No Space Left Behind

LAST UPDATED: Nov 15, 2019 | PUBLISHED: Aug 20, 2018 | By: Julie Blanner

I may be somewhat of a minimalist, but I love to maximize space! When we purchased the lake cottage the space underneath the stairs felt awkward. We considered a number of ways to best utilize it, taking cues from neighbors.

under the stairs nook

One neighbor filled in the space with a bookcase. It’s absolutely beautiful and practical as it also compensates for the lack of railing, but given it’s our vacation home, we don’t have a lot to display / fill shelves.

Previous owners used it as a media area, but we have decided that’s one of the many things we love about the lake – the lack of distraction from a tv.

We hadn’t given it much thought until we were deciding what to do with that awkward step as we prepared for new carpet throughout our home {more on that coming soon!}. We considered our needs for the lower level living room and the overall cottage – a place for the girls’ to hang out and play and more sleeping accommodations when we have a full house.

We measured and surprisingly, there was enough space to fit the length of a twin mattress! Unlike most of our projects, this one has progressed rather quickly! I sent Chris to the lake Wednesday night to build a bed/nook on his day off, and we returned to sand late Friday night, primed Saturday morning and painted Saturday night. It’s fun seeing it all come together and I wanted to share a sneak peek with you!

For reference, a before photo:


and the start of construction:

You can see how I plan to finish it and shop the look here {affiliate links}:

under the stairs reading nook

1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9.

Once the carpet is installed, I’ll finish the space with a custom mattress and the items above to create a charming and cozy reading nook that will double as a bed when we have a full house.

I’m so excited to complete this project and make use of a once under-utilized space. Creating a mood board helps me see how it will all come together and as you can see, I’m feeling the blues. While it’s own space, I think it will fit seamlessly into our slightly more modern lake cottage. You can see how I do this here to plan your own space!


mini loaves of bread gift wrapped