When it comes to designing your staircase, making one decision can lead to many other to-do items. The shape of your staircase is the first thing you’ll need to consider before delving into other style elements like the steps, risers, or banister. There are eight popular types of stairs to choose from, ranging from simple to extravagant. Take a look at each option and bring your preferred choices to your architect and contractor to determine what works best for your home.
A straight staircase is a simple and classic staircase design that goes straight up from one floor to another. It is usually composed of a series of steps with no turns or landings in between. The steps are typically supported by a central stringer or two side stringers that are attached to the wall or embedded into the floor. Straight staircases are a popular choice for homes and buildings because of their simplicity, versatility, and ease of construction. They can also be customized with different materials, finishes, and handrails to match the style of the space.
L-shaped (a.k.a. quarter-turn)
An L-shaped staircase, also known as a quarter-turn staircase, is a type of staircase that changes direction at a landing, forming an L shape. The landing serves as a platform where the staircase turns 90 degrees, usually either to the left or right. L-shaped staircases can be composed of two straight flights connected by a landing, or one straight flight and one angled flight. This design is commonly used in residential homes because it allows for a more gradual ascent and saves space compared to a straight staircase.
A winder staircase is a type of staircase that is similar to an L-shaped staircase but instead of a landing, it has wedge-shaped treads that turn the staircase in a tight radius. The treads on one side of the staircase are wider than the other, which allows the staircase to turn. Winder staircases are often used in spaces where there isn’t enough room for a landing or where the design calls for a more dramatic turn. They are commonly used in older homes and buildings and can be a challenge to navigate due to the irregular shape of the treads.
U-shaped (a.k.a. half-turn)
A U-shaped staircase, also known as a half-turn staircase, is a type of staircase that changes direction 180 degrees with a landing in the middle. It consists of two parallel flights of stairs that are connected by a landing in the shape of a U. This design is commonly used in larger homes and buildings where there is ample space and a more gradual ascent is desired. The landing in the middle can be used to create a dramatic focal point or to provide a rest area. They are a versatile and elegant option for many types of buildings.
A spiral staircase is a type of staircase that spirals upward in a circular or helical pattern around a central pole or column. The steps of a spiral staircase are usually wedge-shaped and taper as they ascend. The spiral design of the staircase allows it to take up less space than other types of staircases, making it ideal for small spaces or areas where a traditional staircase would not fit. However, they can be more difficult to navigate than other types of staircases due to the narrow width of the treads and the steep incline. Spiral staircases can be made of various materials such as wood, metal, and glass, and can be freestanding or attached to a wall.
In contrast to winder or L-shaped staircases, a curved style does not feature landings. Instead, the stairs flow seamlessly and continuously, following the curve of the banister to create a bold and eye-catching architectural statement.
A bifurcated staircase is a type of grand staircase that features a single flight of stairs that splits into two at the bottom, creating a wide and dramatic entrance. The two flights of stairs branch out and curve upward in opposite directions, often leading to a landing or series of landings. Bifurcated staircases are typically found in grand homes, mansions, and public buildings where the staircase serves as a focal point and statement piece. They can be made of various materials such as wood, stone, or metal and can be customized with different finishes, balustrades, and handrails to match the design of the space. Bifurcated staircases are a classic and elegant option for those looking to make a bold statement with their staircase.
A ladder staircase, also known as a vertical ladder or ship’s ladder, is a type of staircase that is typically used in small spaces where a traditional staircase would not fit, such as lofts, attics, or boats. It consists of a straight vertical ladder with treads or rungs that are spaced evenly apart for climbing up and down. Due to their steep incline and narrow width, ladder staircases are not suitable for everyday use and are usually used as a means of access to a particular area. They are a space-saving option that can be customized to fit the unique needs of the space.