A well-designed and well-located stairs will connect the levels in your house beautifully. Here are my top Stairs and Landing Ideas from my experience as a House Consultant and from my own home.
6 Key Stairs & Landing Ideas
- LOCATION: The location of the stairs should work equally well for each floor that it serves. Re-locating a staircase can yield surprising results in a badly designed home. The optimal place for a stairs to a converted attic is over the existing staircase. Beware of “ruining” a Box Room on the first floor to gain access to a restricted attic space.
- STEP DESIGN: All aspects of the stairs and landing design should comply with Part K of The Building Regulations. The minimum standards outlined in Part K have become the norm in house design. But I’ve noticed that steps designed with the optimal step height of 175mm and the optimal step going of 250mm produce a staircase that matches a staircase in a Victorian home. A staircase that you glide up, rather than climb.
- HANDRAIL: Replacing the handrail and baluster where its design is dated or unsafe is surprisingly economical. It can give the stairs and landing a huge, visual lift.
- LIGHT: The staircase is often the only 2 story height space in a house. Use the stairwell to get light deep down into the ground floor of your house, with carefully placed roof-lights. If you have a dark, wooden staircase, painting the timber will dramatically improve light levels. This is anathema to some, but painted timber is still timber!
- FINISH: A narrow strip of carpet runner, placed in the middle of the steps, lends elegance to any staircase. If money is short, paint the steps, with a contrasting colour in the centre.
- UNDER-STAIRS: Make the most of the under-stairs area for hidden storage. Pull-out units provide optimal access. Otherwise, divide the area into sections, with a series of doors giving access to each part. A hanging rail will be useful if you want to accommodate coats and jackets here.
6 Stairs and Landing Ideas from Our House.
- LOCATION: Our house is spread over 3 levels, each smaller than the one below. The stairs from ground to first floors is a simple, straight flight running up the side wall from the middle of the ground floor. A solid door and glass screen separates the first floor bedrooms from the noise of the open-plan floor below. The stairs from first floor to the Master Bedroom in the attic is moulded around the first floor bathroom. A solid door at the foot of the stairs separates the Master Bedroom from the noise of the floor below.
- HANDRAIL: The stairs from ground to first has a solid handrail made of birch ply. This a light coloured, smooth material made up of layers of birch veneer.
- LIGHT: Wide, glass strips in the roof maximise the natural light to the stairs and landing. They are important for providing natural light to the central area of the open plan space on the ground floor.
- FINISH: We used solid, white oak for the treads, risers and landing. The solid oak steps muffle noise, although we did consider a carpet runner for safety when the children were younger.
- UNDER-STAIRS: We use the under-stairs as our “Utility” area. The washing machine, hot water cylinder and some storage are all located here. We hang clothes for airing on hangers in this space. The hot water cylinder generates residual heat for airing, as do the manifolds for the under-floor heating. Items awaiting ironing are stored on the worktop above the machines. Modern machines are generally quiet, so noise intrusion is minimal. This is important, given that the stairs open off the living room.
- LANDING: We modelled the landing in our original house on a large,Victorian landing that we saw in a house in Glenageary. The extended landing became a flexible space to the front of the house. We fitted a pivot door and folding screen to allow the space be made separate when needed. Over the years, this space served as a TV Room ,Home Office and Bedroom. When we extended the house, we amalgamated this landing space with the adjacent bedroom to create a Teen Den.
See more photos of our home which we built in 2003 and extended in 2012 here.