How to Add a Storage Closet Under Your Stairs

Photo of stairs in a home

Dear Mr. Handyman, I would like to make a storage area under our stairs that goes up to the second floor. At this time, it is a dead space. I am worried about finding a door that will work and cutting the opening for access. Can this be done without messing up the existing wall that covers the stairs?

Joanne H, Fairfield

Hi Joanne,

You have the right idea wanting to utilize the empty space under your stairway. It’s a great storage solution.

The first thing to do is decide where the best place for the door opening should be. The space will be about four feet by ten or twelve feet. A stud and partial plate the width of the opening will be removed and the opening braced with a header if it is needed. More 2 x 4’s will be added to the door frame and a door jamb made to fit the angle of the opening installed. The door will need to be altered to fit the angle of the opening.

There are several style doors on the market. The new door should match the doors that are in the house now.

Let’s say you have hollow-core doors. The first thing is to mark a cut line on the two sides of the door. We will use a clamped straight-edge and a razor-knife to cut through the 1/8th” panel material. This is done on both panel sides. Then the pine frame is carefully cut. A very fine-toothed back-saw can be used for this part. The hollow end needs to be filled now. Two pieces of ¾” pine glued to make 1 ½” thick works well. Cut this piece to the correct size and angle, apply glue, and then fit it into the hollow space and clamp. When the glue is dried, the sharp edges are removed with a small block-plane. The door is ready for mortising for the hinges and other hardware.

Once the door is hung, hardware, trim, and baseboards are installed. The last step is to prime and paint. Shelving can be added and maybe a piece of carpet. We would even help you move the things you wish to store in your new space.

Mr. Handyman technicians hold years of experience dealing with projects like this. If you feel unsure about being a do-it-yourself person, just give us a call and say “Help,” and help will be there just when you need it, “ON TIME.” You can also take comfort knowing that the work will be, “DONE RIGHT,” with 100 percent satisfaction guaranteed. Be sure to ask about our FREE “Home Maintenance Review” and have your house checked from top to bottom. Call us today!

Again, thanks for your interest and question to Mr. Handyman, have a great day.

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