Under Staircase Storage & Built In Dog Den

Pinterest has a way of inspiring home renovation for all of us. I’ve long admired (and been envious of) the expansive storage closets that lie beneath other peoples’ staircases. Why did my home not have this obvious feature?


My house seriously lacks storage.

I have this way of taking things I can’t find a place for and haphazardly setting them in the garage. My husband is not a fan of this talent habit and even after doing a major overhaul in which I got rid of tons of stuff, we agreed we could use more storage space.

“Well, you know…” I said to him one day while sitting on our couch. “I saw on Pinterest that people add storage underneath the stairs.”

We headed over and stared the wall in our entry way for about 2 minutes before Matt ran to the garage and returned with a mini saw. And then, a small square was cut into the wall between 2 studs so we could peak inside.




Jackpot! There was soooo much wasted space under there! And thanks to the plethora of DIY blogs and instructional YouTube videos, we took on a project that involved wiring lighting, hanging drywall, adding wall texture, laying down flooring and trimming out what would forever be referred to as “The Hole.” All types of construction work we were ill-equipped for and completely clueless about.

Once we saw the layout under there we noticed the space could be divided into a storage area and a little den for our dog. We thought it would be extra cool if the storage was hidden behind a secret door which complicated things immensely.

But, in the end it came out perfect. Here are the steps we took to create our under-staircase storage room and dog den.

First, we divided up the space and drew out a plan. We decided to have an “entry” area, a dog den and a secret door that opened up into hidden storage in the back:


Steps to Create Under-Staircase Storage:

Our first step was actually to buy the little entry door. We didn’t want to cut the entrance hole too large so we headed to Hobby Lobby to see if they had anything that might work. And they did! For half off!


Locate studs in wall and cut out sheetrock.


Clean out the area. We found a nice snack left behind by a construction worker.


Matt wired in 3 lights and a light switch because it was DARK under there!


We cut out certain studs to make 2 wider doorway areas to a back room and to the dog den area.

Next, we cut and hung the drywall. Keep in mind neither of us had ever worked with drywall before. Simply googling and watching YouTube videos gave us all the confidence we needed. Turned out, it’s not that hard!




After that the wall texture went on followed by a couple coats of paint:

dog-den-paint-walls dog-den-paint-walls-3 dog-den-paint-walls-2

Laid some flooring from Costco:


Then baseboard throughout and a couple of storage shelves in the back:


We hung a large piece of wood with cabinet hinges to serve as our secret hidden door. Then, we added decorative board and batten to the wood and the rest of the “entry area” to help disguise the door.

dog-den-secret-door-partition dog-den-board-and-batten dog-den-board-and-batten-complete


The panels of the board and batten that run along the secret door are held into place with magnets and the small piece of baseboard is held up with velcro Command Strips. That way they can pop off and allow the door to swing open.




We added some carpet to the dog den (leftover carpet from when we re-carpeted our house). We weren’t quite sure about doing this properly so we had the carpet company come out to install the carpet portion.


I painted and then glazed the entrance door:


We decided to go fancy on the trim to match our dog door.

Read about the custom dog door we built here. It’s adorable!


Prior to this project, our dog Dakota has slept in a gigantic crate that  took up nearly a quarter of our living room. Now, the crate is stored at her Grandpaw’s house for sleepovers and she loves sleeping in her fancy little dog den.




Update: Check out my java gel stained banister makeover here.