Step by step tutorial showing how to build an under stairs closet with a hidden door under a staircase to create extra storage space in a home.
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.
The rooms are all nice and tidy with no more buckets of Spackle, paint and sheetrock leaning against the walls.
Here is how the entryway 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 the area under the staircase was unfinished and was like a no man’s land.
My husband pictured a sink and wet bar broken through the wall. But what we needed was storage space for cleaning tools and other stuff that we use on a weekly basis.
Under Stairs Storage Space
After I did some research, I came up with a plan to enclose the space to create an under stair storage closet. Instead of a normal door, this closet would have a hidden or semi-hidden door.
My inspiration to create the closet space was found in this image and the one below
I liked the vertical board and batten feel. After I made a few drawings, Ed figured out a DIY solution.
Hidden Closet Under The Stairs AFTER!
Everything all nice and tidy, plus additional storage under the stairs that is accessed by the semi-hidden door.
To open the door, you simply press the upper left side of the door.
And it pops open with 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.
I Love the Extra Space!
It is nice to have a closet under the stairs now where there was unused space before. It can hold a bunch of stuff we didn’t have any place to put, but still wanted to keep. Think coat closet and a place for a vacuum, toy storage, outdoor cushions, pillows, blankets, and more.
You can install one or more closet rods to hang your guest’s coats and footwear along with adding shelving, drawers, baskets, bins, hooks, or even a bench if there’s room.
How to Build a Closet Under a Stairway With a Hidden Door
I didn’t include exact measurements for the wood we used 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
- Masonry 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
- Magnetic Latch – to open and close door without the need of a doorknob
- Optional – white hinges
The brick floor is uneven so we had to raise the door up a little to make sure it could open and close easily.
Installing the Hidden Door
- 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 hidden 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 used 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 the floor. We used 2-1/2″ wood screws for the rest.
How to Frame The Closet Wall
7. Make note of the width of the sheetrock. 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.
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.
Add Sheetrock to Framing
8. Add sheetrock and joint compound over the 2 x 4’s.
Add Board and Batten
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 hidden door. Again we used Liquid Nails and wood screws to do this. We also glued and screwed on a top board on an angle.
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.
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.
The construction components are now all in place.
How to Install The Magnetic Latch
To open and close the hidden door without the need of a doorknob we installed a magnetic latch. It is inexpensive and easy to install.
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.
Magnetic touch latch meets this metal plate.
We removed the silver hinges that came with the pre-hung door and tried to use specialty SOSS hidden hinges. They didn’t work.
So we bought new normal door hinges in white and attached them so they would match the white wall and woodwork.
The Under Stairs Closet is Complete
Creating this hidden closet was a big project that we did over a few months time. I tried to cover everything we did in this step-by-step tutorial 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
As you can see we customized the project to get the storage we needed. What are your needs? If you don’t have a need for storage solutions and you have enough room, maybe you can fit a laundry room under the stairs as long as you have accessible plumbing and power. Or how about a cozy cubby or reading nook with shelves for books.
And anyone who has kids or pets is bound to need more storage space for their toys and gear. It is your home, so customize it to fit your life.
Decor Resources In the Entryway:
- 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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