What are some creative uses for my unusable staircase?
June 3, 2008 4:33 PM   Subscribe

What are some creative uses for my unusable staircase?

Due to the strange layout of the house in which I am now living, there is quite a long staircase in the middle of my apartment that I will never use to get up to the next floor. As the staircase is smack in the middle of my apartment, there's a lot of unused space.

I've already used some of the stairs as a bookshelf and some as a liquor cabinet, but there are about 12 empty steps. What are some creative uses for these steps? I'd love ideas that are both functional and aesthetically pleasing....

posted by scarylarry to Home & Garden (20 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
I should maybe add that the staircase leads to a locked door and a stranger's apartment. It doesn't need to be clear for fire egress or any other commerce between the apartments.
posted by scarylarry at 4:43 PM on June 3, 2008

Put box planters on each step, so it looks like you have steps of grass/living things.
posted by phunniemee at 4:47 PM on June 3, 2008 [1 favorite]

Set of drawers, like on a boat. How could would that be?

And if don't really use the stairs, you can label what's in them either on the stair itself or on the wall.
posted by theichibun at 4:51 PM on June 3, 2008

I would add plants too, but trailing ones that cascade down the stairs or off the sides of the stair case. You'd need to work out how to water them since you probably wouldn't be able to walk up there, maybe a squirt bottle with a tube sticking out like they use for hanging plants.
posted by shelleycat at 5:13 PM on June 3, 2008

Water feature.
posted by madmethods at 5:17 PM on June 3, 2008 [1 favorite]

bookshelf? that could be very cool.
posted by alpha_betty at 5:46 PM on June 3, 2008

....i can read, i swear. so, let's just say i meant "fill the stairs with books" instead of a sometime bookshelf.

and for some credibility, how about assorted picture frames and tchotchkes? that'd lend an eclectic feel to the place.
posted by alpha_betty at 5:49 PM on June 3, 2008

Sheet of plywood, a hose, and a Slip-n-Slide.
posted by LionIndex at 5:51 PM on June 3, 2008

Are the stairs enclosed or are they open on one or both sides?
posted by cinemafiend at 6:14 PM on June 3, 2008

i like the idea of plants. also, if you can get some pretty boxes, it would be great storage space for out-of-season clothes and shoes, as well as papers like birth certificates, old tax returns, and all the other crap we all carry around with us but only need to get at once or twice a year.
posted by thinkingwoman at 6:36 PM on June 3, 2008

Ok, forget what I said. LionIndex wins.
posted by theichibun at 7:26 PM on June 3, 2008

It sounds like it's a straight stairway, rather than one that has a bend?

When I was young and my parents recently divorced, my dad live in a house that had a stairway like this. An old mansion had been divided up into apartments. I used those stairs as a hideaway. I read, I daydreamed, and I pondered such unmentionables as Why is there no toilet paper in this house?, What's government cheese, and why does Dad's housemate have some?, and "Gosh that housemate throws up a lot!"

So, if there's any way you can make this into some kind of retreat area, that'd rock. Right now I'm picturing some kind of tapestry covered over the bottom of the stairs, hanging from the ceiling to make a division. A small altar to something or someone--Elvis, God, Bhuddha A CD player. Pillows. Candles. A a sturdy platform rigged up in some manner, so you weren't sitting on stairs. Maybe envision a box with the same measurements as the staircase and then put upside-down*. A basket of yarn and knitting needles. Snacks. A copy of "The Miracle of Mindfulness"

A secret lair!

*I can't figure out how to describe this in words. Think 3-D Tetris.
posted by Stewriffic at 7:26 PM on June 3, 2008 [1 favorite]

See THE SEVEN YEAR ITCH with Marilyn Monroe. They had the same layout ("A stairway to nowhere! I think that's just elegant.") and decorated it in some interesting ways.
posted by JPowers at 8:23 PM on June 3, 2008

Well, I would make excited squealy noises and go fishtank crazy, but, uh, that's probably not very book-compatible, is it.

I would suggest you browse Apartment Therapy for ideas - a bit pretentious sometimes, but they do provide a lot of ideas for the creative use of space, often from apartment dwellers themselves.
posted by bettafish at 8:53 PM on June 3, 2008

Photos tend to look really cool arranged like that.

I would be tempted to secure a roll of butcher paper to the top, then draw/write, pull, when it gets to the bottom, wrip, repeat.
posted by sondrialiac at 9:27 PM on June 3, 2008

From Apartment Therapy: staircase bookshelves
posted by Helga-woo at 4:57 AM on June 4, 2008

I would carpet them thickly and have sex on them.

I miss having a carpeted staircase to romp on, they are fun!
posted by Unicorn on the cob at 11:38 AM on June 4, 2008

I meant the remaining 12 stairs, obviously... just in case that wasn't clear.
posted by Unicorn on the cob at 11:38 AM on June 4, 2008

Cascading aquariums? The sort where the water from the top aquarium flows into the aquarium below.
posted by tobtoh at 2:16 AM on June 5, 2008

oh just thought of another use ... mount a basketball hoop at the top ... ta da .. you have an 'automatic' ball return :)
posted by tobtoh at 2:18 AM on June 5, 2008

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