how to build under stairs drawers

Maximising Space with Under Stair Drawers: A Step-by-Step Guide

Discover the ingenious solution of under-stair drawers that effortlessly slide under the stairs, optimising storage and freeing up valuable room. These remarkable drawers not only maximise the utilisation of the often overlooked area beneath the stairs but also provide the convenience of smooth and noiseless operation, thanks to the incorporation of soft close rails. If you find yourself with unused space beneath your staircase, why not give it a try yourself? In this article, I will guide you through the process of creating your own under-stair drawers, allowing you to transform wasted space into a functional and organised storage solution.

how to build under stairs drawers

Crafting your own under stair shoe storage is a straightforward project that can be accomplished with basic tools and materials. You don’t need advanced carpentry skills or expensive equipment. Here’s a look and some links to the materials I’ve used:


To get started you’re going to need a few basic materials. This is essentially an under stair storage DIY kit. It’s super simple and only include these 4 basic materials.

Or try these soft close runners

VADANIA 400mm Soft Close Drawer Runners

soft close drawer runners

45kg Load Capacity

  • Double spring design, makes it easier to pull back and smoother than single spring when full loaded.
  • Made of 1.2 mm cold-rolled steel, VADANIA drawer runners can easily bear up to 45kg
  • 3-fold full extension drawer runners. Original length: 400mm, full extension lengths: 780mm

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

This is where I started on this project. There is access under the stairs at the far end but it becomes a small crawl space that cannot easily be utilised. That’s why we decided to make the most of this empty space and make some under stair shoe storage units.

understairdrawer start

Cutting the hole

Step 1.  First things first, you need to decide how many drawers you want and have a rough idea of what you’ll be using them for.  For mine, we wanted shoe storage and somewhere to put the dirty laundry.  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 surroundings.  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.

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:

Creating taller cupboard space

If you find yourself in need of storage for taller items such as brooms, mops, or vacuum cleaners, creating a cupboard under the stairs can be a practical and space-saving solution. Here’s a quick guide to help you make a cupboard that efficiently utilizes the vertical space:

  1. Measure and plan: Start by measuring the height, width, and depth of the area under the stairs to determine the dimensions for your cupboard. Take into account the tallest item you need to store and allow some extra space for easy access.
  2. Choose the door configuration: Decide whether you want a single door or multiple doors for your cupboard. Consider the available space and the overall aesthetics of your staircase area.
  3. Build the frame: Using plywood or other suitable materials, construct the frame for the cupboard. Ensure that it fits snugly in the available space and provides enough room for the taller items you wish to store.
  4. Install shelves: Depending on your storage needs, install shelves inside the cupboard. Adjustable shelves offer flexibility to accommodate items of varying heights. Ensure the shelves are sturdy and properly anchored to support the weight of the stored items.
  5. Install the door(s): Attach the chosen door(s) to the cupboard frame using hinges. Opt for a door that swings open easily and provides convenient access to the items stored inside. Consider installing a magnetic or mechanical door catch to keep the door securely closed.
  6. Add finishing touches: Sand the surfaces of the cupboard and apply paint, stain, or varnish to match the aesthetics of your staircase or complement your interior decor. You can also add hooks or holders inside the cupboard to hang smaller items or tools.

With a well-designed and constructed cupboard under the stairs, you can effectively utilize the vertical space to store taller items, keeping them organized and easily accessible. This solution not only maximizes storage potential but also helps maintain a clutter-free living environment. Enjoy the benefits of a dedicated storage area that optimizes your available space and enhances the functionality of your home.

Get creative

You don’t have to limit yourself to drawers. Try adding shelves, cubby holes, wine racks, bookshelves, dog or cat beds and many more. Here is a little inspiration to get the creative thoughts flowing.


The remarkable under-stair drawers offer a brilliant solution to utilise the often-neglected space beneath your staircase. By incorporating soft close rails and a simple yet efficient design, these drawers provide seamless functionality and effortless storage for your belongings, particularly shoes.

With just basic tools and materials, you can embark on a DIY journey to create your own under-stair drawers. This project not only allows you to optimise space but also showcases your creativity and practicality. Imagine the satisfaction of transforming wasted space into a well-organized storage solution that perfectly suits your needs.

So, don’t let that valuable area under your stairs go to waste any longer. Embrace the opportunity to create under-stair drawers that not only add convenience to your daily life but also enhance the aesthetic appeal of your home. Get started today and unlock the potential of this often-overlooked space. Your newly crafted drawers will undoubtedly be a testament to your resourcefulness and ability to turn ordinary spaces into extraordinary storage solutions.

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 🙂

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

How to build your own under stairs drawers


  1. 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.

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

    Thanks for sharing!

    BTW I still have to start mine!!

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