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How to Create an Under Stairs Alcove

By opening up a wall beneath a stairway, homeowners can create useful space where there was none. This project shows how to build an under stairs alcove with bench seat.

More in Remodeling

opening up wall beneath stairway
  • Time

    Several Weekends

  • Price Range

    $250 - $500

  • Difficulty

    Moderate

Highlights:

Step 1: Remove Wall

Before starting lay down drop cloths to protect the floor. Measure the area beneath the stairs where the alcove will go. Snap a chalk line to mark the outline of the area to be opened. Use a utility knife to score the drywall along the outline. Hammer then remove the drywall to expose the studs.

Tip: Before starting, use a stud finder to check for wires or pipes.

removing the wall

Step 2: Remove Studs

Make sure studs are not load-bearing. If they are, reinforcing studs and headers will need to be constructed. Use a reciprocating saw to remove the studs to fully expose the area. Start by cutting through the studs at the top and then pull or pry the studs away from the floor.

Step 3: Frame Bench

Measure and cut 2" x 4" boards to frame a bench seat to fit beneath the stairs. The depth and width of the bench will depend on the space available. Anchor the 2" x 4" boards to the floor and rear wall studs.

framing the bench

Step 4: Build Alcove

To create an alcove, enclose the framed out space in 1/2" plywood. The plywood for the alcove has to have something to attach to, so where there are no studs install 1" x 2" braces. Measure and cut plywood to line the interior of the alcove. Attach to studs and braces with screws.

Step 5: Add Decorative Trim

Line the alcove with bead board panels to create a decorative look. To make the new under-stairs alcove match the rest of the house, attach matching trim and moldings.

add decorative trims

Step 6: Complete Project

With the bench seat and alcove constructed, the walls will need to be patched where the drywall was cut or damaged. Use joint compound and a putty knife to patch holes. Use drywall tape on any large seams. Allow to dry before sanding and painting.

allow drywall to dry before sanding and painting

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Resources

  • Hand tools from Klein Tools
  • Reciprocating saw, jigsaw and screw gun from Porter-Cable Corporation
  • Miter saw from Delta Tools

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