Finding a Storage Space for Folding Tables & Chairs

As our (extended) family has grown, so has our collection of folding tables & chairs. They come in super handy when we’re hosting a big group for the holidays, but we’ve never had a great place to keep them all the rest of the time.

For years, we stored them all in a bump out in our basement (below the dining room window seat). The chairs stacked neatly in the bump out and we leaned the tables up against them. It wasn’t perfect, but it worked.

Before: Folding chairs stored in the "bump out" in the basement.
This is a super old picture – I (once again) neglected to take proper “before” pictures.

It worked until we decided to clean up the basement a little. I wanted it to be a brighter, fresher, cleaner space that we could use however we needed – exercise space, craft space, overflow for larger holiday events, etc. The goal wasn’t really to finish the basement, but just to fix it up enough that we didn’t mind spending time down there.

We moved out a ton of old construction materials, donated anything we didn’t think we’d use again, and planned to put everything else on the shelving units in the storage area. The folding tables and chairs were too bulky to put in with the shelving units, but we didn’t want them stored in the middle of a room that otherwise wasn’t being used for storage anymore either – so we started looking for a new home.

Folding chairs temporarily stored in the workshop.
We temporarily stored the folding chairs in the workshop. I think they multiply every time we move them.

We talked about building a closet for them somewhere in the basement, but never landed on a location, size, etc. for it that we thought made sense. Then we remembered the space under our basement stairs.

The basement shower and weird floating door to the space under the basement stairs.
Again – I didn’t take good “before” pictures – this is the best one I could find. The floating square door on the left accessed the space under the stairs.

I’m not sure what the logic was behind it, but our basement stairs had been finished without full access to the space underneath them. Instead, there was this square door floating in the middle of the wall that opened to a shelf that was about waist high. I’m not sure why, but that’s how it was when we moved in. We always thought it was a little odd. We’d been storing our paint cans in there, but it was really a waste of space since all the room below the shelf wasn’t being used.

So, we moved the paint cans out, took the shelf out, and cut the door opening bigger.

The new (bigger, but still short) closet door for under the stairs.
The larger (although still short) closet door for the space under the stairs.

The square door that had been there before was just built out of the same tongue and groove siding that’s on the wall, with a few added trim pieces around the edges. So, Chad was able to extend it pretty easily. He used the pieces of siding that he had cut out of the wall to extend the length of the door and applied some fresh trim pieces around the edges.

We then primed and painted the “new” door with the rest of the room, added some new hardware, and installed a magnetic closure.

The new closet door is primed.
Primed.
Painting the new closet door the finished color SW 7506 - Loggia.
Painting in progress – finished color is Sherwin Williams Loggia (SW7506).

For the rest of the closet, we just cleaned up the area under the stairs a little. We found the same old carpet that had been in the “big room” under the stairs as well, so we ripped that out, cleaned the floor well, and put down a coat of floor paint. Then we patched, cleaned, and painted the walls of the closet too, just to freshen it up a bit.

Painting the closet floor with Sherwin WIlliams Porch & Floor Enamel in Peppercorn (SW7674)
Painting the closet floor with Sherwin Williams Porch & Floor Enamel in Peppercorn – SW7674.

We did buy enough of the PVC floor tiles that we installed in the “big room” to do the closet under the stairs as well, but we haven’t installed them yet. There’s lots of cut pieces needed, so it’s a good place to use up scraps from the other rooms. We figure we’ll come back and finish the floor in the closet once we have all of the tiles installed in the basement bathroom. That’ll hopefully be later this winter.

The new under stairs closet.
Our “new” under stairs closet.

We weren’t entirely sure how much the closet would hold, but figured we would fit as much as we could and pare down our collection of folding tables & chairs a little if we needed to. It turns out, though, that the space under our stairs was the perfect size for storing all of it. We were able to fit all 22 folding chairs, 3 six-foot folding tables (the kind that fold in half), 1 square card table and a high chair in there with no issues – we even had enough room to stash a twin bed frame in the “new” closet, too.

All the folding chairs and tables fit - plus a bed frame and a high chair!
Folding chairs stashed under the stairs.
so. many. folding chairs.

I do think I’ll add a battery operated, motion sensing light in the closet at some point since it can be a little dark in there. And Chad’s talked about maybe adding a vent in the wall to help with air flow since it can get a little stale sometimes, but those are quick things if we decide to do them.

New closet & closet door under the basement stairs.

In the meantime, our “new” under stairs closet area is already working out to be a valuable storage space. And the bump out that used to be used as storage of all of our folding furniture is now cleared out and cleaned up and the perfect space to keep our little fridge.

The bump out where we used to store the folding tables & chairs is no longer used for storage.

I love when a simple, inexpensive change like this one comes together to make a noticeable difference in how usable a space is!

Filed Under: Cleaning and Organizing,Home Improvement

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