniebach Wed 15-Jul-20 08:15:15

I would love a house with a staircase, I couldn’t climb the stairs
but I would have an under the stairs

MerylStreep Wed 15-Jul-20 08:37:21

See if you can get the design programme Watch this space
( on bbc2) I think.
There were some amazing ideas for 'under the stairs.

Doodledog Wed 15-Jul-20 08:54:53

Oh, I would love to smile. I once saw a series where de-cluttering experts moved in and coerced the family to throw out huge amounts of 'stuff', and then architects/interior designers altered the house so that it worked most effectively for the family.

It looked so easy, but there was a lot of imagination and expertise behind the scenes. Some of the results were amazing though. Unfortunately, I dread to think how much it all cost, when the experts, labourers and decorators were all paid! My budget will run to a carpenter, carpet fitter and a decorator, and I may even have to stagger that.

Having said that, it would be very difficult to have TV cameras and crew in your house, deliberately exposing your untidy bits shock. They might migrate my 'glory holes' to the Hoarder Next Door series instead.

annep1 Wed 15-Jul-20 09:09:34

My daughtet and SiL had a house with the wall removed. When the children were in bed we had to be very quiet and tv turned low. I like the dividing wall.

MerylStreep Wed 15-Jul-20 09:17:27

It doesn't have to cost a fortune. If you see an idea you like, save it and then ask around for good carpenters. There are a lot of talented people out there who could copy the idea without charging you eye watering prices.
You should see the outside bar my OH made for my neighbour. Made from pallets ( we got those for free)

Witzend Wed 15-Jul-20 09:26:51

Unless you’ve got a nice handy utility room, or a suitable cupboard in a big kitchen, where do you put e.g. the vacuum cleaner, if you don’t have a cupboard under the stairs?
My dd has no cupboard under the stairs - absent when they bought the house. It does make the hall seem more spacious but she’d love the extra storage.

Talking of coats, after his health deteriorated, a friend of ours who was always buying clothes and all sorts of gadgets, once asked dh to go through with him all his coats and jackets that were hanging in a big hall cupboard, plus in a porch outside the back door.

There were over 40! Several had never even been worn, still had the labels attached. They were all in good condition.

He still kept about 20, but the charity shops benefitted from the rest.
After he died, his wife found multiples of all sorts of gadgets - e.g. half a dozen electric razors and blood pressure monitors. When I asked why he’d buy so many, she supposed that when he couldn’t find the first (the house was so stuffed) he’d just buy another, rinse and repeat.

Lucca Wed 15-Jul-20 09:32:07

My ex H. Used to buy stuff ....” I liked it so I bought two”... I was convinced he must have had another me somewhere....

MerylStreep Wed 15-Jul-20 09:50:15

I've been helping a neighbour sort out her 'stuff' over the past few weeks. Her husband died some time ago. We found 15 new unopened shirts.

That's not the worst I've known of. My friend cleared out her late mother in laws house. There were 135 skirts 😱 Nearly all the same. Those elasticated waist ones with the funny colours.

Callistemon Wed 15-Jul-20 09:50:47


Tanith, this is exactly what ours is. Wa!l removed to make a bigger room. However under the stairs is still boxed in.and the sofa is across it. There is actually nothing stored in there and only last week I mentioned doing this to dh. The seed is sown.. And now I will show him your pic.

there is actually nothing stored in there
shock I'm wondering how that is possible!

But, yes, I should get rid of a lot of stuff.

Judy54 Wed 15-Jul-20 14:18:35

Wow Doodledog 6329 coats and a million shoes (Imelda Marcos comes to mind) is this a typing error or do you really own that many coats and shoes? You would need to wear a different coat every day for the next 4/5 years to make use of them all. Definitely need to get rid of some before investing in a new storage system. My mind boggles that anyone would own that many clothes and shoes.