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Cat Drawer Under Stair Storage: Before and After

The Cat Drawer

July 11, 2011 Sarah Coggins
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I’m constantly on a quest to better improve the use of space in our small home and am quite proud of this idea. Backing up to when we bought our house in March 2003, it was just me, Trent & our 2 cats. The cats’ litter box tucked away perfectly into the “nook” in our then computer/scrap/miscellaneous room. After our sonĀ arrived and we decided to turn that room into his room, the computer/scrap stuff moved into the guest room and the cat litter box moved to our foyer for lack of space anywhere else. Isn’t that just a welcome sight? See our front door on the right? Literally walk in and “hello, cat toilet.” šŸ˜‰

Cat Drawer Under Stair Storage Before

The litter box lived in our foyer for about a year. A year of me grimacing as I walked past it constantly headed up or down the stairs, in or out the door. Finally I had an “ah ha!” moment. Let’s cut into the dead space under the stairs and shove that box back in there. Ok, so it should look a little nicer than that, but there was my initial plan. Our laundry closet claims most of the under stair space (it’s behind the closet door on the left), but then as far as we knew there was nothing.

Creating the Cat Drawer

Under our son’s watchful eye, Trent cut the initial hole so we could see exactly what we were dealing with:

Cat Drawer Under Stair Storage Step1

Cat Drawer Under Stair Storage Step2

After leaning into the hole several times to take measurements and sketching up details, we decided on our size and pretty much maxed out the height & width. Trent cut the hole to the correct dimension. We added a base of 2x4s and slid in a plywood box we built to house the drawers. Our assistant helped with the clean up. šŸ˜‰

Cat Drawer Under Stair Storage Clean Up

Next we framed it out and added the drawers we built. We temporarily taped up the hole in the bottom drawer to keep our nosey curious cats out until we completed the project:

Cat Drawer Under Stair Storage Step3

Added drawer fronts:

Cat Drawer Under Stair Storage Step4

Finally, we added textured wall paper and wood trim before painting the drawers semi-gloss white to match the existing trim and closet doors. Screwed the frame for the cat door in place (we’ve left the actual door off while the cats adjust). Added bronze drawer pulls to match those in the kitchen.

The Completed Project

Here’s a look at the completed project (and glimpse of our freshly painted door & shined kickplate that I mentioned needed a little TLC):

Cat Drawer Under Stair Storage After

The top drawer is for miscellaneous stuff (hats, gloves, etc). The bottom drawer houses the cats’ litter box and the Litter Locker:

Cat Drawer Under Stair Storage Interior

We intentionally designed the drawer to fit the two pieces in this manner so the cats have to walk down a “hall.” This design, along with the small piece of carpeting, helps keep the litter in the drawer. The very bottom is lined with sheet vinyl to allow for easy cleanup – which thankfully has not been an issue so far. Seems the cats like their new private space.

Cat Drawer Under Stair Storage: Before and After

Can I brag a minute and say how much I’m loving this?? I dreamed it would look good (and probably drove Trent nuts talking for months about how we should do this) and am pretty darn proud of our hard work. It took many hours over several weekends mainly while our sonĀ napped for us to complete it but so worth it. And, it was fairly easy on the pocket – about $150.

Reclaim unused space beneath your stairs and hide away that litter box with this clever DIY cat drawer.

Linked up to IHeart Organizing.
Shared with Nate Berkus ShowĀ and with’s I Did It!.


