Take stairs, stairways and staircases to a whole new level with these stunning staircase ideas.
Whether you prefer sweeping, traditional stairs, ultra-modern floating steps, brightly painted wooden hills, see-through risers or even steps that lights up, there are countless captivating designs of stairs and staircases that are as practical as they are impressive.
Create immediate impact by creating an architectural centrepiece, like a swooping spiral staircase, or impressive floating structure. Take inspiration from sculpural helix structures, or for something more compact the clever space-saving staircase by Bisca is unobtrusive, takes up a minimal amount of room, yet still looks great.
When it comes to staircase banister ideas, balustrades and banisters can also go a long way in giving a certain ‘look’ to your stairs, like the cool vibe of the honeycomb steel balustrade below (image 2). Dark banisters can offer a dramatic line that zigzags through the house, while a glass-sided staircase is perfect both for modern homes, and for giving period properties a modern twist.
Some of the staircase ideas below feature stunning walls and steps; bold coloured walls or wallpaper will highlight the stairwell and make it more of a feature, while a bright coloured stair runner is not only practical for high-traffic areas, but will help draw the eye up.
Got a dark hallway? Crittall doors are an effective way of framing a stairway space while also letting the light flood in. A floating staircase design will draw in sunlight from higher floors and skylights through the use of open treads. Choosing blonde timber for the steps will further lighten and brighten a staircase.
Short on space? Take inspiration from example 7, which incorporates clever storage in the treads. And last but not least, have a little fun and take inspiration from Michaelis Boyd, who installed a slide down the stairs, offering a fun – and quick – way down (example 8).
When this Hackney home was being remodelled with a two-storey extension, the double-height staircase became an instant focal point. Its metal balustrade is created from curved sheet steel, with floating treads stopping it from appearing too heavy. There’s a flush leather handrail, too.
Get the look: Bespoke staircase design by Cousins & Cousins
Balustrades and banisters can go a long way in giving a certain ‘look’ to your stairs, like the cool vibe of this honeycomb steel.
Get the look: Canal Engineering can create bespoke staircases like this. Caged wall lights in x-large, £719; large, £454, both Buster + Punch
By using slender balusters that gently bend at the beginning of the stairs, this design sings with elegance and offers a lightness further complemented by the natural wood banister. Using a
deep first step is another clever touch, as it has the effect of leading upwards, creating a seamless sense of movement and flow.
Get the look: Staircase, bespoke design by Studio DB
When a staircase forms part of a living space, an architectural design acts as a focal point rather than just a practical object. The use of thin balustrades and the addition of white underfoot add a forgiving sense of lightness to the large structure.
Get the look: Try Arc Fabrications for similar metal balustrades. The light is the Series 21 pendant by Omer Arbel for Bocci
This design uses a sweeping staircase to create a feature, and uses the gentle curve of the base of the steps above to add a feeling of continuous space. An integrated banister in sleek wood enhances the curves.
Get the look: Staircase, designed by Guy Stansfeld. This is Poul Henningsen’s PH 50 pendant for Louis Poulsen
With no windows at the rear, this mews house needed creative solutions to filter in light. This floating staircase design draws in sunlight from higher floors and skylights through the use of open treads. The choice of blonde timber for the steps further lightens the space throughout.
Get the look: This is a bespoke staircase design by Play Associates
Alternate-tread stairs that double as a bookshelf lead up to a mezzanine.
Get the look: The stairs were designed and built by David Money Architects. This is the Saltbak rug from Ikea.
The owners of this property installed a slide on the inside of the staircase, offering a fun – and quick – way down.
Get the look: The staircase and slide are both bespoke. The crash mat is by Craftwood.
This original iron staircase used to be part of a former newspaper printing house. It leads up to the roof terrace, and has been outfitted with custom walnut storage by RJ Millworkers that conceals a TV and toys.
Get the look: The custom walnut millwork is by RJ Millworkers. The walnut chairs are by Elijah Leed and are upholstered in Holland and Sherry fabric. The mahogony side tables are family heirlooms.
The concrete walls and floors create a calming effect, blocking out distractions and focussing the mind.
This clever space-saving staircase by Bisca is unobtrusive, takes up a minimal amount of room, yet still looks great.
Get the look: Bespoke Bisca staircases starts from £22,000.
Need to draw a line between public and private areas? Use your stairs to say it. Here, the strong red and grey echo the blocky exterior architecture, while wood was chosen for the stairs to herald entering the softer, more private part of the house upstairs.
Get the look Patricia Urquiola collaborated with Martino Berghinz on the architecture of the house.
These stairs span four floors and are lit by a chandelier of multiple opaque globes. One entire wall, from the bottom to the top of the house, is clad in striking mirrored tiles.
Get the look: The Lee Broom Crescent pendant light from Houseology is similar. This is the Mellow pouffe by Munna.
A modern staircase that’s clad in extruded aluminium panelling cuts through this double height home in Copenhagen, while bedrooms at mezzanine level feature floor to ceiling glass walls, offering views into the cavernous space below.
