190+ Spectacular Staircase Designs (Photos & Staircase Design Guide)
Welcome to our extensive staircase photo gallery as well as detailed information about the types of stairs and parts of a stair.
In simplest terms, a staircase bridges two floors of a building. As with any structural component, a stairway can define the style of a home.
Spanning various styles and materials, we’ll take a look at staircases that may wow, inspire, or excite you. Others may bore you, irk you, or leave you feeling dissatisfied. Whether you’re looking for modern staircase, minimalist staircase, spiral staircase, or contemporary staircase ideas Home Stratosphere has you covered.
It’s only when you stop to look at the individual elements of the staircase that you can begin to decipher your responses to it. How is it constructed? What elements are showcased? What parts are minimized? What building materials are used?
As a short primer, some terminology can be helpful.
As you know, staircases are made up of steps. Steps in turn are usually made up of a tread – where your foot lands – and risers – the vertical portion between the treads.
Supporting the treads and risers are what are called “stringers”, typically one on each side. Stringers hold up the treads and risers.
The balustrade, or railing system, is the system of handrails (banisters) and spindles (balusters) that keeps people from falling over the edge.
Beyond this, there are many other components of a staircase – present in some, and missing in others – that make up its design.
Let’s take a look at a sampling of some staircases. You can decide which ones work for you, and which ones don’t. Keep in mind that the context of a staircase is just as important as the staircase itself.
New & Updated Photo Gallery
Main parts of a staircase
In order to get a better understanding of stairs, check out our parts of a staircase diagram to the right.
Main parts explained:
Riser: The riser is the height between steps (i.e. treads). Some stairs have closed risers while others have open risers. You’ll notice that many of the modern staircases in our gallery have open risers.
Tread: A tread is the step. Some modern staircases have floating treads jutting out of the wall or a central pole in the case of spiral staircases.
Newel: The main supporting post at the bottom of the staircase.
Stringer: A stringer can be open which gives the staircase a jagged side profile (see diagram to the right). Stringers can also be closed which means the treads (steps) are placed into grooves.
Baluster: The “fence” so to speak running up the length of the staircase. Balusters can be a series of spools but can also be closed in with glass or other materials. In some staircases (see our gallery below), the baluster is a series of horizontal cables.
Handrail: The railing sitting on top of the baluster.
Depending on the complexity of the staircase, there may be many other components, but the above list is a listing of the main components found on most staircases.
Types of Stairs
As you research and look at many staircase photos and designs, you’ll quickly notice that there are not many different types of stairs.
The following are the main types of stairs:
- Straight stairs;
- Three-quarter turn;
- 180 degree turn;
- Spiral; and
For the home, most stairs are built with wood, but some are glass, steel or even concrete.
As for the step material, wood, carpet, laminate, concrete and glass are the main materials. I’m partial to carpet on the stairs, not because it looks best, but because it’s soft and offers additional grip. Hardwood surface stairs, while they look amazing, can be deadly. Besides, we have young kids and I’m much more comfortable with them on our carpeted stairs than our hardwood stairs.
If you have hardwood stairs and have the same concerns, you can easily install a carpet runner which can look great. You see the hard wood on the side of the carpet. It’s a nice effect and very practical.
Below is the original staircase gallery. We kept it because many people bookmark our site and may want to be able to see the original.
Original Photo Gallery
If this minimalist staircase appeals to you, you may enjoy this project featuring a simple metal staircase in an ultra modern home.
If you love the look of minimalism combined with natural wood, be sure and check out our partner features by PartiDesign!
The darker wood on these stairs is offset by the beautiful lighter wood of the glossy hardwood flooring.
A well placed area rug is always in style!