Choosing the right type of staircase for your home is a big decision. There are space-saving staircases and then staircases designed to make a splash.
A big part of the decision hinges on how much space you have and your home’s layout. The staircase design happens early on in the blueprint phase because when you change the staircase, you alter the blueprint of the house which is a big change.
Moreover, building intricate staircases can be very complex requiring careful measuring and precise craftsmanship. It’s not something for the amateur to take one except maybe a simple staircase outdoors.
There are a good number of staircase styles to choose from. We set out 10 custom diagrams of different types of staircases below as well as different stair options via material, features and space-saving designs.
Be sure to also check out our “parts of a staircase” diagram and write-up.
Table of Contents
- A. Types of Staircases
- B. Stair Materials
- C. Space-Saving Staircase Ideas
- Open vs. Closed Stairs
- Pin this version for all types of Staircases
A. Types of Staircases
1. Straight Staircases
The straight staircase is the simplest staircase design. There are two types:
- Straight, and
- Straight with landing.
They’re the easiest type of stairs to ascend and descend as well as build.
However, they’re pretty plain and don’t offer a grand design like a winding or bifurcated staircase.
With respect to footprint, it falls in the middle as to how much footprint it takes up in the home.
2. Quarter-Turn Staircase Diagram
The quarter-turn staircase is one where it turns 90° at some point. The “quarter” refers to the degree of turn, not that it turns quarter of the way up.
This type of staircase is great for certain types of home layouts such as one with a foyer where the door is in from the wall sufficient enough to fit in part of the stairs.
It’s more interesting in design than a straight design and the turn means there will almost always be a small landing part way up.
3. Half-Turn Staircase
The half turn takes up a fair amount of footprint and can be grand in design. It turns 180°, but not in a switchback style. The upper and lower parts have a space in between them. It’s
This type can be continuous stairs or offer a landing.
4. Three-Quarter Turn
The three-quarter turn staircase is an elaborate design. You need quite a bit of space to build such a design. It include multiple landings and is usually in homes with above-average ceiling height. It wouldn’t look too good to cram all that under an 8 foot ceiling.
5. 180° Turn (a.k.a. Switchback)
This is a very popular design because it’s a decent space-saver by doubling up. It’s also a fairly simple style to build technically speaking (relative to bifurcated or winding for example).
The downside to this is it’s not all that grand of a staircase. For instance, you don’t get a view of the lower area as you descent like you do with a winding or bifurcated staircase.
6. Circular Staircase Diagram
This can be a very grand looking design and is great for taller ceilings.
With computer design software, it’s easier to put together fancy and complex curved staircases for home so you do see this and winding staircases in far more homes today than 50 years ago. Moreover, today’s homes are far larger than 50 years ago so there’s room for grander staircases.
7. Spiral Staircase
The spiral design is a great for a secondary staircase. It’s a space-saving design and actually looks cool.
The downside is it’s not easy to ascend or descent. It’s actually pretty precarious.
The steps attach to a center pole. These can be made with wood or metal.
8. Winding (Curved)
The winding design is synonymous with grand. Any time curves are involved it’s a more complex design so not only is the staircase curved, but so too is the wall it lies up against.
See our winding stairs photo gallery here.
Bifurcated is synonymous with a luxury staircase. It takes up the most space and makes for a grand entrance. It’s an imposing design for sure. This type would look silly in a small space so only consider it if you have a large foyer that fits it adequately.
This style can be straight like the diagram below shows or curved.
See our bifurcated gallery here.
B. Stair Materials
2. Two-Tone Wood
3. Wood and Steel
4. Wood and Glass
6. Steel and Cable
a. Carpeted Riser and tread
b. Carpeted tread, wooden riser
C. Space-Saving Staircase Ideas
Below we feature a couple space-saving staircase ideas, but check out our amazing collection showcasing 23 different types of space-saving stairs and staircase ideas here.
1. Built above doors (bridge-style stairs)
2. Stairs with storage underneath
3. Stairs with flex/bonus space underneath
Open vs. Closed Stairs
1. Fully open (no walls on side)
2. Partially open (one-wall)
3. Enclosed (two walls)
Pin this version for all types of Staircases
Below is our comprehensive types of staircases diagram that we welcome you to pin to your Pinterest boards.
Home Stratosphere is an award-winning home and garden online publication that’s a result of our talented researchers and writers who work directly with hundreds of professional interior designers, furniture designers, landscape designers and architects from around the world to create helpful, informative, entertaining and inspiring articles and design galleries.