“ Brand: Argos / Type: Storage Unit „
This storage unit came in handy in our previous house, where we had a gap under the stairs but no cupboard built in. This meant we had storage space, but it was becoming cluttered and unsightly, and so rather than build a cupboard to hide these items, we bought this understairs storage unit. We have since bought a house with a basement so we have no understairs area as such, so we use this in our spare room to decoratively store some ornaments and our spare hi-fi for guests to use when they come to stay.
The storage unit currently retails at £37.99 on the Argos website. I don't remember paying this much for it, but maybe we had a gift card or vouchers which reduced the price. To be honest, it seems quite highly priced for what it is. It comes flat-packed, and we brought it home in the car without any problems fitting it in the boot with the back seats folded down. It weighs 11kg which is too heavy for me to lift by myself but was no problem for my husband as he's used to lifting IT equipment by himself at work.
The exact dimensions of this unit are height 87.5cm, width 81.5cm, and depth 24cm. I guess to describe it as an understairs unit, they are restricted to the size as most stairs offer the same space underneath. Therefore, the unit is made to fit standard understair spaces. Our old house had the classic 13 stairs, and this just slotted underneath perfectly.
I can't really comment on the assembly of this unit, as I usually leave any DIY to the man of the house, but from what I can remember it didn't take long to put together and was mainly assembled by use of an alyn key. Everything he needed to put the unit together was contained within the packaging. I can usually judge by his mood and the level of swearing how difficult such items are, and this was a fairly straightforward one.
The design of this unit is wider at the bottom then gets progressively smaller towards the top. It has no back to it. The wood is beech effect, but unless you have other furniture in your hall it's unlikely you'll need to match it with anything. The unit has four shelves, although the top shelf is very narrow to allow it to fit under the stairs, and so you do lose storage space towards the top. We used this unit to store things like shoes, scarves, my husband's motorbike helmet, handbags, and various other items which seem to accumulate under the stairs. It can look quite cluttered but is still an improvement on having everything stored on the floor. The Argos website describe this as an understairs SHOE storage unit, but I would say it's possible to use this for other purposes than that. As I mentioned earlier, we use it in our spare room as it doubles up as a storage unit and bedside table.
Cleaning the unit can be a bit fiddly, as it does get dusty due to having no back to it and being in an area which has a constant flow of traffic. I use a duster and furniture polish, but it's a bit fiddly having to move everything that's on the shelves to make sure it looks clean. The lack of backing to this unit is necessary to allow it to fit under the stairs either facing left or right, depending on which way your stairs go, if that makes sense.
Overall, this unit is a good option for utilising the space under the stairs which is usually either wasted or looks cluttered. It can also be used in other rooms, or would perhaps be useful in a loft room where the ceiling height is restricted. It's a little awkward to clean but the unit isn't massive so cleaning doesn't take long. My only gripe is at the price, as I think it's a little expensive for what is a fairly basic design. That said, this unit has moved house with us and is still in good condition. The shelves are sturdy and can take a decent weight without buckling. I would recommend this unit when space is restricted.
(This review may also be posted on Ciao under the username Gingerkitty)
I'd finally had enough of our hallway being an obstacle course of stilettos, trainers and boots so I reached for my trusty Argos catalog in an urgent quest for a shoe rack. After looking at a few conventional shoe racks I was attracted to the understairs storage unit, not because I wanted to fit it under some stairs (I live in a flat so don't even have any stairs) but because it looked quite funky. So off I went to Argos, parted with just under £35 and struggled back to my car with a flat pack labeled 'understairs storage unit'....
Test 1: Assembly
Practical skills have never been my strong suit so I settled down to look at the instruction paper for assembly with a degree of trepidation. Fortunately it was printed clearly, and only a screwdriver was required (even I own one of them.) Within 30 minutes, and without any tears or temper tantrums, I had a new shoe rack. I therefore estimate that a 'normal' person could probably build it in around ten minutes.
Test 2: Would I still like it in 'real life' outside the catalog photo?
Flush from my success at building it I felt a bit disappointed that it wasn't as big as I imaged it would be, although since Argos clearly gave the dimensions ((H)87.5, (W)81.5, (D)24cm) this was the fault of my own expectations rather than misleading advertising. The finish of it was fairly good, and the beech effect managed to avoid appearing too 'cheap'. Once I'd arranged some of my shoes on it (15 pairs initially, the 20 when I doubled up some of the ballet-pump style ones) I decided it did look rather modern and funky, and happily I did quite like it. The sizes of the shelves were perfect for shoes.
Test 3: Endurance
So, having had it for over 3 months, how is it standing up to daily abuse? I'm pleased to report its actually doing rather well, still looking as good as the day I proudly built it.
In summary: a good alternative to a conventional shoe rack.
I had loads of clutter building up in my hallway such as shoes, newspapers, magazines & telephone directories. In a bid to clean these up & tidy up the area, I decided to purchase one of these understairs storage units.
I'm very glad I did now as it has proved extremely useful. It has allowed me to store stuff under the stairs which is an area which would not normally be used for anything but previously I hadn't come across such a unit. It has four shelves and stores almost everything I needed it for such as shoes & magazines. I also love the beech effect as this fits in perfectly with the remainder of my decor.
The unit comes flat packed & is easy to assemble with relatively clear & concise instructions. Available for around £35, it's not bad value either for such a unit.
One of my minor gripes with the item is that I'm not convinced how good quality the materials used actually are. I've already noticed a few chips on the item.
If you're looking for a storage unit to utilise what would normally be dead space under the stairs then this could be the one to go for.
Home Furniture / Size: Height 87.5 / Width 81.5 / Weight 11kg