how to build under stairs drawers

How to build your own under stair drawers for under £100

Check out these brilliant space saving drawers that slide seamlessly under the stairs. Adding soft close rails to this was a must and makes shoe storage fast and simple.  Do you have wasted space under your stairs? Why not try it yourself?  Here’s how I did it.

how to build under stairs drawers

Tools for the job

You’ll need a few tools including a cordless drill, jigsaw, hand saw, tape measure and set-square.  Here are a few of my recommendations:


To get started you’re going to need a few basic materials including:

When buying tools and materials online I always use a cashback site like Topcashback as it’s generated over £940 in just a couple of years.  My wife also uses it for all our everyday spending and now has over £1800.  That’s not bad at all for free.  Here’s a look at my savings to date:

cashback2We installed the web browser extension which reminds us when there is an eligible retailer so we never miss out on a cashback offer.  We tend to save up all our earnings for a year and treat ourselves to a 5* weekend away.  Endulging ourselves for free 🙂

So this is where I started on this project:

understairdrawer start

Step by step guide for how to build your own under stairs drawers

Cutting the hole

Step 1.  So, first things first, you need to decide how many drawers you want and a rough idea of what you’ll be using them for.  For mine we wanted shoe storage and somewhere to put the dirty washing.  You can make the drawers as wide or as tall as you like but remember to ensure the runners can handle the weight and they are going to fit within the space under your stairs.

Step 2.  Next you’ll need to mark out the drawers and cut a hole.  Make sure to check the material you’re cutting into is reasonably thin and there aren’t any electrical wires or plumbing behind.

Step 3.  Start by drilling a hole large enough to get the jigsaw blade into. Then cut the shape as carefully as possible with a jigsaw.  It’s important to get a nice straight line so use guide bars where possible.  You may wish to remove the entire wall and create new surrounds.  This will ensure a perfect finish around your drawers.  I didn’t do this so it’s not perfect but most people can’t tell.

Step 4.  When you have a good hole it’s important to make the replacement front of the drawer from the off cut.  This ensures you get good angles and the draw fits nicely.

Building the support frame

Step 5.  One of the most important bits of this project is the frame for the runners to sit on.  It’s important to ensure the frame is perfectly square and the front of the frame width measures exactly the same as the back.  This will allow the drawer to run smoothly when sliding in and out.

Ensure the frame is firmly fixed to the floor and front/rear walls.  Any movement in this frame will cause many issues for the smooth operation of the drawers.

understairdrawer frame

Building the drawers

Step 6.  Once the frame for the runners is complete you can begin to build the drawer itself.  This should be quite straight forward and can be anything you like.  For the shoe drawer I include one shelf and made sure there was a back panel to prevent shoes falling out.

Remember to ensure the drawer is completely square and the dimensions measure the same at the front and back.  Any slight variation here is going to prevent the drawer from sliding in and out easily.

Some of these images should help you:

under stair drawers step by step

Adding the runners

Step 7.  With regards to the runners, try something like these.  I decided to get the soft close version and had to make sure that they could manage the weight of the drawer and the shoes.  Check the load capacity before buying.  Also check the length and extended length for the runner to make sure it will extend far enough for easy access.

Step 8.  I fitted the runners to the frame first, then slid the drawer onto the runner and screwed in the from the side.  It required a little bit of fine adjustment to get it all lined up correctly but the runners have elongated screw fixing points for exactly this purpose.

Step 9.  The next job is to fit a handle or knob and fully test the drawer.  Try adding some WD40 to the runners for a nice smooth action.

Finally.  You can remove the drawer for a light sanding and finish off with a nice paint job.

This was all a relatively easy construction and most competent DIYers can do this.  It’s not going to work for ever house due to different wall and stair types but 9 times out of 10 you’ll be able to make it work.

If you’re looking to save a bit more money you can try a cash back site like TopCashBack.  Simply search for items you’d normally buy online and the cash back site will do the rest.  I’ve accumulated over £940 since joining.

Take a look at some more of my other DIY and home improvement projects:

How to build your own under stairs drawers


  1. great page, exactly what i was looking for.

    Thanks for sharing!

    BTW I still have to start mine!!

  2. how long are the runners you used? surely 450 isn’t long enough for under stairs? its about 900mm under ours?

    • Mine were 450mm because this is how far I wanted the drawer to extend out. You can use whatever length runners you feel are suitable for your design.

Leave a Reply