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9 Staircase Design Ideas On the Up

If you have ever considered decorating, designing or even installing a staircase in the UK, you will know how much planning and time goes into it. The staircase design you eventually decide on will depend on a variety of factors, such as the size of your home, the hallway dimensions, what material you want it made from, how many floors it goes up, dimensions of the staircase and more. 

In this article, we’re going to be looking at the different types of staircases available and which staircase design may be most appropriate for your home. Once you have selected your design, why not add some finishing touches in the form of stair rods, brackets or bars? 

We have a stunning range of products available, and you can benefit from free delivery when you spend over £75.

Before you consider this, take a look at the different modern staircase ideas we’ve picked out, and experiment with what works best for your home.

1. Straight Wooden Staircase

A classic and timeless design, straight wooden staircases are one of the most common residential staircase options because of their simplicity. Found in both domestic and commercial properties, wooden staircases are relatively cheap to install and are a versatile, modern staircase design. 

The main advantages of a straight wooden staircase:

  • Straight wooden staircases are versatile and one of the easiest to install 
  • Very easy to ascend and descend
  • They are easy to connect at the top and bottom of the stairs (no supporting structure)
  • They’re great for almost any modern or traditional home
  • Wooden staircases lend themselves well with minimalist designs 
  • In most cases, no landing space is required if the number of risers is under 16
  • To build handrails is usually quite easy on vertical wooden staircases
  • Railings are much easier to measure on straight staircases 

The main disadvantages of straight wooden staircases:

  • Due to their block-like design, straight wooden staircase designs have to be planned into your design to ensure it fits nicely
  • Straight stairs are somewhat less private than others – other staircases like a spiral and L-shaped stairs create a barrier for the higher floors

2. Modern L Shaped Stairs

L-shaped stairs, as their name suggests, are staircase designs that adopt an L shape, meaning they begin straight but then jut to a right angle (or some sort of bend). Most L-shaped staircases feature a landing or platform where the bend takes place, but this is not essential. Some L-shaped staircase designs are also referred to as long L-stairs, depending on how many stairs there are between the bottom and top of the bend. Wooden L-shaped staircases are commonly seen in residential properties.

The main advantages of L-shaped stairs:

  • L-shaped stairs offer more privacy thanks to the bend that cuts off the view of upstairs
  • L-shaped designs can be ideal if you’re looking to install stairs in a corner of a room to maximise space
  • They’re interesting to look at
  • There’s an argument to say that they’re safer than straight stairs because the landing space (making the bend) offers a platform to stop yourself if you ever suffer a fall
  • For older residents, the landing space can be used as a space to stop and rest if needed
  • L-shaped stairs offer a different design when it comes to staircase wall designs (learn more here).

The main disadvantages of L-shaped stairs:

  • In comparison to straight stairs,m L-shaped stairs are more difficult to design and install
  • They may not be appropriate for all homes due to structural complications
  • L-shaped stairs usually require some sort of support to ensure safe installation; this could be by building the staircase into a supporting wall, or having a single support structure, like a beam
  • Installing handrails can be more difficult because your tradesman will have to adapt the railing to the L-shaped dimensions

3. U Shaped Stairs

U-shaped stairs are commonly used in commercial buildings because they don’t take up too much space due to their typically narrow design. As their name suggests, U-shaped stairs are two parallel flights of stairs separated by a small landing area that creates a 180-degree bend. Hence the name U-shaped.

The main advantages of U-shaped stairs:

  • They’re ideal for commercial spaces because of they fit into smaller spaces well
  • Hand railings are usually very easy to install 

They’re easier to fit into an architect or stair designer’s plan

  • Much like L-shaped stairs, they offer a landing space for resting should you get tired
  • They can look great in both commercial and residential spaces (although they are rarely used in residential spaces unless the property has several floors)

The main disadvantages of U-shaped stairs:

  • Designing this type of staircase will require an experienced architect
  • U-shaped stairs are one of the more difficult staircase designs to plan and build

4. Winder Stairs

Winder stairs are a sort of mix between L-shaped stairs that sometimes feature a landing space. What separates them from modern L-shaped staircase designs is that winder stairs usually feature curved or triangle steps where the landing space would otherwise be. 

The main advantages of winder stairs 

  • Winder stairs are ideal if you’re looking to save space in your home or in your commercial property
  • You can experiment with truly unique staircase wall design elements
  • Following the point above, they are certainly one of the most unique staircase designs and can be designed to essentially become the feature piece of the hallway
  • They are relatively easy to install and fit in small modern homes very well

The main disadvantages of winder stairs:

  • Despite sharing a lot of similarities with L-shaped stairs, they are harder to navigate, which may prove problematic for older residents
  • Adding handrails to winder stairs will require bespoke fittings on the corner/curved sections
  • A support structure is usually required

5. Spiral Staircase Designs 

Spiral staircases are a joy to look at. They’re one of the most iconic and aesthetically pleasing staircase designs throughout the centuries and were very popular in the Gothic era. Spiral staircases are usually very compact, especially in modern homes, but can also be designed bigger for commercial properties. Spiral staircases are typically supported by a strong central column. 

