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Up and down them several times a day, we don’t always see our useful staircases as a thing of beauty. However, this utilitarian part of the home can become the most showstopping piece to an interior design, using imagination and calculation. Consider the sheer size of this installation, and how by making it more sculptural, more personally styled and unique to the space we can manifest something magnificent. If when visualising a staircase you see straight treads and solid risers, compliant spindles and dutiful banisters, then this enlightening gallery of 51 awesome staircase designs will open up you up to a whole new way of linking the levels.
Snake it to make it. Sharp metallic treads, linked by oblique alternating sides, are suspended on barely there balustrades. The single continuous piece of metal folds into itself like the ‘Snake’ in the old computer game – always twisting but never touching.
Designer: Francesco Librizzi
The secretive staircase. Cubism flows through the metal veins and wooden organs of this body of work. Planks, panels, and wooden cuboids are suspended on black framework to fashion an offbeat tower with secretive sections.
Designer: Francesco Librizzi studio
Linework meets metalwork. This skinny staircase appears like thin black linework on a blank white page. Iron rungs aren’t really a thing of comfort underfoot, but the simple structure fulfills its purpose in a restricted footprint.
Visualizer: SoNo Arhitekti
Cat ladder style staircases are good solution in limited space, like when access to a mezzanine level is required from a main living area.
Visualizer: Design + Weld
Clever cubes. The balustrades of this modern staircase design are a pattern of overlapping cubes, which form shelves for books and display items beneath the treads, and handrails above.
Designer: Edouard Brunet & François Martens; P – Dennis De Smet
Integrate a staircase into the room by combining it with furniture. This black suspended staircase design stops short of the floor, where a last few wooden treads are amalgamated into a low slung storage cabinet with book nooks.
Designer: Arquitectura en Movimiento Workshop
Get canny with curves. These wooden treads arc and slide between the upper and lower levels of the stairway to stunning effect.
Visualizer: Eisa Ghasemian
Another curvaceous triumph.
Designer: Zaha Hadid
These curving white treads are pieced together in a more modular manner. Each white piece forms a vertebrae in a smooth spine.
Designer: Disguincio & Co
Visualizer: Giuliano Primi
Talking of spine-like concepts, check out this backbone of fine design…
… Or the ribs of this striking black number.
Visualizer: Andrii Ortynskyi
Two tone tricks. Alternating white treads with deep wood tone volumes gives this structure strong personality.
Visualizer: Lucas S.H
Fulfill a futuristic fantasy. Glossy white steps merge with light reflective wall panels in this futuristic home design. Softly glowing stair lights accentuate the recessed risers.
Minimalist minded. These quietly camouflaged open sided steps are assisted by an understated staircase railing against the wall.
Visualizer: O.M. Shumelda
Create a look of weightlessness by omitting the first riser. When only a shadow can be seen touching the floor, even the heaviest of staircases will seem to float.
Visualizer: Jac Studios
Let your staircase be something else – or several things. A platform, a bench, a desk, a small table; this staircase appears to be all of those things before fulfilling its final destiny.
Designer: Haptic Architects
This suspended staircase rises from just above the end of a dining bench, which leaves the floor layout of the room feeling uninterrupted.
Designer: NU Architectuuratelier
A reading nook makes use of the natural light at this stairwell with a view.
Visualizer: Studio Open
Colour yourself happy. If you have a favourite colour then don’t reserve it just for the walls or the furniture of your home. Put it right at the heart, like this bright pink powder coated staircase.
Let your favourite colour spill from the stairwell out onto the floor of your entryway for artistic effect.
Be brave and go all in with your chosen colour – no half measures.
Source: Amsterdam’s Welvaren
For a multicoloured version, take inspiration from Mondrian inspired interior design. Block in black outlined cubes with primary yellow, blue and red for your own piece of De Stijl.
Designer: Cooley & Rose
Alternatively, paint a watercolour rainbow, altering the gentle hue at every single step.
Visualizer: Photonic Studio
Break down the design to only what is needed. Individual floating treads appear to extrude directly from the wall of this minimalist home. The uncomplicated banister is like a line drawn with a ruler – no flourishes, no visible fixings.
Visualizer: Pavel Voytov
Illustrate optical illusion. Each section of this staircase slopes away at an increasing angle until they are no more than treads at the top, creating a twisting illusion.
