The homify guide to staircase designs

Johannes van Graan Johannes van Graan
The Hambly House, dpai architecture inc dpai architecture inc Modern Corridor, Hallway and Staircase
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It makes sense that a staircase is one of the most vital and practical fixtures in an entire house. But very few realize that staircases also have the power to become standout décor pieces, especially if some proper planning goes into the design (and location, and size… ) of those steps.

Thus, to help you reach new design heights (with some designs courtesy of our best Interior Designers/Decorators and more), let’s take a look at what you should consider when scoping out new staircase options…  

1. A history of staircases

From the very first designs that were carved into rock faces to modern-day staircases encompassing a rich variety of styles and sizes, stairs have evolved just like everything else in architecture/design… and life. 

Some of today’s most inspiring staircase designs include The Vatican’s winding steps and the grand structures inside Buckingham Palace.

2. The most popular styles of staircases

There exists numerous stair styles to consider. However, the most popular ones (which could be ideal for your particular interiors) include:

• Open: allowing you to see through and between the steps;

• Closed: with the treads and risers hidden by the stair strings;

• Curved: ensuring a softer way to transition between different floors;

• U-shaped;

• L-shaped;

• Spiral.

3. The key features of a staircase

To help you sound more informed when you eventually venture outside to scope out potential staircases for your home, remember the following:

• Newels is what we call the large post at the bottom- and top parts of the stairs, and are sometimes used at key junctures. 

• Spindles/balusters refer to the small posts installed vertically along a staircase.

4. The key features of a staircase (part 2)

• Tread is the horizontal part that one steps on (and its size forms part of the building regulations).

• Nosing refers to the front of the tread hanging over the riser (and it’s legally required in all domestic staircase designs).

• Riser is the vertical space between the steps. 

5. Choosing the right staircase: Space

Depending on your available indoor space, you may need to move your dream staircase to a completely different area. Keep in mind that to make it work, you are either going to have to work with what you’ve got or expand your home for more indoor space.

homify hint: Spiral staircases are the best at conserving valuable space (both floor and vertical). 

6. Choosing the right staircase: Style

Consider the design style of your interiors, as well as the appropriate materials. For instance, for a traditional home, your stairs can be made from wood, wrought iron, marble, granite, or stone even. And for a modern/contemporary space, materials like stainless steel, acrylic materials, and glass are the trendiest. 

7. Choosing the right staircase: Budget

This is certainly one of the first things you consider: how much money you’re willing to fork out for your new staircase. But ask yourself which route is best to follow: stopping mid-way through a renovation due to a lack of funds, or building a simple staircase structure that’s 100% practical and then just altering and bettering it along the way? 

8. Choosing the right staircase: Storage

What sort of storage does your staircase provide? Can you create one large spot underneath those steps to store coats, bags, shoes, etc? Or are simple floating shelves or a bookcase adequate to keep that interior clutter at bay?  

9. Choosing the right staircase: Safety

Although style is important, safety is crucial. Thus, if you have kids or elderly people using your staircase, don’t even think twice about including handrails, avoiding slippery surfaces, installing adequate lighting, etc.

Speaking of which…  

10. Choosing the right staircase: Lighting

Heading up or down a dark staircase in a gloomy room is a definite no-no. But if your staircase is rather far from windows and glass doors that usher in sunlight, look to these tips to draw more natural light inside: 

• Installing a fanlight above the door closest to the base of your staircase;

• Adding a rooflight above your stairwell;

• Building a full-height (or very large) window on your half-landing or the top of the staircase.

Maybe these 7 decorating ideas for those on a budget can also inspire you?

Are you considering a staircase makeover in your home?

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