  • allison c July 11, 2011 at 7:23 am
    You should be proud. It is a creative idea and wonderfully executed. I love my creative, DIY friend! :)
  • Benita July 11, 2011 at 7:25 am
    What an awesome idea! Wonder if I could do a 'dog' drawer? :) You need to market this!
  • Lauren July 11, 2011 at 5:19 pm
    I can't get over how creative and resourceful you are. You need to have a show on HGTV and DIY!!! I would so watch everyday. I have some projects over here which could use your help!
  • Janet July 12, 2011 at 9:01 am
    What a fabulous idea! I never would have come up with something that creative. And the end result looks so nice!
  • Lucy and Larry July 12, 2011 at 1:50 pm
  • ShellyRaeWood July 12, 2011 at 2:10 pm
    Okay, this is seriously brilliant! Great job and thank you for sharing! :)
  • Julie S. July 12, 2011 at 2:32 pm
    This is genius! :)
  • Linda July 12, 2011 at 5:53 pm
    This is just awesome! I'm glad that your cats like it too.
  • Bonnie July 12, 2011 at 6:40 pm
    This is ingenious, Sarah!
  • Lucy Designs July 13, 2011 at 9:39 am
    Brilliant! I love it!
  • ter@waaoms July 28, 2011 at 11:00 am
    what a good idea!
    I guess my only question is, is it breathable for the cats?? do they just go in there, do their business and come right out?? or do they stay in there for any length of time?
  • Louiā™„ April 18, 2012 at 5:13 pm
    What a wonderful idea!
    I would never have thought of this solution in a million years! So creative1
    You should really post this at several other blogs so other Cat lovers can view this unique idea! As a mom to three rescues, I would surely use this idea!! perhaps you should consider a patent?
  • Michelle Nahom September 17, 2013 at 12:38 pm
    What an awesome idea! I bet the cats love it. And it looks nice too!
  • Kat W July 19, 2015 at 3:12 pm
    Thats a crafty idea. My cats would never use that it is too enclosed. if your cat(s) is using the box you have one awesome cat.
    • Sarah Coggins July 21, 2015 at 8:54 am
      Both cats used it. We had no issues. I don't think they found it too different than the enclosed box itself. We've since moved so now the box is in the corner of the laundry room.
      • Jaquie Carden September 7, 2021 at 5:11 pm
        Hi Sarah! Where did you find the pieces to make the drawers? Or did you just buy drawers from somewhere? Everywhere we are looking it's hundreds of dollars for drawers so I think we aren't looking for the right items. I like how you built the box for the drawers - I think we'll try to do that, just not sure what the step after that was and where you got the items from! Thanks for your help! We love how yours turned out and our tiny townhome really needs this addition so her litter box doesn't sit in our living room (Which is the only spot it fits) Thanks in advance!
        • Sarah Coggins September 7, 2021 at 10:12 pm
          Jaquie, hello! We built the drawers from scratch using plywood. Then installed into the box with cabinet drawer slides. I hope this helps with your project and getting the litter box out of the living room!
  • KJ September 25, 2015 at 10:13 am
    What are the measurements? how tall and wide for the opening and how deep? thank you! kj
    • Sarah Coggins September 25, 2015 at 9:14 pm
      The overall box was approximately 29" high, 27" wide and 33" deep. The lower drawer approximately 18" high within the box. These measurements are based on my notes as we no longer live in the house. Keep in mind if you decide to create your own, you need to open up the space to see exactly how much room you have to work with. We made the box as big as possible without adding any angles to keep it simple, but also maximize our storage space.
  • Nancy May 5, 2018 at 3:08 pm
    Love this. Have a contractor scheduled Monday to come look at our under-the-stairs space to see what we can fit & an Ikea drawer assembly in my Ikea online cart(!) Where did you buy the cat door frame without a lucite door flap (we have a cat door installed in our master bathroom closet, but had to tape up the lucite door flap because he didn't think it worth the trouble to push on that to enter the litter box closet~! All the cat doors I see online have either lucite door flaps or rubber flaps like a car wash. I guess I could break it off...but if there is a door frame sans the lucite, I'd prefer to purchase that one!
    • Sarah Coggins May 7, 2018 at 9:14 pm
      How exciting! I hope your cat enjoys the new spot as well as our cats did. The cat door kit we purchased did come with a door - we just left it off while the cats adjusted. I think we purchased it locally at a pet store.
  • Kelsey August 4, 2020 at 10:10 am
    What is the white/blue bin? Brand?
    • Sarah Coggins August 4, 2020 at 7:27 pm
      It's a Litter Locker - one of the original litter disposal systems. I don't think they are made anymore. We now use a newer, similar type - Litter Genie.

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    Hi! I'm a DIY and craft obsessed mom to 2. I have my hands covered in sawdust or paint any given day. My husband and kids join me in many of our projects. When we aren't creating at home, we're creating memories in our many adventures. Join along! Read More


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