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We never shy away from a design challenge, and rarely do we find one as tough as the awkward bit of space under the stairs. Presenting problems of shape, size, and functionality, turning this space into something productive is tough–but not impossible. Read on for some of our favorite uses of this once-wasted space.

a reading nook

Carve out a comfortable space for a makeshift lounge by decking it with cushions and throw pillows. Bonus points for spots with sources of natural lighting.

a gallery wall

A refined collection within a geometric display complements the modern simplicity of this whitewashed space. Now that’s our idea of a statement wall.

a home office

No office? No problem. Transform the empty space under the stairs by installing a set of floating shelves along the width of the staircase, and an alternate along the length of the area to double as a desk.

extra seating

For the staircase that faces the living room, a cushioned spot makes for the perfect seating solution for movie nights and more!

a kitchen

An intimate kitchen takes on a whole new meaning inside this industrialized loft. Note the extension of the cabinets and floating shelves, which provide ample space for storage and some much-needed counter space.

the multipurpose entry

Use the free space to store miscellaneous items, often difficult to categorize. An oversized basket is perfect for blankets and throws, while a conveniently positioned desk makes for a handy mail station.

a home bar

File this one under best use of an empty space. Use a wall-mounted console to store spirits and bar gear, topped with floating shelves for glasses and more. Feeling fancy? Throw in a wine cooler to complete the look.

the bookcase

A built-in bookshelf that doubles as a stunning storage solution makes a clever use of an otherwise negligible space.

the kitchen extension

Use the space to house a slew of kitchen gear, typically too large to store elsewhere.

the statement wall

Recreate this effortlessly chic scene with a curated selection of prints, neatly stacked along the back wall of the empty space.