One of the most basic of structural elements, staircases have in some shape or form carried people vertically from Point A to Point B since at least Neolithic times. John Templer, in his seminal two-volume study, The Staircase, views the subject from all angles as an “art object, structural idea, manifestation of pomp and manners, behavioral setting, controller of our gait, political icon, legal prescription, and poetic fancy.” We invite you to do the same as you look through our curated gallery of staircase design ideas.
1. Bifurcated Staircase Divides and Conquers Space
This bifurcated staircase serves as the divider of a home’s great room and provides left and right options for accessing the second floor. An imperial staircase is another name for this design, which splits flights into two sections after a landing platform. Historically, bifurcated or imperial staircases can be traced back to the 16th century and Spanish King Philip II’s El Escorial royal residence, the largest building constructed during the Renaissance. Designed by architect Juan Bautista de Toledo, books have been written about the architectural impact of El Escorial’s monumental interior staircase. Anyone who installs a bifurcated staircase should be looking for the same kind of reaction. Functionally, it’s a people mover, and aesthetically, it gets maximum points for the wow factor.
2. Three-Quarter Turn Design Features Hardwood Stairs
Three-quarter turn staircase, with two landings, features hardwood steps and platform with chrome and glass used for the railing. This design is usually seen in spaces with above-average ceiling height dimensions,
3. Elegant Curved Staircase Fans Out into Foyer
An elegant curved staircase features dark wood throughout the structure. Curved, or helical, staircases are similar to spiral staircases but without the need for a central support axis. First making their appearance in 15th-century Late Gothic Spanish architecture, helical designs evolved out of much older spiral staircases. The treads and risers can fan out, like in the example above, taking up space but also creating more elsewhere. Not as important now but in older dimly-lit buildings the curved design enabled more flexibility in illuminating spaces with natural light.
4. Floating Spiral Staircase Snakes its Way Through Interior
A floating spiral staircase made of metal snakes its way around a central pole. Spiral staircases have been around for thousands of years, with the 185 steps at Trajan’s Column in Rome, built in 113 CE, being the oldest still in existence. Cast-iron metal spiral staircases became popular in the 19th century. Antoni Gaudi designed art nouveau wrought-iron railings for the spiral staircases in many of the buildings he built in Barcelona. The spiral staircase shown above is a well-structured update on a very classic design.
5. Flowing Lines Swirl in Constant Architectural Motion
This winding modern staircase carries users up and down between a foyer and a second story. The structure features a glass railing and steps that gradually widen and end at a raised stone tile platform. There doesn’t appear to be any right angles in the double-height space — like Antoni Gaudí‘s Barcelona architectural jewels, the flowing lines of the wood, stone, and glass appear to be swirling in constant motion.
6. Window Draws in Natural Light Above Half-Turn Staircase
Staircases are architectural networks that bring together the different elements of a space. This home features a half-turn design with hardwood floors, gray walls, and glass windows and doors. A large window installed above the staircase draws in natural light.
7. Tiny House Staircase Doubles as Storage Space
Tiny house features an espresso-finished staircase surrounded by wooden walls and hardwood floors. Spacing between the risers and treads of the staircase creates room for storage.
8. Baroque Metal Railing Augments Traditional Curved Staircase Design
Foyer features marble tile floors and a helical staircase with an elegant baroque metal railing and tile steps.
9. Wall-Mounted Step Lights Illuminate Straight Staircase
Contemporary home features a straight staircase with a glass railing and wall-mounted lights at every third step. One wall is made up of large glass doors and window providing plenty of natural light into the space.
10. Pendant Light Fixture Illuminates Curved Hardwood Staircase
A curved staircase features hardwood steps and white railings with a pendant light fixture suspended from the ceiling.
11. Straight Staircase Features Cable Railing
A straight staircase features wooden steps with metal riser supports and a cable railing. The space also includes hardwood flooring that matches the stairs and recessed lighting.
12. Curved Staircase Provides Elegant Design Solution in Foyer
Spacious foyer offers a wide range of design options, with a curved staircase providing an elegant solution with its wrought iron railings. The room also includes ceramic tile flooring as well as recessed and wall-mounted lights.
13. Modern Half-Turn Staircase Features Cable and Wood Railing
Space with a double-height ceiling features a half-turn wooden staircase with a combination wood and cable railing. The area also includes light hardwood floors, modern wall art, wall-mounted lamps, and natural light streaming in through large windows.
14. Wall-Mounted Step Lights Illuminate Hardwood Floating Staircase
Spacious apartment features an elegant hallway with hardwood floors and a floating staircase with hardwood steps and wall-mounted step lights.
15. Glass Panels and Metal Railing Used with Straight Staircase
Floating modern straight staircase features wooden steps and glass panels with a metal railing. A large glass wall looking out onto back pool area brings in plenty of natural light.
16. Staircase Landing Features Carpeted Flooring
17. Quarter-Turn Staircase Designed with Glass Panels
Spacious foyer area with ceramic tile flooring features a quarter-turn staircase with glass panels and wooden handrail. The room is lit with recessed lighting as well as wall-mounted and table lamps.
18. Hardwood Staircase Matches Flooring in Foyer
This home’s 180-degree-turn hardwood staircase features white spindle railings, wooden handrails, and carpeted steps. The wooden steps match the foyer’s hardwood flooring, with French doors leading to a study.
19. Marble Staircase Features Wrought-Iron Railing
Entry features an elegant marble staircase with a wrought-iron railing, a wood-burning fireplace, textured walls, and tile flooring. Illumination in the double-height space comes from a pendant light fixture, wall-mounted lamps, and a large window.
20. Light Hardwood Staircase Contrasts with Dark Hardwood Floors
Light hardwood staircase features wooden posts and handrails with metal spindles. The space also includes darker hardwood flooring at the base of the stairs.