A multi-tiered light that transcends all three floors adds drama, while the simple design and monochrome scheme has a sophisticated, elegant effect.
Get the look: This is the Hanging Mobile No.405 light by David Weeks Studio. The framed photograph is 5Pointz by Jeff Chien-Hsing Liao.
This steel staircase is coated in a wax finish with a leather carpet glued centrally on the treads and the landing.
Get the look: The staircase is a bespoke project by Elite Metalcraft. For leather tiles suitable for flooring, contact Edelman Leather.
This staircase to the lower floors changes direction. Rather than following the pattern of the stairs on the upper floors, it travels towards the contemporary extension at the back.
Get the look: These are Douglas fir floorboards from Dinesen. The pedal car is from Baghera.
This staircase was created in three sections off-site, made from mild steel which has had an acid wash and then oiled, then welded together on site and bolted on to a steel plate inserted into the wall opposite the front door. Not only is the slimline staircase space-saving but its burnished bronze colour makes the living room look more enticing and its zigzagging steps pleasingly echo the parquet floor’s chevron pattern.
Get the look: Wooden parquet floor from Broadleaf Timber. Living room pendants from Le Deun Luminaires. Staircase bespoke.
This staircase was conceived as a sculpture to be looked at and a stage to be seen on. The overall appearance alludes to the fantastical in infinity Penrose stairs made famous by the lithographs of Escher. Beata Heuman has added to the effect with simple ‘Pernell’ pendant lights from Arteriors that mimic the balustrades without competing with its visual impact.
The architecture in this basement is predominantly crisp and precise, but it’s softened with rugged elements such as the cast-iron columns – painstakingly stripped of 20 layers of paint – exposed brick walls, original joists and the birch ply floor.
Get the look:The Frog chairs and ottoman are by Piero Lissoni for Living Divani. The digital pigment prints are by Shirine. Visit shirinegill.com to see more of her work. The rugs are from Morocco. Find similar at Larusi.
Seeing is believing when it comes to this floating timber staircase. These treads have been hollowed out and fitted on to a massive steel frame hidden in the wall and roof that helps support the entire building.
Get the look The cantilevered stairs are made from salvaged railways sleepers.
Removing the wall in this space was a deliberate ploy to draw attention to the spiral staircase, which swirls like a piece of Modernist sculpture to the bedrooms upstairs.
This custom black sculptural steel staircase was created by Studio David Thulstrup. The black staircase stands light yet stringent in a contrast to the adjacent wood-cladded wall. The wood cladded wall draws the viewers’ attention upwards, where the light influx from the second floor creates a play of light and shadows on the semi-cylindrical wood cladding, offering warmth and texture that contrasts the raw concrete flooring.
The stairwell atrium floods the marble floors with natural light.
This master suite is home to a secret staircase that leads up to a private ‘study in the sky’.
This striking, sculptural staircase was designed by Peter Mikic.
This penthouse apartment has it's own lift, but it's the sputnik pendant that steals the show in this entranceway.
Get the look: For an original Sputnik-style chandelier by Gino Sarfatti, check out 1stdibs.com. The bespoke bench is upholstered in a teal velvet by Kravet. The rug is a vintage Moroccan design. François Gilles can source antique Berber rugs similar to this one.
Enhance a Mad Men-style staircase with witty references to the past with vintage furniture, art and ceramics. Original to the house, they're made from oak and contrast against the blue stone patchwork floor.
Get the look: For a similar Andy Warhol lithograph, try Scream London. The vase is vintage Rosenthal Netter.
Suspended glass-sided staircase are ideal for adding a modern twist to period properties. Here, the slender gaps in the wood risers let slivers of sunlight shine through, creating a feeling of lightness and space.
Get the look The kitchen is by Smallbone and is painted in Farrow & Ball’s Light Blue estate eggshell. These are Tom Dixon’s Beat pendants. The floor tiles are from European Heritage.
Spiral staircases are ideal for compact homes – and also a great place to add colour. Even the undersides of these staircase treads get a vibrant splash of turquoise to match inset shelving nooks.
Get the look The painting is by James Aldridge.
A double-height space around a staircase is ideal for showcasing statement wallpaper or decoration but it can also be used to create your own slice of tropical paradise. This atrium is filled with bamboo that will eventually soar through the space.
Get the look The Rainforest marble flooring is from Crystal Tile & Marble; the wood flooring is Trendtime 8 Oak Smoked Elephant Skin from Relative Space. The floor lamp is from Palazzetti. The collection of designer Barbie dolls, in fashions by the likes of Versace and Oscar de la Renta, top left, are displayed in a recessed cabinet made by Prototype Design Lab.
A plain staircase cries out for some kicks of personality. Barely-there glass and a shimmering curtain of chain-mail flank these stairs, turning them from simple steps to stylish addition to the colourful room.
Get the look The chandelier and Gregor Jenkin dining table are from ABC Carpet & Home. The bone dining chair is from Talisman.
