The Clever Way Fixer Upper's Joanna Gaines Makes Use Of Under-Stairs Space

Chip and Joanna Gaines made their mark in the home-design space with their HGTV hit "Fixer Upper," and Joanna's signature style made its appearance in many of the series' episodes. She's created storage solutions that fit her modern-farmhouse aesthetic while helping homeowners design their space. While functional storage is fine, it's great when it's also stylish — and might even serve a bigger purpose. That's where her clever idea of an under-stairs library or office fits in. It becomes the perfect spot for a book-loving homeowner to work as well as unwind.

Instead of letting the area under your stairs go to waste, why not use it? Depending on how much space you have, you can turn it into anything from additional storage shelves, to a cozy book-reading nook, to a small dining area. Use Joanna Gaines' storage ideas from "Fixer Upper" as inspiration, then feel free to add your own unique spin so that it fits your space and lifestyle.

A perfect book nook

In the Season 3 episode of "Fixer Upper" featuring the home popularly known as the "Barndominium" (which skyrocketed in value to $1.2 million), Chip and Joanna Gaines converted a horse barn into a family home. Done in their typical shabby-chic style, warm wood tones, lots of white, and sliding barn doors were hallmarks of the house. Joanna wrote on her Magnolia blog, "There was also quite a bit of dead space behind the new staircase, so I turned it into an office nook by adding shelving for book storage and a floating desk." While built-in shelves are a great option for book lovers, there are also pull-out drawers below the shelves for additional storage.

"I know that you're a reader, Todd, so I wanted to give you plenty of storage for all your books," Joanna told the homeowner on the episode. While the Gaineses put in a desk there, you could add a comfortable armchair and small side table instead, turning the spot into a cozy book nook, perfect for curling up and reading.

That under-stairs space can be even more

Besides creating a comfy book nook, there are many other ways to turn that unused space under the stairs into useful storage. It could house children's toys or fireplace logs. If the space is near the kitchen, you can install shelves and place plates and cups there. By adding cabinets, you can store shoes or extra blankets. Or, leave the space open and use it to store bicycles. 

Because this area can be dim, good lighting is important if you go the office or library route. You can follow Joanna Gaines' lead and incorporate a wall sconce lamp. Alternatively, place small lamps that fit your decor on the desk and on the shelves. The Kallax shelf units from IKEA are one storage option. Available in several colors and sizes, they allow you to customize the space to your needs, since you can use the shelves as they are, or slide in baskets for a neat and uniform look.