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How to build storage cupboards under stairs?

Junior Contributor

How to build storage cupboards under stairs?

Hi folks,


I'm considering a fairly ambitious DIY project and wonder if anyone might have some suggestions... I live in an apartment with stairs and the space underneath is totally wasted (great at catching cat fur though) so I'd like to put in storage.


There's plenty of Pinterest inspiration but I'm not sure where to start and whether it needs to be 100% built from scratch, or if I should modify something to fit the space.


Other apartments in the building have similar storage:



Ideally I'd love ours to slide out like below, rather than having shelves with hinged doors:



This is roughly the space I'm working with:

Under Stairs.jpg

The stairs are concrete, the wall behind (darker blue) is brick, and floor is floorboards crossing over to tiles.


My limitations are that I don't have a workshop, just my balcony to cut timber so a little limited with workspace. I have basic tools like circular saw, drills, jigsaw etc. No table saw though, so cutting dead-straight lines for things like doors might not be an option (which is why I wonder if I should modify something that exists).


Anyone tackled something similar or have suggestions?


Thanks so much for any ideas!



Junior Contributor

Re: How to build storage cupboards under stairs?

Thanks @EricL, I tried Sketchup years ago but as you say, needed some time to learn. Might investigate it again. Thanks also for the extra advice there regarding the runners, much appreciated. Looking forward to tackling this one!


Cheers, Danny.

Junior Contributor

Re: How to build storage cupboards under stairs?

Hi again everyone, I realised I forgot to ask some very obvious questions about materials!


I know melamine and MDF board were mentioned for the dividers and shelves, is that all you'd suggest using? I always imagined that I'd have to build a frame first to mount it all to, and thought pine would be suggested to do that. Is that necessary do you think? I want this to be a solid, long lasting build.


Either way, how would I go about mounting this all to the walls and underside of the stairs?


Thanks so much again guys :smile:

Bunnings Team Member
Bunnings Team Member

Re: How to build storage cupboards under stairs?

Hello @dannyrus


What material to use is vital when building a drawer for long service life. It has to withstand the weight of items placed on it and it has to be able to stay rigid when pushed or pulled. I've used MDF for a long time, but I find that it is necessary to support joining pieces with pine timber to prevent tear-outs and bending. Using Melamine boards gives you the look, but they do not perform well when constantly moved. 


I suggest using 2440 x 1220 x 12mm AA Grade Mixed Hardwood Marine Plywood for the entire assembly. However, I suggest using the best possible blade to cut it so that you will have a very fine finish on the ends. Using plywood gives you the strength and rigidity that you need. It can be glued and screwed together to give you a very strong join. It can be painted in whatever colour you want.


If you are placing very heavy items inside these drawers, I suggest using timber supports at key points to help spread and carry the weight. I would still go with the suggestions made earlier in the post of not only using heavy-duty drawer slides but using castors as well.


If you need further assistance, please let us know.




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