Disco balls on the stairs are a fun touch, and help bounce light around. Unusual artwork, such as the African heart sailcloth painting, draw the eye further into the home.
Get the look: For a similar chandelier, try Gustavian.
A spiral staircase, as white and curved as a bleached seashell, flows down from a galleried library to an open-plan living room that’s 100 per cent contemporary.
Get the look: The spiral staircase was commissioned by Andy Martin. The herringbone flooring is in oak.
A gloss white banister and vibrant red runner brighten up this dark and moody space.
Get the look: The mid-century sideboard is from The Old Cinema.
This striking floating staircase fuses soft colour with natural textures and surprising juxtapositions. Vertical panelling enhances the sense of scale. Part of the first floor was removed to create the dramatic double-height entrance, designed by architect Richard Parr.
Get the look: Find a similar bench at Pinch. Similar rug, Moroso, similar vintage mirrors, Kiki Design.
Ombre walls chase the stairs up to the landing.
Get the look: The sofa was originally from The French Bedroom Company and has been reupholstered in Tulipani Linen FDG2356/03, seat in Varese Currant F1190/63 and arms in Franchini Moss F1454/03 from Designer’s Guild. The rug is in Tauriani Pale Jade from Designer’s Guild. The white console table is from The French Bedroom Company.
Clean and classic wooden stairs are offset by a modern sculpture. The wire sofa is a show stopper.
Get the look: This is the Corallo wire chair by Fernando and Humberto Campana for Edra. Find it at Chaplins.
Dark banisters offer a dramatic line that zigzags through the house. The stairs are framed by these tall and wide steel doors that help open up the ground-floor space, flooding it with light.
Get the look: The metal glazing is from Clement Windows. These are Popham Design tiles at Ann Sacks. The banisters are painted in Railings estate eggshell by Farrow & Ball.
Basement access is often from the front, so you usually have stairs under stairs. In order to help make the basement feel part of the house, the stairs are in the middle of the ground floor and sit on dainty legs with glass balustrades. This was crucial in order to bring in lots of light.
Get the look: Rug, Designer’s Guild.
Traditional stone stairs are made modern thanks to the artwork and bright yellow cabinet.
Get the look: The lanterns were made by a local blacksmith. The rug was designed by Roddy Murray for Boxer Rugs. The velvet upholstered chair is by Luca Nichetto at Lane Crawford. For similar Native American portraits, visit fineartamerica.com.
The clever birch ply stairway conceals a laundry area, bike store and entrance to the cellar behind its panelling.
Get the look: The stairway and storage system was designed and built by David Money Architects.
A red stair carpet injects a pop of vibrancy to the neutral scheme. See our gallery of stair runner ideas for more stair runner inspiration.
Get the look: The vintage New York bus station poster was found on eBay.
Period-look panelling adds elegance to the already grand staircase. That definitive Farrow & Ball palette of cool neutrals, such as Cornforth White and Purbeck Stone, complements the inky navy of Railings used on the staircase.
Get the look: The Chehoma pendant is from Holloways of Ludlow. The Swedish bench is an antique.
Walls are kept simple, but a cleverly painted dark strip below the dado helps carry colour from the ground floor up.
Get the look: Try Original Style for Victorian encaustic floor tiles. The Mongolian sheepskin bench was bought at 1stdibs.com. The cushion is from Graham and Green.
The stairs have a subtle ombre effect; light grey to to match the pale grey flooring at the bottom, getting gradually darker to match the dark grey floor on the mezzanine.
Get the look: This is the Swallow artwork by Roger Taylor at Jamm Gallery.
A stair runner dyed in rainbow shades gives the house’s dark wood detailing a new vibrance.
Get the look: The runner was made bespoke for Barkerdesign. The wall covering is by Stereo Interiors. The limited edition print is by Patrick Caulfield from Iaysha Contemporary Art.
The spiral stairway forms a captivating focal point, winding up through the house.
Get the look: The staircase is bespoke – try Bisca for similar. Find comparable flooring at Element7.
The perfect helix of a seashell was the inspiration for this staircase, which rises towards a circular light well.
Get the look: The artwork is Dark Moon by Douglas White. Find his work at Artsy.net. The flooring is Douglas Fir by Dinesen.
Dark walls and a spiked ceiling pendant add drama to this stairway.
Get the look: The Murano glass Sputnik pendant and reproduction turtle shells are from Pure White Lines. The walls are painted in Downpipe estate emulsion by Farrow & Ball.
Soft blues make for a stylish and calm interior, and tone down the modern staircase.
Get the look: The feature wall is painted in Maritime marble emulsion by Mylands. The flooring was custom made by Mosaic Del Sur.
All eyes fall on Harlequin’s bold, geometric Sumi wallpaper in this striking stairway.
Get the look: This is Harlequin’s Sumi wallpaper in Hessian/Copper. The bespoke stair runner is from Tim Page Carpets. The console table was bought at Lots Road Auctions.