Are the stairs in your home a missed opportunity? Incorporating some clever built-in storage into this typically underused area is one of the easiest space-saving tricks in the book, and you can get a whole lot more than just a dark, poorly organized closet out of your efforts. These five examples of modern storage stairs transform this potentially valuable space into slide-out kitchen pantries, shoe storage, shelves for books and decorative objects, individual stair-step storage trunks, and even tiny office nooks.

1. Shoe Storage Built into Landing

What do you do with shoes to keep them from tracking dirt throughout your house or cluttering up the hallway? Not every home has enough space for foyer storage or a mudroom, and most shoe storage solutions don’t score a lot of modern design points. Post Architecture came up with a cool way to handle this conundrum in a semi-detached Toronto home: the creation of an elevated landing at the base of the stairs with three drawers underneath. That’s enough space for roughly 18 pairs of shoes!

2. Pull-Out Storage & Display Niches in Custom Wooden Stairs

A tiny apartment in Bordeaux barely offered its new occupants enough space to move around in, let alone store their belongings. French architecture studio L’Atelier Miel came up with a clever shoe storage solution as part of an overall design incorporating lots of wooden built-ins to cleverly divide and organize the interiors. These narrow, railing-free custom stairs are designed to take up as little space as possible while also providing pull-out cabinets and niches for the display of special objects.

3. Sliding Under-Stair Pantries

Before interior designer Lisa Robazza came along to breathe some life into this dated Toronto home, its main stairway was dark and bleak. Bright lighting, a glass railing, a new coffee station, and a pair of slide-out pantries make the space more functional than ever, and a whole lot more attractive. The pantries conceal clutter and feature lots of easily accessible shelving on either side, avoiding the common pantry problem of deep, dark, hard-to-reach cabinets. Add this upgrade to your list of renovation ideas!

4. Vivid Yellow Stair Drawers

The stairs leading to the second floor of this cute home in Brussels consist of two separate sections: a light and airy floating staircase in white, and a set of five solid, closed-in stairs leading up to the landing. The firm Spotless Architecture painted the latter section a cheerful neon yellow, and turned its hollow spaces into individual storage trunks for shoes and other small items. This is a great approach if you like the idea of having “secret” storage spaces around the house.

5. Storage Space and an Office Under the Stairs

The space beneath stairs can be the perfect place for a hallway closet and even a small built-in office, as demonstrated in this handsome home renovation by architect Hugh Jefferson Randolph. The door to the closet blends into the wall when closed for a minimalist effect, and the nook offers just enough space for a single desk, a chair and some shelving for books and supplies.