It’s a staircase type, or more specifically, a style. There are several attributes. They include simple, clean lines, alternative materials such as steel, cable and glass (often used with wood) and alternative design elements such as modified stringer and riser designs (see our parts of a staircase to learn more).
We’d be remiss if we didn’t include in our definition what it’s not. It’s not ornamental such as spindles and curves. It’s not curving or grand; instead usually straight or in a switchback style.
There is no single design that is modern, as you’ll see below. We feature a huge collection of modern staircases in our gallery below and while the designs vary widely, they all fall under the modern style.
Modern illuminated wood stairs against a white wall and no balustrade.
Solid metal stairs built as one solid molded unit.
This is not our only floating modern staircase example. You’ll notice there’s no supports under the upper portion of the steps (tread and risers).
Simple white and natural wood staircase in a mid-century modern home.
Modern stairs with no railing.
No risers or stringers (in traditional stair design)
Modern style staircase with no railing, solid wood tread and steel support beam replacing traditional stringers and risers.
Modern staircase in foyer with lights and glass balustrade. The lights are mounted into the wall shining light onto the tread and risers.
Modern stairs with glass balustrade. This design is clever with the lower half of the switchback design in natural wood and the upper half all white.
Modern carpeted stairs
Modern wood stairs with carpet runner.
Modern stair railing
Modern steel stair railing. Modern railings / balustrades often incorporate alternative materials such as steel, cable and glass. This is a fine example with stainless steel.
Modern spiral stairs
Modern spiral staircase with wood steps attached to central pool. The dark wood steps constrast nicely with the white support pole and white balustrade.
Modern loft stairs
Modern industrial loft stairs against exposed brick wall. The stringers are solid steel while the treads are wood. No risers used. This is much like a simple deck stairs design.
Modern loft stairs with office underneath. The stairs are one solid concrete form with wood boards placed on top for a polished look. The form “floating” design creates room under the staircase for a small office. I love how the desk plank matches the wood planks used as tread surface on the concrete stairs.
modern basement stairs with shelving balustrade. I have to admit that this is the first design I’ve seen where the balustrade is a shelving unit. Clever and unique.
Modern storage staircase
Modern stairs with shelving. This is a really clever design how the tiered shelving extends off the actual steps creating a seamless combination of display shelving and stairs.