Mod­ern stair­cases

Your home’s flight is much more than a func­tional fea­ture; it can add im­pact and wow fac­tor to your in­te­ri­ors. Here are the lat­est on-trend de­sign ideas

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Check out our ad­vice on how to choose an on-trend flight and add im­pact and char­ac­ter to your home’s in­te­rior lay­out

Amar­riage of form and func­tion, stair­cases are an essen­tial el­e­ment of most homes – and one that can pro­vide an im­pact­ful fea­ture for your in­te­ri­ors. Mod­ern de­sign in­no­va­tions mean all man­ner of styles can be achieved to suit your prop­erty and re­quire­ments. Want some­thing min­i­mal? Maybe a float­ing flight would suit. Af­ter a stair­case with real wow fac­tor? Then a sweep­ing he­li­cal de­sign could be the an­swer.

The ba­sics

In most floor­plan ar­range­ments, the stairs are one of the first things you’ll see when en­ter­ing a home – this is a large fea­ture, and one that needs to be planned from the out­set of your project. Your stairs will have a huge im­pact on the de­sign of not only your ground floor, but the ad­join­ing lev­els, too. So, whether you are self-build­ing or ren­o­vat­ing, make best use of this essen­tial fix­ture and cre­ate a strik­ing fo­cal point at the heart of your home.

Mod­ern styles are not just about ac­cess re­quire­ments. The de­sign should ac­count for flow of light, a mix­ture of ma­te­ri­als and flex­i­bil­ity (it should be formed to suit the

space, and not the other way round). “Keep the ma­te­ri­als calm, sim­ple and time­less and let the beauty of the form do the talk­ing,” says Stu­art Robert­son, di­rec­tor of 23 Architecture. “Ide­ally, each step should be nice and low, only 150-160mm high so it feels com­fort­able to use and not hard work to walk up sev­eral floors.”

Get­ting the de­sign right

Your stair­case needs to be part of your in­te­rior’s over­all plan­ning process, which means it should be worked into your ground floor ar­range­ment from the start of the project. Con­sider how fam­ily life flows around the house, and where the main ap­proach to the flight will be. If you are plan­ning a mod­ern open-plan in­te­rior, then you don’t want a stair­case that will jar with the lines too much.

Think about how the fea­ture will look from all an­gles – you may wish to in­cor­po­rate open treads and glass balustrades to en­cour­age light to flow through. A spi­ral de­sign can be clev­erly po­si­tioned to break up zones, for in­stance. “A free flow­ing he­li­cal stair­case can al­low a flight to have a big­ger im­pact on the larger main floors and then a more con­stricted size on, say, the up­per lev­els where space is usu­ally more re­stricted,” says Stu­art. Your ar­chi­tect will be able to ad­vise you of the shapes and styles that will suit your plans. Equally, a spe­cial­ist stair com­pany can go through all the con­fig­u­ra­tion op­tions with you.

Be­fore you start dream­ing of a spe­cific style and ma­te­ri­als, you need to have a bud­get in mind. Will you work with your ar­chi­tect to cre­ate some­thing unique and com­mis­sion a spe­cial­ist joiner to make it? Then you’re look­ing at spend­ing up­wards of £5,000 (you can triple this or more if you want some­thing com­pli­cated). If you’re on a tighter bud­get, then an off-the-shelf de­sign may suit your re­quire­ments per­fectly. Mod­ern man­u­fac­tur­ing

tech­niques mean that the qual­ity of these prod­ucts is re­ally very good, with cre­ative de­signs and a mix of ma­te­ri­als avail­able from around £2,000.


“Con­tem­po­rary de­sign, to some peo­ple, means mod­ern, new or edgy. But the sign of a good stair­case is that it fits within its environment,” says Richard Mclane, de­sign di­rec­tor at Bisca. Ex­am­ples that use rel­e­vant ma­te­ri­als em­pa­thet­i­cally can work with any ar­chi­tec­tural style.

Putting mod­ern flights into older homes is a trend that is here to stay, and one way of do­ing this for your pe­riod prop­erty is to cre­ate a look that in­cor­po­rates com­po­nents sim­i­lar to those avail­able when the house was orig­i­nally built. Tim­ber, forged steel and semi-pre­cious met­als can all be treated with spe­cial­ist fin­ishes to recre­ate a patina of age and still main­tain a mod­ern over­all de­sign.

Other pop­u­lar con­tem­po­rary el­e­ments to con­sider are dis­creet lighting po­si­tioned to il­lu­mi­nate the whole stair­case; stain­less steel handrails, which are back in fash­ion (as is bronze); and in­no­va­tive wood fin­ishes – think washed, raised grain and pig­mented fin­ishes.

With all stair­cases, how it works with the build­ing is as im­por­tant as the de­sign it­self. If you want a home flooded with nat­u­ral light, then use your flight to help you achieve it. Con­sider go­ing for can­tilevered styles, open treads and, of course, glazed el­e­ments. “If you are con­sid­er­ing a glass balustrade as part of your de­sign, then it’s re­ally worth do­ing your home­work first to en­sure you get the look you want,” says Richard. “Clamps and clips used to fix handrails to glass, and glass to land­ings or stringers, can look ugly and ac­tu­ally be un­nec­es­sary. A care­fully de­signed be­spoke glazed balustrade does not re­quire vis­i­ble fix­ings, and the stair­case will have the clean lines of­ten as­so­ci­ated with a con­tem­po­rary style.”

Above: The lat­est de­vel­op­ment of ma­te­ri­als is mak­ing more stair shapes and con­fig­u­ra­tions pos­si­ble than ever be­fore, such as this curved style by Max-stairs

Stair­lux flights avail­able from West­line are cus­tomis­able and cre­ated be­spoke to each home­own­ers’ re­quire­ments. A de­sign sim­i­lar to this would cost from £7,500 de­pend­ing on size and spec­i­fi­ca­tion

This stun­ning de­sign in a home by Welsh Oak Frame mixes tra­di­tional oak with mod­ern glass to cre­ate a float­ing fea­ture from the first floor right down to the home’s base­ment level

Above: This project in Jer­sey by Spi­ral UK is fab­ri­cated in Corten steel; this con­trasts with the nat­u­ral tim­ber treads that pro­vide a nat­u­ral, el­e­gant look to the de­sign

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