Step Up: staircase design ideas for your next project (2024)

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Step Up: staircase design ideas for your next project (1)

Staircases are not merely a functional tool to help you get from one floor to the next. They can – and should be – a theatrical architectural feature in their own right. Here we pick out some staircase design ideas that put their best foot forward, from spiralling beauties to attention-grabbing focal points.

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Stairs with a twist

Spiral staircases have a long and rich history. Their use in castles and cathedrals eventually trickled down into domestic architecture and their popularity has endured – not only are they space-efficient but they are objects of beauty in their own right. This expansive duplex penthouse in Clerkenwell, in a late 19th-century textile warehouse, is connected by an unobtrusive spiral staircase that blends seamlessly with the building’s industrial interiors.

Three floors are effortlessly linked by a striking spiral steel staircase at Atlas Mews in Dalston. The shape-shifting interiors of Archway Studios – a 19th-century railway viaduct in Kennington, transformed into an award-winning home by Undercurrent Architects – feature a number of white-washed stairs, including a neat spiral that connects the living quarters with the bedrooms. Meanwhile, a stunning plywood staircase, which is lit by a round skylight, can be found at the house designed and built in 1969 by the architect David Tapp for his family in Henley-on-Thames.

Dramatic entrance

Staircases can make a real statement – from grand palaces to stately homes. Not everyone can snag one of those, of course, but homes that find clever ways to make a visual impact with theirs can still benefit. Victoria Mews in Queens Park, for instance, has a sculptural central concrete and steel stairwell that acts as an atrium and plays with shapes and textures.

The ultra-modern custom black steel staircase at Hindsleys Place in Forest Hill pays homage to the building’s industrial past and nods to the home’s black Crittall windows. The staircase at a Victorian townhouse in Hyde Park displays an elegant approach to colour, where some of the white-washed treads are picked out in grey and brown.

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Tread lightly

But how to make an impact without being too dominating? Open-tread staircases are the solution. A magnificent example can be found at Aberdeen Park in Highbury where a 1970s home has been refreshed by Ian Hay Architects. Here an open-tread staircase with twisting brass handrails leads to a library mezzanine.

Railings and balustrades don’t have to overwhelm; the striking staircase in blackened steel that rises through the entire property in Clerkenwellallows in plenty of light. And the spectacular Ghost House in Warwickshire, designed by BPN Architects, nods to the timeless appeal of sweeping imperial staircases in country homes, but here they come in a decidedly contemporary folded-steel iteration.

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Step Up: staircase design ideas for your next project (2024)


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