How to build a closet with a hidden door under a staircase to create extra storage space.
It is finally done… after living with home improvement projects going on in my foyer over the last year, I am so happy to walk through the space and see my vision come to life and the room all nice and tidy…no more buckets of Spackle, paint and sheetrock leaning against the walls.
Here is how the foyer and staircase looked when we first moved into the house. Last year I painted the staircase which made a huge difference.
We like having a large and spacious place to enter our home, but under the staircase was unfinished and was like a no mans land. Everything we placed there looked awkward.
After I did some research I came up with a plan to enclose the space under the stairs to create a storage closet, but one with a hidden or semi-hidden door.
I found my inspiration in this image as well as….
…this one. I liked the vertical board and batten feel.
I made a few drawings and Ed figured out how to do it.
Hidden Closet AFTER!
Everything all nice and tidy, plus storage under the stairs that is accessed by the semi-hidden door.
It came out just as I imagined.
To open the door, you simply press the upper left side…
… and it pops open. No door knob needed. Instead there is a magnetic touch latch installed right inside the door. To close it, we simply push the door closed until we hear the magnet grip it. It works beautifully.
It is nice to have a closet now to hold a bunch of stuff we didn’t have any place to put, but still wanted to keep. I also like having a surface to decorate again.
For the last year, this room has been a dumping ground. I even used it as a place to set up to paint my kitchen cabinet doors when it got too cold to paint them in my garage.
The brick floor is uneven so we had to raise the door up a little to make sure it could open and close easily.
We used regular door hinges, but first tried using SOSS hidden hinges.
They are expensive, but didn’t work since our door had an angled top. We returned them and went with the normal door hinges so the angled door can open wide.
This is the magnetic latch that allows the door to stay closed and pushed to open. It is made for cabinet doors, but works on the lightweight hollow-core door we used. The photo on the left shows the latch in the OPEN position. On the right the latch is pushed in and the door is CLOSED.
On the door itself is a small metal plate that the magnet on the latch grabs onto to keep the door closed.
Next week I will show you what the inside looks like and what we are using the closet for besides the ironing board you see. :-)
How to Build a Closet Under a Staircase With a Hidden Door
I didn’t include exact measurements for the wood since your staircase and sizes needed will be different. I have written this tutorial more as an overview of what we did to create the closet and the items we used.
- Pre-hung 24″ wide hollow-core door
- 2 x 4’s
- 1″ x 2-1/2″ x 8″ boards
- Joint compound
- Sander and 100 grit sandpaper
- Masonery drill bit and screws
- Bubble level
- Primer and Paint – Sherwin Williams- Pure White 7005
- Paint brush, roller and tray
- Circular drill bit – doorknob hole size
- 2 – 1/2″ wood screws and screwdriver
- Measuring tape
- Circular saw and miter saw
- Caulk and caulk gun
- Wood glue and Liquid Nails
- For brick floor – masonry screws and anchors
- Optional – white hinges
- We wanted to use a pre-hung door since every door we have tried to hang over many years and houses that was not pre-hung never worked correctly. If you have door hanging skills, you can simply get a hollow core door and door hanging trim.
- Install door inside a frame of 2 x 4’s. If you want to create a hidden door, remove decorative trim that comes around the pre-hung door, you will not need it.
3. We measured the angle of the staircase where we wanted the door and cut the top of the door off at that angle with a circular saw.
4. We removed the inside top section of the original door from the cutaway piece and cut it to fit in the new angled top of the door. We used wood glue to hold it in place.
5. We also use the cutaway section of door to make a wood plug for the doorknob hole. We used a doorknob drill bit to do this.
6. We used masonry screws and anchors to attach the 2 x 4’s to floor. We used 2-1/2″ wood screws for the rest.
7. Where you place the 2 x 4 on the floor is very important. You don’t want it in line with the edge of the staircase. You need to take in consideration the thickness of the sheetrock and 1 x 2-1/2 decorative boards that will be on the face of the wall so they will be flush with the bottom edge of the staircase.
You can see the width we needed to leave in this photo. It was about an inch and a half. We used a variety of 2 x 4’s that we had leftover from other projects that is why some are light and others dark.
8. Add sheetrock and joint compound over the 2 x 4’s.
9. Add 3-1/2″ tall baseboard and 2-1/2″ wide vertical and angled top boards. We spaced the vertical boards 10-3/4″ apart. We used Liquid Nails and wood screws to attach the boards.
10. Countersink screws and then fill with Spackle. When dry, sand smooth.
We placed and glued the wood plug we made from the cut off section of the door into the hole in the door. We Spackled and sanded it to smooth.
The spacing between vertical boards required us to place one centered on the door. Again we used Liquid Nails and wood screws to do this. We also glued and screwed on a top board on an angle.
Important: To be able to open and close the door easily, you need to make sure that when you attach the top angled piece of wood that it is trimmed enough to allow the door to swing open all the way.
Once all is in place…
…it is time to sand wood joints, caulk and paint. I ran a bead of caulk along every board (vertical and baseboard) where it meets the wall before I primed and painted so the boards and wall would look seamless.
Attach Magnetic Touch Latch and metal plate.
This was a big project that we did over a few months time. I tried to cover everything we did in this post, but if something does not make sense let me know and I will clarify it for you and also update the post.
If you would like to see what we put in the closet you can find that post here: What is in the Hidden Closet Under the Staircase
Resources: affiliate links used
- Magnetic Touch Latch
- Artificial Grass Planter
- Baskets – IKEA
- Black Urn – Bought at a yard sale.
- Greenery Globe – HomeGoods
- Lamp – TJ Maxx
- Free printable French Script to cover stack of books
- White porcelain tray
- Gold + Glass candle holder
- Window Sash Mirror on wall
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