Sustainable DIY flatpack storage for staircases rises to the challenge of modern cramped homes

Stairs have become the last frontier in storage space in some living spaces, and this product concept makes it almost too easy to convert them into makeshift bins.

Students and young professionals live in an almost ironic situation of having a lot of stuff with very little room to store them. From shoes to magazines to books, it’s almost too easy to fill up small rented housing with these items that often end up scattered or, worse, lost. Some more creative individuals have repurposed stairs as landing areas for their stuff without much organization or consideration for safety. Storage bins designed for stairs were born from this need, and a new idea puts a sustainable IKEA-esque spin to that design.

Designers: Bronwen Rees and Bryony Wood

Staircase bins need to take into account the particular shape of stairs, but not all stairs are made equal, so they have to be a bit more flexible or at least configurable. Given how in-demand these storage solutions might be, they also need to be durable and sustainable. These two product design students from Nottingham Trent University in the UK hit both birds with one sheet of plywood.

The Stair Cubby, as it was christened, can be assembled without the use of tools, with tabs simply going into slots and held down with pegs. The cubby is designed to sit on two steps of stairs, but the panel on the back can slide up and down to adjust to different stair heights. The storage has five open-access cubbies for shoes, books, and any other item that can fit inside, keeping things organized and out of harm’s way.

The choice of wood ensures that it will have enough rigidity to support heavier objects while still looking stylish on top of any staircase design. According to the designers, a single 1/3 sheet of 4×8 plywood is enough to make three units, so there isn’t a lot of wasted material. Even the packaging envisioned by the designers is meant to be sustainable while keeping in line with the branding of home decor company Umbra that served as the inspiration for this product concept. They also chose a plain white motif for the Stair Cubby, which not only works well with plywood but also matches minimalist tastes as well.