Reviewed by Louise Totton
I have moved home recently, and whilst most of the house will need modernising and some renovation, the hall is one of the areas that I need to tackle first. We’re lucky that we have a large hall, but whilst space isn’t a massive issue, storage is. Halls can tend to be difficult spaces to get storage into as, more than other rooms, they tend to have lots of doors and windows and combined with what is often a narrow space, this can make siting storage furniture a challenge to say the least!
Our hall has a front door, a door to the playroom, a set of French doors to the lounge and a large, floor-length window as well as the staircase and a radiator which has meant that other than a chest of drawers, we haven’t been able to fit any useful storage space in there. This is all the more frustrating because of the ‘dead’ space under the stairs which we haven’t used because I’ve always thought that open stairs with things stored underneath look cluttered and untidy. And when you think about just how much space there is under the stairs, it seems like an even bigger waste – the under stairs area is very often a good height and would allow you to store the kinds of bulky items that there is just never anywhere to put: the vacuum cleaner, the ironing board, a set of golf clubs and the kids’ sports kits as well as the smaller items like shoes (most of us are constantly doing battle with Shoe Mountain), winter woollies, bits for the car and the rest of the myriad of clutter than busy families generate.
We did try putting a chest of drawers under the stairs, but to be frank, it looked a mess and we couldn’t actually get items bigger than gloves and slippers stored in it so for the last little while, it’s literally been empty, useless space. That was until last week when Clever Closet came to the house to install one of their fantastic under stairs storage units that I’d had my eye on for ages, having seen some of their adverts on social media. For those of you who haven’t seen their adverts, Clever Closet will install a fitted unit under your stairs, comprised of large drawers, tallboy cupboards or a combination of both. All of their options have a lovely, neutral and flush frontage providing an unobtrusive and simple look that can either be painted to match your home décor or left alone if you prefer a white finish.
Clever Closet have options for the smallest and the largest under stairs areas, ranging from single-drawer units going all the way up to larger units that offer six drawers plus a tallboy cupboard. All we had to do was measure our under stairs area and leave Clever Closet to come up with the different configurations for us to choose from. I was really impressed with just how much thought Clever Closet put into finding the right design for our home and for what we wanted from the storage. The opening for our under stairs isn’t the biggest, but there is an awful lot of storage inside the opening around the corner that we would effectively have lost if we’d gone for a unit that was all drawers and didn’t have a cupboard door. Because of this, and because we wanted to be able to store a vacuum cleaner as well as the fact that we found the ‘round the corner’ bit really useful for storing Christmas presents last year, we decided on the one drawer plus tallboy design.
Once we had picked the unit we wanted, we booked in the fitting appointment. We had to wait around 2 weeks for a date, which was a lot quicker than I thought it would be! We were told to allow up to a full day for installation, although ours would probably be significantly quicker as our under stairs was already open so the fitter wouldn’t have to remove any walls (Clever Closet will remove plasterboard walls as part of the service, if required); it would just be a case of building and installing the unit in our home.
When the day came for installation, Mike, our fitter arrived on-time and with everything he would need to complete the installation. Before he did anything else, he laid a protective flooring throughout the hall to make sure that our tiles weren’t damaged and that as little mess as possible would be made. He then re-measured the space to confirm that the measurements that we had given to Clever Closet were accurate before he set up his work area and started to make the wood frame for our storage.
We were really happy with our installer, and thought that he worked professionally and confidently throughout the build and the time he was in the house. He was friendly and courteous from the time he arrived to the time he left and he was clearly very good at his job. Most of the parts of the unit were built whilst the installer was in our home, so if we had got the measurements out slightly, or if the wall had been slightly irregular or wonky, this could have been taken into account and the frame would have been able to accommodate this.
All told, the installer was in our home for around four hours, including setting up and measuring time. He even cleaned up before he left, leaving my hall as tidy and dust-free as it was before he started. I can honestly say that I am beyond delighted with the end result – our unit looks fantastic and more than that, the strength and quality of the construction are quite simply outstanding. I love how the door and drawer open – they are a ‘push to open’ type, which means that they stay firmly closed and flush, but pushing them inwards releases them and they can be opened without the need for a knob or handle. The frame and the door and drawer fronts are finished in a white, matte finish but this can be easily painted should you want to. We still have to decorate our hall, so have left them as they are for now as I’m not quite sure what colour scheme I’m going to use as yet. Having said that, it does look absolutely fabulous in white and you do not by any means have to paint it at all.
The drawer will hold up to 35kg, which is a significant amount of stuff! You can easily use it to store the fluids you might need for the car (my screenwash is in a large, 5l bottle), as well as a foldable vacuum and plenty of heavy boots and shoes. We also have a removable shoe-rack installed into our drawer which allows you to keep your shoes and boots super-tidy, but can be removed in seconds should you want to store something else in there.
The drawer really is a great size, and you’d be surprised just how much you can fit into it. Because the unit is fitted, it can utilise the full depth of the stairs for storage. When I compare this to the chest of drawers that I used to have under there, the difference is immense, and it looks so neat and tidy. The tallboy unit was a great option for us as it allows us to still be able to get into the back of the cupboard and store large items in there. I do find myself wishing that I had a larger under stairs area, as I would have loved to have had the space for one of the larger units, but this unit has provided an invaluable storage solution for us and it has really helped us to tidy up our hall and the rest of the house too. We no longer have to go hunting in the garage for de-icer on a cold morning or searching the kids’ bedrooms for their gloves. We are delighted with our Clever Closet. The extra storage space that it provides is just fantastic and dealing with them has been a pleasure from start to finish. Their installer was excellent and the quality of the installation and the materials that were used are both fantastic – they even provide a 2-year guarantee to back up their products and installation. I have no hesitation in recommending them to anyone and am now looking at some of the kids’ storage and loft storage solutions they offer to see if I can squeeze some more of their clever storage solutions into the house.
Prices vary as depends on space under the stairs and whether the flatpack unit or supply & fit unit is chosen. Easy payment plans are available, meaning you can pay for the unit over twelve monthly instalments. It’s simple to get a free quote – just complete the form at https://clevercloset.co.uk/get-a-quote/.