May 18th, 2015 | Home Design
Staircases are an integral piece of your home & we’re here to show you how to take a functional aspect of your home & turn it into a visual focal point. Whether you’re a new home builder, are looking to give your current staircase a make-over or want to move & rethink the staircases in your home, there are a few components to consider when designing your dream staircase. Comfort, visual appeal, functional integration into your space & safety are at the top of the list & with a little bit of planning should all be integrated into the installation.
You’ll have a beautiful, safe & easy-to-use staircase if you stick to these guidelines-and make sure to stay open to creativity & have patience as you work towards your dream staircase!
Let’s start with the fundamentals! When designing any staircase the goal is to create steps that feel natural to your step & don’t feel too narrow or steep & are overall safe for any member of the family to get from one floor to the next.
The rule of 25 should be the base line of any staircase design & is as follows: the height of two risers plus the width of one tread should equal 25 on any staircase & in any setting. What does this mean exactly? Rise is the height from the top of any one tread to the top of the next tread & run is the distance from the face of one riser to the face of the next one. The variation of unit rise for normal staircases are 4″ to 8″, but the most comfortable range is between 6″ and 6-½ inches.
Overall the rule ensures you don’t have too steep of stairs & really sets you up for success. The wider the tread is, the lower the riser should be & vise versa, the higher the riser the narrower the tread. Building codes also require that each each unit rise and run need to be the same–which makes sense to avoid tripping and falls as your body naturally adapts to a staircase’s step distance. Now that we have all that technical stuff out of the way, let’s get to the fun design options!
Another tip to add to the convenience and feel of your staircase is to make it a little wider than required by codes—it will add so much to the overall flow of the home & any extra inches you can spare will help with the traffic of your family up and down the stairs.
Stairs can be enclosed, open, wood faced, carpeted, or a multitude of combinations of these. Depending on your space & the needs you have it will vary on what the right fit will be for you. Do you have a smaller home? An open staircase might be a great way to counter a cramped entryway.
A grand entrance
When you want the staircase to be the focal point of your entry way, the details go a long way. A detail we love building is making the bottom step a little wider than the preceding ones—it enhances the staircase both with functionality and design and looks great. It also gives a natural spot for a statement banister and helps finish off the overall look.
Stair lights are reasonable priced & are a great addition for basement stairs & 2nd floor stairs where little toes might grace the steps in the dark. They illuminate the stairs & with the lights usually being placed near the edge of each landing about every three steps, they won’t disrupt the overall feel of the staircase.
The handrail design has changed over the years and it ever present as you walk through newer homes versus older homes. The over arching theme should be complimentary design to any trim & should be well braced. You should also be able to slide your hand along it from top to bottom without interruption & it should be an assistant for both tiny hands and adult hands.
The space that a staircase creates can offer great storage and design options. You could convert the cove into a reading nook, and small closet or storage drawers. The actual stair landing and back can be personalized with paint, convert them to drawers or use reclaimed wood as a sort of back splash for the rise of the stair.
Multi-level homes and stairs go hand-in-hand & are an opportunity to add to your overarching design theme-how do you see incorporating some of these design ideas into your staircase project? We can’t wait to hear your plans!