The main advantages of Spiral Stairs:

  • They look fantastic, a truly iconic staircase design!
  • They’re compact, ideal for installation in both domestic and commercial spaces.
  • They offer great acceptance points for lofts and any areas where space is at a premium.
  • The design considerations for spiral staircases are endless; you can create a truly unique feature piece and access point for your indoor or outdoor space
  • Because they only require one central support column, they can be easier to install then other staircase types

The main disadvantages of spiral staircases:

  • Spiral staircases can be difficult to navigate, especially if they’ve been installed into a compact area
  • UK safety codes often prohibit spiral staircases from being the primary access to the full second floor of a home
  • Spiral staircases can be awkward to navigate for older people or if you’re moving large objects up and down the stairs
  • Depending on size, spiral staircases may only allow one person to go up or down the staircase 

6. Curved Staircases

Curved stairs follow a helical arc and are typically installed in large commercial spaces, such as offices, hotels and hospitality venues. Rarely are curved stairs installed in homes unless they are big enough to provide the room required to make the installation worth it. In most cases, curved stairs are installed near the entrances of properties, because their grandeur should be seen instantly!

The main advantages of curved staircases:

  • Curved stairs are arguably the most elegant staircase design and look fantastic in any residential and commercial property big enough to install them
  • They are easy to walk up providing the radius is big enough
  • Certain curved staircase designs can make the room appear bigger 
  • Curved staircases are often very elegant and traditional but this type of design can equally be adapted to contemporary architecture.

The main disadvantages of curved staircases:

  • Curved staircases take careful planning to ensure safe and secure installation
  • They are not appropriate for small properties
  • It will take an experienced architect to design and install this type of staircase

7. Cantilever Staircases

A definite “wow factor” when it comes to staircase designs. If you’re looking to add space and create an incredibly unique and modern staircase design, cantilever stairs might do the trick. This modern staircase idea uses stair stringers to act as a support, and these can be hidden or exposed depending on your design choices. The most popular reason people opt for cantilever stairs is that they look great and typically offer spaciousness to the room. 

The main advantages of cantilever stairs:

  • One of the most visually striking staircase ideas when executed well
  • Offers more space than other, bulkier staircase designs 
  • When the stringer is positioned to one side, it allows for more room underneath

The main disadvantages of cantilever stairs 

  • It takes an experienced staircase manufacturer or architect to install this type of staircase
  • It may not be appropriate for some homes
  • There are some minor safety concerns when it comes to the gaps in between the stairs
  • The treads need to be able to support heavy foot traffic
  • They are usually more expensive to install than other staircases due to complex structure demands 

8. Split Staircases

This type of staircase is situational depending on the requirements for your home or commercial space. Split staircases typically feature a wide linear staircase which then splits into two, with a landing space acting as the divider. The two splits are where the stairs lead into opposite directions. Split staircases are often reggae to as bifurcated stairs.

The main advantages of split staircases:

  • Ideal if you’re looking to install one staircase that acts as two
  • This staircase design is the most popular for tiny homes and large travel homes
  • They look impressive
  • They are useful for larger homes looking to utilise space by only using one staircase
  • Split stairs allow one staircase to function as two, by leading up to different sections of the building making each end of the upper level easily accessible.
  • They add an impressive architectural design statement to the building.
  • Typically used in large homes or commercial buildings as a Grand Entry. They are suitable for interior or exterior locations.

The main disadvantages of split staircases:

  • Split staircases only really work in spaces that have the room to install them
  • Split staircases cost more to install than other staircase designs

9. Modern Ladders

Otherwise known as architectural ladders, these staircase designs should be seen as a sort of add-on to a primary staircase design. For example, ladders are typically used as entranceways for lofts, attics and bedrooms in studio apartments. UK building codes will not allow ladders to be the main entranceway to access a core area of a property. 

The advantages of modern ladders:

  • Incredibly cost-effective entryway design for any home
  • They are small, compact and can often be folded away when not needed
  • They look great in modern homes and can even become part of the interior house design

The main disadvantages of modern ladders:

  • Ladders are not appropriate for UK safety codes (they cannot be the primary access point)
  • Ladders are obviously more difficult to navigate than a stair, and won’t be appropriate for people who have accessibility difficulties 

And that concludes our staircase design types!

Are you Looking to Enhance Your Staircase?

We’re always discussing the best ways to enhance the staircase in your home or commercial space. Whether it’s how to paint stairs to ensure a long-lasting and vibrant finish for your home, or how to customise your staircase or gallery walls if it’s looking a little bare. As providers of a range of stair rods, brackets, bars, carpet runners and more, we know what looks good on stairs. For all staircase decorating ideas, take a look at our blog. 

Alternatively, if you’re looking to put the icing on the cake to complete your staircase design, take a look at our high-quality stock today.