7 Staircase Design Ideas That Step Up the Storage and Style
Stairs can take things to the next level with smart and design-savvy solutions like these
What’s beneath stairs can be just as important as the steps themselves. Depending on the room’s configuration, two places where pros and homeowners might be able to get creative are in the space under the stairs and on the vertical risers between each step.
In this Craftsman home in Washington state, interior designer Michelle Banks of Spiral Studios created a kid-friendly nook under the stairs, complete with toy bins and a wallpaper map of the San Juan Islands, where the family likes to sail. Along the risers, the homeowners added visual interest to the surrounding warm wood by stenciling in a pop of geometric pattern and color, while a bold accent wall (Newburyport Blue by Benjamin Moore) makes the whole area, at the back of the home’s living room, stand out.
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The walls that frame staircases are often on family photo gallery duty, but they’re not the only stairway element suitable for displaying art. Decorating the risers with unexpected colors, patterns or messages can give a home a boost of personality.
The names hand-painted across the risers in this eclectic weekend farmhouse in Texas come from the train stops made by the rail line that once ran through the property. Artists and homeowners Todd Sanders and Sarah Thompson included the nod to the home’s history as part of an “Off the Rails Ranch” theme. Elsewhere in the house, vintage-inspired signs, typographic fabric and specially commissioned paintings reinforce the train travel vibe.
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Aside from providing an out-of-the-way hangout space for a person or pet, an under-the-stairs nook can work wonders for keeping clutter under control.
By covering this triangular alcove with a set of sliding barn doors, architect John Conroy and interior designer Cammy Bailey of Princeton Design Collaborative carved out some much needed storage for their New Jersey clients. The oak doors of the toy and game closet, designed to match other nearby wood elements, and the strong horizontal line of the door track make the midcentury ranch home feel even more cohesive.
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The seemingly floating staircase in this industrial home outside Dresden, Germany, rises right in the middle of the house’s three gabled sections, and its aesthetic role is just as central. The steel and wire railings are eye-catching, but the staircase also serves a more practical purpose, says the architecture team at Büro für Bauform, which worked on the project. It divides the home into public and private spaces.
“Architecture should direct movement,” architect Jürgen Lehmeier says. “Guests should immediately realize where they’re allowed to enter and where they should only go with permission. Here, the staircase has this function. It both links to the [living room] and acts as part of it.”
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Clean, simple built-in shelves on either side of this Parisian stairway demonstrate how even an understated custom element can make a big impact. The design team at Atelier Eem added dual storage and display space without interrupting the room’s minimal white-and-warm-wood palette.
The cavity under each step often goes unused, but it can be a handy spot for subtle storage, as the pros at Gast Architects, Nina Punzi Designs and Aaron Gordon Construction prove in this historic San Francisco home. These drawers hold slippers for family members to change into as they enter the main living space.
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Pets, like children, can find comfort and a sense of security in having a space of their own. And what better retreat could there be than a little under-the-stair sanctuary?
The homeowners at this historic Massachusetts home wanted a dedicated space for their large dog’s bed and toys, so designer Chloë Rideout of Cummings Architects worked with them to incorporate a place for both under the home’s new back stairs. The new staircase echoes the original 1730 one at the front of the home with its narrow handrail, square newel and square balusters, but it also offers additional storage and headroom, plus a cozy nook for the family’s four-legged member.
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