Designer: DeCurtis Design
Banisters and balustrades can be beautiful. Yes, staircase barriers are a safety aspect, and modern interior design often seems dead set on making them as invisible as possible, or eliminating them entirely. However, these panels can also be viewed as an opportunity to inject beauty and elegance.
Taller times. Many modern staircases are now favouring taller balustrades that connect the treads directly to the ceiling, creating an encased effect that still lets the visual and the light pass through.
Visualizer: Hausmax Design
Create a zen stairwell with a courtyard. Some plants and pebbles are all you need to get started. Add soft lighting for extra soothing effect.
Visualizer: Diff Studio
Cacti make an easy low maintenance garden for areas beneath a stairwell that have limited access.
Visualizer: Andrés Rosón
Stack it with storage. Floor level storage volumes and bookshelves stack the underbelly of this wooden installation – some of which run off along the full width of the room to form a desk and home office shelving.
Designer: Studio Mieke Meijer
Another home workspace is tucked at the base of this much smaller storage staircase. This one includes a plant stand too.
Designer: Moon Hoon
Book storage in and around stairs isn’t a new thing, but there are always new ideas on how to do it. Book lovers will adore this extensive library staircase.
Visualizer: Jianxiong Liu
Wanna go even bigger? How about this giant library stairwell.
Designer: FC Studio
Entertain the child in you – or the children in the family – by incorporating a fun slide into the design. This doesn’t have to look clumsy or garish in childish colours, explore the possibilities in your favoured staircase material.
Designer: Benn & Penna
Photographer: Tom Ferguson
Many open plan dreams are thwarted by the awkward placement of an immovable staircase, but don’t be discouraged. With some coercing your stubborn central staircase could become a mere accent in the room. Think blending wall panels on the lower half, and low profile open treads to the ceiling space.
Visualizer: dpVIZ STUDIO
Wood and concrete make a harmonious pairing – and these concrete planters allow for the perfect touch of greenery too.
Designer: Paul Cocksedge
Another employment of indoor plants, this time tracking all the way up sweeping banisters.
Visualizer: Jakub Komrska
String it out. Wires can be crisscrossed to form an attractive pattern down the side of an open staircase. This dark metal design has great contrast with the warm wooden treads showing through it.
Take sides. Solid sides sweep around this modern spiral staircase design, shrouding it from an open plan living room.
Photographer: Felix Meyer
A second take on the solid sided theme.
Visualizer: Kaminskyi Interiors
And a third. This time the solid sides sweep along the mezzanine landing level too, like one piece of wide white ribbon.
Forget everything that you thought you knew about staircases in order to bring about the birth of a new concept, like this egg shaped vision.
Source: Edition Hotels
Lighting, lighting, lighting. After stepping up and installing a stunning piece, give it life with the right illumination.
Designer: Patrick Jouin
The rounded treads of this contemporary spiral staircase open up like the petals of a flower.
Designer: Park Associates
Bring peace to a stairwell with the sound of trickling water into an ornamental pool. The gentle sound will carry up the stairwell to the next floor too.
Source: Le Haras Hotel
Construct a deconstruction. Like a deconstructed rattan basket, the outer fins of this natural looking staircase is a riot of angles and lengths.
Designer: Cun Design
Another freeform piece. Wild waves of material create a colossal undulating surface around this spectacular staircase.
Designer: Amin Taha Architects
Create contrast. Delicately thin wirework is paired with crudely carved steps here, each forming curves in their own way.
Designer: Patricia Urquiola
Love layers. Rather than joining shallow steps at their edges, this design layers large flat square platforms one on top of the next, sliding away in the direction meant to climb.
Designer: Studio Farris
In this entirely different layered look, great wooden volumes have been stacked like a dangerously giant game of Jenga gone rogue. The resulting recesses make perfect storage nooks for books. The uppermost block is utilised as a desk on the mezzanine home office.
Designer: Lucjan Kuc, QC Architects
Work with what you have. Whether or not this staircase was built from actual architectural offcuts, this chunky tread staircase would make the perfect addition to a home filled with upcycled curiosities. The heavy wooden steps would also be at home in a modern rustic setting, or in an industrial vibe pad where raw concrete reins alongside a plethora of plants.
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