A staircase in a modern living room: how to choose a staircase design for your home.

The staircase is a powerful architectural statement. Whether your home features a grand staircase or has a more private connection to the upper level, your staircase design communicates style and personality. Choosing the right style, materiality, size, and placement of your staircase can impact both the functionality and aesthetic of your overall home design. Here are the main factors to consider before you choose a staircase design for your luxury custom home. 

1. Project Budget

There are seemingly endless options for updating a staircase but, as with most home renovation projects, budget restrictions may influence the materials you end up working with and the design options you consider. Different staircase builds fall within different budget ranges, and often the best way to understand why certain models cost less or more is to ask a contractor.

2. Staircase Shape

From simple linear staircases to elegant spiral stairways, a variety of shapes and footprints are possible to build. Some of the most popular staircase design ideas include wraparound staircases, which provide a 360-degree view as you climb, winding staircases, which feature a delicate curve approaching the bottom, and elongated spiral staircases, which add a touch of opulence to any residence.

In addition to the overall layout of a staircase, it is important to consider how you intend to use the space underneath the steps. In some cases, it may be possible to leave the area underneath your staircase open. Open staircases not only preserve space underneath the staircase itself but also maintain openings between each tread. Such a design may not be ideal for homes with young children or elderly adults due to safety concerns.

If you prefer a closed staircase where the treads and risers are hidden from the side view, you may still find ways to use the space under the staircase, such as by creating a storage closet. However, keep in mind regional building codes may not permit the closed area underneath a staircase to be converted into a room, such as a bathroom, due to ceiling height constraints. Working with an experienced professional, you can find the best way to make use of the space under a closed staircase for your home.

 3. Space Allowance

Building a staircase requires careful planning to ensure the best use of space. As staircases rise, they also take up room horizontally. Depending on the amount of space available for your staircase, certain designs may fit better than others. For example, a simple, linear staircase takes up a good deal of horizontal space along the first floor while an elongated spiral staircase rise may take up only a semicircle of space along the ground floor with the majority of the structure rising above that.

An experienced architect can guide you in calculating the different options you have with your staircase layout. With their understanding of space limitations, an architect can help you make an educated decision about the best staircase shape and design to fit within a specific area of your home.

4. Household Comfort

Designing a staircase should also take comfort into account. How will it feel to climb up and down the staircase? This is especially important to consider if you plan on staying in the house through retirement. As you grow older, navigating up and down stairs may become more challenging and less comfortable. You can ensure a more comfortable staircase by opting for wider treads that allow for two-way stair traffic or by manipulating the steepness of the overall staircase. In general, closed, linear staircases are easier and safer to climb than more extravagant designs, such as spirals or wrap-around staircases.

You may also consider preparing the staircase to support extra accommodations, such as reinforcing the walls around a staircase so that they can later support a wheelchair lift later on if need be.

5. Local Code Restrictions

No matter how you hope to design your staircase, it will be necessary to comply with local building codes. These regulations exist to make sure homes and other structures are well-built and safe to use. Building codes set minimum standards for certain staircase dimensions, such as the tread depth or riser height. These minimum measurements may affect how steep your staircase can be built and how much the staircase footprint will take up horizontally across the bottom floor.

Designing a staircase is an opportunity to make an architectural statement in your home. But for a staircase to be safe and functional, it is also important to rely on careful calculations and strategic use of space.

Aside from considering how your budget and style preferences will impact your staircase design decisions, it is necessary to take into account how practical and comfortable the staircase will be to use over the years and how local building codes may limit your design options.

Build the Staircase of Your Dreams

As you can tell, there is a lot to consider before you choose a staircase design for your luxury home. Working with an experienced architect, like the Anderson Studio of Architecture and Design, can improve your overall experience of building a custom home. Our knowledgeable and accomplished team puts the client’s preferences, inclinations, goals, and dreams at the center of every project to create personalized luxury homes. When you work with a professional architect group that you can trust, you’re sure to love the way your dream home is built! Contact us for any questions or to start a new project today.