Wine Cellar Blog

5 Reasons to Consider an Under-Stairs Wine Space

Under stairs wine cellar by MacPhee's
Photo by: MacPhee’s

Not every wine collector wants or needs a large-capacity cellar. And that doesn’t mean they aren’t passionate or serious about wine. From space limitations to personal aspirations, there are many good reasons why you might want to keep a smaller footprint.

It’s entirely possible to have a modest setup that still goes big on style! One of the most unique and stylish options is an under-the-stairs design.

Under the stairs? Seems a little strange at first. And that’s the point. No matter the size or shape of your home, the collective void under our steps is largely discounted. Turns out, they’re just missed opportunities.

Savvy wine collectors are now reclaiming these once-ignored spaces. Here are four reasons – along with some inspiration – to consider stepping up, while stepping into, your wine game.

Under the stairs wine cellar
An under-stairs storage unit takes up little to no additional square footage of a house. The owner of this home reclaimed otherwise unused space and gained a 521-bottle display. (Photo by: Genuwine Cellars)

Do I Need a Full-Size Wine Cellar?

Large wine collections are the exception, not the rule. Most wine lovers are niche collectors with just a handful of exceptional bottles we want to display and age.

A space of just 5’ x 5’ (25 sq ft or 23.2 sq m) with a 9’ (2.74 m) ceiling can hold about 500 bottles of wine. Not too modest, after all.

The Swedes have a word in their language: lagom, which roughly translates to “the joy of having just the right amount.” If that sounds like your collection, then an under-stairs space will fit your lifestyle perfectly. There’s something satisfying about moderation, even if that means just 500 bottles of wine.

Under the stairs wine cellar by Redic
Not your grandfather’s wine cellar! Every scenario calls for a different approach. This ultramodern home requires a sleek display to match the interior. (Photo by: Redic SA CV)

Are Under-Stairs Wine Cellars Budget-Friendly?

Everyone has a budget. Whether you can afford $2,500 or $25,000, it’s in the way you use it. The benefit of an under-stairs setup is that a portion of the structure is already built, which can help save on some costs.

Luxury homebuilder GTG in New Jersey suggests that a modest under-stairs wine storage space can cost anywhere from $500 to $2,500. Given that, imagine what can be done with double, triple, or even tenfold the budget.

The climate control system is always the foundation for every great cellar, so start with a few measurements and, once you know the basic footprint, look for the perfect unit here. This will give you a good baseline to work up from.

Limited Space? Under-Stairs Wine Cellars Make the Most of Unused Square Footage

Not every wine aficionado lives in a large house. Whether you have a tiny apartment in NYC or a small vacation cottage in the woods, have faith – you can still collect wine and do it in style.

An under-stairs storage space takes up little to no additional square footage, and in many cases, footage that isn’t being used anyway.

Great home improvements also bring new life to a space. An under-stairs bar/wine combo can turn a quiet family room or basement into a gathering spot. A stunning glass display under your living room or dining room steps can be the center of conversation at every function. Why not turn that unused square footage into something that also brings people together?

Even a Small Wine Cellar Will Increase the Value of Your Home

According to the National Association of Home Builders, about one-third of new-home buyers with a household income of $150,000 or more now name a wine cellar as their most desired amenity. And on average, these buyers are willing to spend anywhere from $15,000 to $60,000 extra for a home with a wine storage feature. For more information on this subject, read our article here.

An Under-Stairs Wine Cellar Is an Opportunity to Express Your Unique Style

Every home is different. Everyone’s stairs are different. From straight to curvy, wood to marble, country to industrial, each scenario presents a unique challenge. There are technical considerations and aesthetic ones too.

It’s also worth noting that under the stairs does not always mean “under the basement steps.” Most homes have multiple sets of stairs. Look around, think outside the box.

It’s a creative puzzle that begs to be solved. This is a chance to bring together form and function in your own special, unique way.

Wine Cellars by Wine Cellars of the Carolinas
Under-steps setups like this can turn a lifeless room into a space that people want to be in – with a few lounge chairs this room would be an excellent spot to enjoy a glass of Bordeaux. (Photo by: Wine Cellars of the Carolinas)

Keep an Open Mind When Designing Your Wine Cellar

Building a wine storage space should be a fun and creative exercise. It should reflect the wants, needs, and style of the owner. And, of course, it should work flawlessly.

Will your new favorite wine spot be under the steps? If anything, it’s good to keep an open mind and explore the possibilities.

And if you don’t have steps, don’t worry: Almost any small space can be adapted to accommodate a top-notch wine collection. There are furniture-style cabinets (Wine Guardian will be releasing our own line soon), short wall displays, closet and pantry units, and yes, even a glass display – set into the floor of your room. We told you this was going to be fun!

Hopefully, this article helps, but if you’re still not sure how big you want to go, or where to do it, we have some more thoughts on that here. Anytime you need professional help, our expert consultants are ready to lend a hand.