Space Saving Stair Railing Shelf

Storage and Safety

A few months back I moved into a new house with a large upstairs office. The only problem with this room is that the wall around the stairwell was much too short. With small children in the house, the circumstance was unsafe and needed to be remedied. I played around with a few ideas and finally landed on the idea of a shelf system that would hang out over the opening, providing a higher wall around the opening and area for additional storage.

Space Saving Stair Rail Shelf 

Being well versed in Kee Klamp components, my design consisted of supporting the the outcropped shelves with some angled components (LC50 Kee Lite Component) and pipe. This would give the shelf the support that it needed as well as give the unit a modern look.

In the end, I am very happy with the results. Here are the steps I followed to get to the end product.

Space Saving Stair Rail Shelf - Comp 

Measuring the Space

The thought was to allow for two separate units to be propped onto the exiting rail. I measured the space to determine how long each of the shelves would need to be.


Probably the most difficult part of this project is finding or building the shelves. I have a handy father-in-law who was happy to build the shelves. He took the measurements and transformed them into what you see in the pictures. Not everyone has a handy man in the family, but you might be able to find something that will "fit" into your space. Look at IKEA and other major furniture manufactures to see if you can find an existing shelf to fit your space. If you can afford it, hire a local carpenter to do the job.

Space Saving Stair Rail Shelf

Micah helps paint the shelves. 

Shelf Pre-Install

Now the fun begins. I started by attaching the swivel fitting (LC50 Kee Lite Component) to the bottom of the shelf. I put the shelf in place and visualized how much pipe I wanted to extend from the shelf. I figured on a pipe length of 10" by positioning the second swivel on the wall and measuring the space between the components. I could have done this with some fancy math, but sometimes just putting things in place and using a tape measure is easier!

Space Saving Stair Rail Shelf

Cut the Pipe 

Having figured out the length of my pipe I cut three pieces of Schedule 40 1" aluminum pipe to 10" in length. Using a hack saw made this a snap.

Space Saving Stair Rail Shelf

Final Installation

I started the final install by attaching the pipe to the fitting already screwed to the bottom of the shelf and then by attaching the fitting to the pipe that would mount to the wall.

Space Saving Stair Rail Shelf

Attaching the pipe to the fitting on the shelf with an allen wrench.

Space Saving Stair Rail Shelf

Attaching the Fitting to the Pipe 

Then I put the shelf in place and screwed it to the railing. Someone still needed to hold the shelf, while I attached the bottom, but this insured it would stay put while attaching the angled pipes.

Space Saving Stair Rail Shelf

I drilled into the dry wall and put in some drywall plugs to receive the screw. Then using a couple of washers so that the screw head did not go through hole in the flange (it's 1/2" hole), I tightened down the screws leaving the shelf structurally supported from the bottom.

Space Saving Stair Rail Shelf

Space Saving Stair Rail Shelf


 Space Saving Stair Railing Comp

We have a shelf that protects the kids form falling down the stairwell and a great storage spot.

Hungry for more pictures, check out our flickr set.


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