Home // Little Entryway Closet Under the Stairs Makeover – before/after

utilizing small spaces - little closet under the stairs gets a makeover

There is one thing about my house that I don’t particularly love… and it’s that I don’t have a formal entryway. My front door is next to my fireplace, right in my living room. You just walk right in. If I could extend the area and add on an entryway area, I would. And maybe if I stay here, eventually I will.

This also means that there is no entryway closet either, but there is this little closet under the stairs and on the other side of it, in the little hallway to the right that leads to the stairwell to the garage – still a favorite space – and to my office, there’s a sort of tucked in open closet (across from the little bench you see in the photo above) where I hang all my coats and leave the shoes I wear more frequently.

Well this little closet under the stairs had very little function and while it began as a place I stored the dog leashes and my foam rollers (workout gear) and other little necessary items I didn’t want left out in the living room, it had eventually become the place where I’d just throw extra blankets and pillows and everything else I had no place for. Essentially, a junk closet. It was a mess. See for yourself…

What an embarrassing mess! I am a person who prefers organized closets, for everything to “have a home” and when I’m not using it, it goes back to its home because I don’t like clutter, but this closet had become the home to all the things that didn’t have a home.

Recently, and with a little help, I decided to clean it out and add a few little shelves just to make it a little more functional and it made a HUGE DIFFERENCE. It really turned a completely useless space into a space that has purpose now. The large drywalled box you see, which unfortunately takes up most of the walkable floor space, is the chase for the heater return vent and can’t really be moved. .

Here’s a look at the whole closet before and after the shelves were hung…

We bought the pre-laminated wood shelves in a rustic color that closely matched my home in two different sizes and using simple white brackets, staggered the shelves around the three walls to try to get the most of the space. I actually loved the contrast between the wood shelves and white brackets, which I felt added a modern touch, so that made it super easy. Without having to stain any wood (though we did have to cut one piece down) it was a simple project that took about an hour or so and has really made SUCH a difference in how I can utilize the space now.

We also hung a little rustic wire basket with hooks along the bottom on the inside of the door for the dog leashes and any random little stuff I may need to store there. I think it works perfectly. Here’s the exact basket I bought from amazon.

And… Voila!

While at first I really wanted to use it as mostly an entryway closet, it ultimately morphed into a combination entryway/DVD closet, because yes, I still have a ridiculously huge DVD collection, even after separating out the ones that I no longer wanted.

DVD closet entryway closet under the stairs

AND while it’s far prettier as an entryway closet, I thought it would be important to show you how I really ended up using the space, though the photos are far less interesting (lol).

utilizing small spaces - little closet under the stairs

But either way, it makes me happy knowing that what’s behind that little door under the stairs is neat and tidy and far more functional than a mass of random stuff that never had a home.

Below: This corner has gone through so many plants, it’s sad actually. The return heater vent blows almost directly on it, so they don’t have a chance, though I did have one elephant ear that lasted almost a year… generally they don’t last long at all. This is the first time trying a money tree here and I love the fuller look. We’ll see how long it lasts though.

* See this little corner in June 2013 for a look back at my living room evolution.

Does it make you feel better after organizing a space or closet? It definitely does it for me… like removing the clutter and chaos externally (even if behind a door) also removes a little clutter and chaos internally.

Have you guys been cleaning out your house this new year? It seems like the perfect time to do it and get a fresh start.

Happy Hump Day Lovecats!

* Find all my Home Projects and Home Before/Afters here
* You can also find my DIY Feather Wall Art / JUJU Hat here

LA native & lifestyle blogger Maegan Tintari writes daily at ...love Maegan.com sharing beauty & style secrets, including fashion DIYs, how-to nail art manicures, hair tutorials, recipes & home decorating ideas, as well as a look into her personal life, her journey & battle with infertility & recent relocation to the mountains by a lake in search of a better life with her adorable French Bulldog brothers, Trevor and Randy.


  • Anni

    January 31, 2019 | Reply

    I love your house!!! It’s so cozy, I would move right in. 😉
    I really hope you can stay there.

    • Maegan Tintari

      February 1, 2019 | Reply

      Thank you so much! I love it too and still have so many plans for it… I hope I can stay here. too. Thank you 🙂

  • Diane

    January 31, 2019 | Reply

    I miss having a ‘real’ entryway also. In past homes it was so nice to have guests be able to step into the entryway, take their coats, and then welcome them into the rest of the house. We would have to completely change the front of our home on the outside, including enlarging the front porch, which I would love to do, but when you get into those kind of changes to a house it gets very expensive….. I love what you did with your closet and getting it organizes. Makes a huge difference!

    • Maegan Tintari

      February 1, 2019 | Reply

      YES!!! Having even just a small area that is a designated entry that is separate from the rest of the space really makes such a difference. So I make do until I can figure out how to build on (or if I have to move, it’s a requirement!) And thank you. I swear just knowing the closet isn’t full of junk anymore makes me feel better lol 🙂 <3

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