Architecture: How You Can Make More of Your Staircase
More than a route to other levels, stairs can provide storage space and wow as a design feature, too. Explore this, ahem, step-by-step guide
In this beautiful design, storage has been incorporated in the form of a library wall, with a reading desk squeezed on to the landing. With property prices escalating in many of our cities, it really makes sense for elements in your home to serve more than one purpose.
The beautifully considered detailing of this timber staircase, in a London new build, evokes the craftsmanship of traditional stairs, but in a decidedly modern way, with clean lines and square corners. Outward-opening panels provide ready access to storage, this time below the steps.
Get lots more ideas for creating storage from your stairs
The crisp timber used for the treads and risers of this contemporary staircase is repeated on the underside, resulting in a strong, monolithic appearance, almost as if the stair had been carved from a block of wood.
The design is enhanced by the contrasting transparency of the frameless glass balustrade, which becomes a full-height panel halfway up the flight.
Alternate-tread staircases are a great solution where space is at a premium. Much nicer to use than a ladder, they occupy half the length of a full staircase and are perfect for areas that require occasional rather than constant access, such as this mezzanine.
The clean, elegant shape of this helical staircase has been achieved with steel, which supports both the stairs themselves and the glass balustrade. The underside is plastered for a seamless appearance, and the whole structure appears to float unsupported in front of the tall window.
These stairs, which lead to a roof extension, incorporate an L-shaped window framing views to the outside. This, and an integrated light cove, add interest to the daily journeys up and down the stairs.
Although ancient, the winding stairs in this Scottish castle have a strong minimalist presence. Just three materials are involved – timeworn stone, a rope handrail and limewashed walls – but the overall result is rich nonetheless.
This is another staircase with just three materials – this time cast concrete, plywood and steel. It looks as strong and elegant as the castle staircase, just less timeworn!
The stairs in this house looked tired and dated, but the budget didn’t extend to replacing them. So they’ve been given a new lease of life with paint – bright orange on the treads and risers (tempered with a grey carpet runner trimmed in black linen) and grey on the balustrade and newel post. The handrail was stripped of shiny varnish and given a wax finish.
Should you choose paint or carpet to revamp your staircase?
The space below this simple and elegant staircase incorporates a bar prep area, with an island placed alongside to perch at or lean on. Note how the deliberately limited palette of materials and the slender metal balusters keep the space looking calm and inviting.
This staircase to a roof extension is deliberately more contemporary in style than the existing stairs below it, marking the transition point between the old and new. Note the metal rods, which were added for safety and allow the open risers to comply with building regulations.
This handrail has been wrapped in leather with beautiful stitching. Little details like this, which cost a bit more, can bring a great return on the investment in the pleasure they give every time the handrail is held. And the leather should burnish and develop a patina over time, adding character.
If money were no object, what improvement would you like to make to your own staircase? Share your thoughts in the Comments below.