10 Materials
4 Hours
Do you have a staircase in your house? Does it have a landing or a ‘dead zone’ at the top where usable space is just sitting there, doing nothing? Or is there some other nook or cranny that would benefit from a built-in? (Your house has a cranny? Really?)

We did. In fact, we did several years ago when we first did this project. (Note: please excuse the amateurish step-by-step photos - they are a few years old - back before we even started blogging! We weren't the professionals you see today. 😉)
Robin looked at this wasted area at the top of our staircase and knew we could use it better. She then got creative and re-imagined it as a location for a built-in bookcase and a planter. The huge window behind it gets great light - and plants would be very happy there.
This was my first-ever built-in piece of furniture or -in all honesty - my first piece of anything, ever that was built from scratch and not just adding shelves or paint or whatever to something pre-made. I’ve preached the virtues of beginners making your own built-ins like these we've made; this was the project that convinced me of that. And as “sought after” as custom built-ins are - they offer a lot to like in terms of simplicity for the first-time DIY-er.

To start out, draw out level lines and cut pieces of quarter round. You can mitre the back corners if you like, but no one will ever really see them, so let your conscience be your guide on that…  

We then added in our shelves and trim pieces of MDF along the face on the corners and the base. We kept it very simple.
Here is how it turned out in the end! For even more how -to detail - click through to our full post.

Psst! Looking for more really easy DIYs?! We've got lots more great (and not too difficult) DIY ideas!
Resources for this project:
See all materials
Any price and availability information displayed on [relevant Amazon Site(s), as applicable] at the time of purchase will apply to the purchase of this product.
Hometalk may collect a small share of sales from the links on this page.More info
Want more details about this and other DIY projects? Check out my blog post!
Frequently asked questions
Have a question about this project?
  2 questions
  • Rachael Provost Rachael Provost on Oct 19, 2018

    What does the front look like. Did you decorate it with trim or bead board can you post a picture of what you see looking up the stairs and by the way it is gorgeous!

  • Lisa West Lisa West on Oct 26, 2019

    This piece is great. Question. I did see an outlet. Does it work or did you make it where you can access the out let? O remember reading any thing about it. So thay why I'm asking. Lol it's a great shelf unit.. I can see many happy plants and holiday decorations on the shelf to. Enjoy.

Join the conversation
4 of 59 comments