Asked on Feb 07, 2016

How to hide pull down stairs

by Shansmow
I'm in the process of renovating a 1972 home that I inherited. Since I'm going with an open concept some walls were moved, etc. and the old access door to the attic had to be converted to pull down stairs (due to code according to my contractor). The contractor said the only place that these stairs can be placed was in the hall that leads to the bedrooms and guest bathroom. I'm changing the rope that bops everyone in the head into a handle but, I'm stumped on how to make this cheap piece of wood look more attractive. Thanks for any and all suggestions!
  15 answers
  • Dfm Dfm on Feb 08, 2016
    i'll be happy to wait for replies as well.....I have the same issue. my stairs tho are brown stained and are a big dark hole in the ceiling. caulking and weatherizing them was not fun...previous owner oiled all, and i do mean all, the wood in this house.
    • Shansmow Shansmow on Feb 08, 2016
      @Dfm hopefully some of these suggestions will help you! Maybe you'll be able to do something like George Wilhite suggested.
  • Julie Cassidy Julie Cassidy on Feb 08, 2016
    Add a light that will hang from the attic stair panel. Convert the existing light to a hanging light drum shade, screw in a cup hook to stair panel posed, swing it to the middle of the stair panel board, and hang. If you can, find an oblong or rectangular drum shade cover.
    • Shansmow Shansmow on Feb 08, 2016
      @Thank You Julie Cassidy. I'll have to think about this one. I'm not sure if my ceilings are tall enough for that but it sounds like a great idea!
  • I would get rid of the rope and put in a nice handle (you can paint the same color as the ceiling) -so you could grab with some sort of handled hook to get up to the attic. I would make sure the door and woodwork are painted the same color as the ceiling to help blend. I would work on hiding and blending the door because you do not want it to the focal point. As for the light at the end of the hallway I think it looks nice and if that rope wasn't there you would see it more. Make sure to have artwork and photos on the wall so the eye is not drawn up. the only other way would have been to eliminate the attic access or make the hole smaller and forego the pull down stairs
    • Shansmow Shansmow on Feb 08, 2016
      @The Garden Frog with C Renee The door and frame are already painted the same as the ceiling and I like the idea of a handle. And thanks for the comment about the light....I really like it, too. :-)
  • Pete Sakes Pete Sakes on Feb 08, 2016
    "we noticed the attic drop down stairs. Mike and his Innkeeper wife, Laura, had a muralist creatively paint the drop down piece in the ceiling, so it became art."
  • Catalina Martinez Catalina Martinez on Feb 08, 2016
    maybe a nice chain to hang up against the wall. and you could also stencil a nice design on the door. making it pop
  • Johnchip Johnchip on Feb 08, 2016
    You might try using some more trim to create the full ceiling to have equal frames of trims that make the one disappear into a latice of ceiling frames..
  • George Wilhite George Wilhite on Feb 08, 2016
    We had such a door one one side toward the rear in the garage we converted to a library/pool room. It needed more light anyway, so we made 2 crown molding boxes the size of the door. Ran the wiring from the old garage light to 2 utility shop lights. Mounted one on bottom of attic door and one in same spot on other side of room. placed the crown molding boxes around them and put a patterned panel in the bottom (facing the floor) of the crown molding box. Just made sure to place wiring in appropriate flexible protection in a channel on the door and securely fasten both the wiring and the fixture. Now looks like two suspended decorative box lights that match the crown molding in the room. Worked for us because we usually don't go up there very much, so the door is almost never opened (twice a year to get Christmas decorations out and put back?).
    • Shansmow Shansmow on Feb 08, 2016
      @George Wilhite . I think that's what I'm really looking for....something to help it blend in more and making it look like two suspended light boxes does give it more interest and symmetry. Great idea!
  • Sea3328407 Sea3328407 on Feb 08, 2016
    Put an eye hook in the ceiling. Use a pol with a hook on the end to open when needed.
  • Johnna E. Nonboe Johnna E. Nonboe on Feb 08, 2016
    I made the eye and hook-pol system (like seaspray's answer) on ours it's absolutely perfect. I have plans ... want to paint a picture of the sky (or something different - I haven't decided, yet) on the flat part and maybe gild the frame or just paint it in a contrasting color. Noone will think of pull down stairs but maybe wonder why we don't hang the painting on a wall ... that'll be fun ;-)
    • See 1 previous
    • Shansmow Shansmow on Feb 08, 2016
      @Thank You Johnna E. Nonboe. That is such a good idea!
  • Irene Irene on Feb 08, 2016
    Two suggestions come to mind immediately. I might put a mural of a skylight over the ceiling door showing clouds and sky above. Until I came up with a better idea (if ever), I would probably add a cup hook (or a magnet) in the inside corner of the wall, change the pull cord to a brass chain, and drape it over to the cup hook/magnet (like you would do with a roman shade) to be out of the way until I needed to use the stairs.
  • Shansmow Shansmow on Feb 08, 2016
    Based on wonderful suggestions I'm going to paint some sort of interesting design/mural on it. But first I'm taking down that stinking rope and replacing it with a handle.
  • Dfm Dfm on Feb 08, 2016
    make the handle big enough to catch w/ a Christmas tree lighting pole....the type with a hook on the end. mine just has a knob, and i have to stand on a chair to reach it.
  • Maria Chacon Maria Chacon on Feb 09, 2016
    I like the color
  • CK CK on Feb 09, 2016
    If this was mine, I'd just say "It is what it is." Keep it the same color as the ceiling to avoid bringing undue attention to it. This is a case where 'less is more'. :-)