Before & after: a mini $8 makeover for that awkward space under the stairs

After my dad passed away, my mom’s been left with this awkward space under the stairs in their house. Instead of leaving it empty or stuffing it with useless junk, I decided to give her a mini $250 makeover under the stairs so she could have a place to store some of her shoes and other items. Here’s how I did it—and how you can do something similar, too!

What we did

  1. We painted the walls white to brighten up the space and make it feel more open.
  2. We hung a few shelves on the wall to create some storage for books, games, and other items.
  3. We placed a small table and chair in the space so it could be used as a work or study area.
  4. We brought in a lamp to provide some lighting without taking up too much space.
  5. We placed a rug on the floor to add some color and pattern to the room.
  6. We styled the shelves with some cute decor items to give the space some personality.
  7. Finally, we hung curtains on the window to help keep out any unwanted light or noise.
  8. The before photo shows how the space looked before our update, and the after photo shows how it looks now! It’s a lot brighter and feels like there is more space than before. What do you think? Do you have an awkward space under your stairs that needs a little extra love? Check out this post about how we spruced up ours for only $250!

Worried about how to dress up an awkward space under the stairs? Check out this post by Avante-Garde Interiors detailing their inexpensive updates ($8 – $25)! You can read about their design choices, prices, and photos of what the updated space looks like! You might find something similar for your own home. Take a look at these five examples!

1.Lightweight partitions are one way to take advantage of the height of your stairwell while adding privacy and hiding clutter. They’re also easy to install, especially if you’ve already got things like furniture laying around your house.

2.If there isn’t much headroom in your stairwell, consider putting a taller shelf against the wall at the top step that can hold taller items (toys, books). These will then act as a border for shorter stuff below (action figures) so they don’t go tumbling down when you reach for them from above.

3.Installing tension rods across the ceiling joists (or installing hooks into those joists) can turn that awkward space into a good place to hang clothing. You may want to measure the width of your stairwell first so you know what size rod you’ll need. And remember not to hang anything heavier than 25 pounds per rod!

4.Install hooks on the underside of the stair treads for coats, purses, backpacks, etc. Hanging coats up on hangers does take up valuable floor space and often people forget where they put them until later in the day. Plus coats left on the ground often end up dirty due to feet traffic coming through your house all day long.

5.Consider using a ladder instead of shelving units if you’ve got lots of tall objects that would otherwise block visibility past the top step; installing shelving units also adds weight to a small area which increases stress on carpets and floors throughout your entire staircase.

The cost

Assuming you have some sort of foundation or base to work with, the cost of this project is next to nothing. For materials, all you’ll need is some paint, primer, and caulk – none of which should set you back more than $5. And unless you want to get really fancy, there’s no need to buy new molding or trim. The grand total for this project? A measly $8! Here are a few tips before we get started:

1) If you’re in the market for an inexpensive white paint, search for exterior paints instead of interior paints. We picked up Behr Premium Plus Ultra White Exterior Paint at Home Depot for about $4 per quart – and it covered beautifully!

2) You can use either latex or oil-based primer depending on your preference (we used latex), but be sure to use one or the other – never both. Oil-based primers are great because they help block stains from penetrating into wood surfaces, but they take longer to dry and smell stronger. Latex primers dry quickly and don’t smell as bad, but they can’t block stains like oil-based primers can. And while oil-based primers will give you the best protection against things like water damage, they take hours to dry and will stink up your house. It all depends on what type of surface you’re working with and what look you’re going for.

3) For trim pieces, many stores sell ready-made doorskin material that costs anywhere from $1-$6 per linear foot – so find out how much material you need first before buying anything!

4) Save yourself some time by using a floor scraper to remove any existing finishings off the wall if necessary before painting (most unfinished walls just require a good scrubbing).

5) When cutting crown molding pieces at home, use painters tape to mark where the cut needs to go so it looks perfect when installed.

6) To stop liquid leaks between the old piece of carpet and our freshly painted floor, apply generous amounts of caulking around the perimeter.

7) Letting the paint dry overnight is crucial – not only will it allow ample time for fumes to dissipate, but it will also allow moisture to evaporate so your newly painted door doesn’t warp or swell over time.

8) Once everything has dried overnight, reinstall your old carpet piece and voila! A small strip of halloween orange spookiness awaits anyone who dares venture down those creepy basement stairs.

How to do it yourself

  1. If your home has an awkward little nook under the stairs, don’t despair! This area can be transformed into a charming and functional space with just a little bit of work.
  2. Start by decluttering the area and getting rid of any items you don’t need or use. This will help you get a better sense of the potential of the space.
  3. Once you’ve decluttered, give the area a good cleaning. This will help you start fresh with your makeover.
  4. Next, add some shelving or storage units to help organize the space. This will also give you a place to store items out of sight.
  5. Finally, add some personal touches to make the space your own. A bench, rug, decorative pillows or plants are all great ways to finish off the room and make it feel like it’s part of your living space.

If you’re wondering what we did…

We gave this space a mini makeover! We painted the walls white, added some fun wallpaper, and added some plants and shelves. We also brought in a rug and some cute storage bins. The before and after are amazing! What was once an unattractive area is now an inviting space. It’s not only functional but it’s also really beautiful too! You’ll want to find out how to get the look yourself.

Check out our video on how we did it! If you liked what you saw then please subscribe and give us a thumbs up! If you have any questions, comments or concerns then please leave them below.

Why this worked so well (in our opinion)

In our opinion, this worked so well because it is an inexpensive way to update an often-neglected area of the home. It also makes use of a small space that is often wasted. This project is also quick and easy to complete, which is always a bonus. Finally, as seen in the photo below, there are many ways to customize this project depending on your tastes. If you’re looking for a quick DIY project with little time or money involved, this one might be perfect!

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