How to Design Functional and Safe Stairs in Your Home


Unless you are in love with a fireman’s pole and plan to install it in your two-storey house or apartment, chances are you’ll need to build stairs. This integral architectural element can be a treat for the eyes, but it can also be a pain in the neck. After all, this is an intricate structure and requires a certain approach in design. If you are already slightly at a loss as to how to build beautiful and functional stairs, we are here to help you. In this article, we’ll give you a handful of surefire tips that will help you end up with the safest and prettiest stairs in the neighborhood. Let’s get rolling.

1. Add Enough Light

If you have a two-storey (or more) house, the stairs will be heavily used. It is your duty as a homeowner or a landlord to make these stairs as safe as possible. One of the best ways to ensure that is to add enough lighting. If your stairs are placed in the area of the house with little natural light, illuminate the stairs. You have two options. Firstly, you can install a skylight if your house allows it. If not, go the artificial way. Install enough lighting fixtures above the stairs and add some at the bottom. You are worried about the lights running up the electrical bill, it would be wise to use motion sensor lights.

2. Design the Stairs Wisely

Design of room with stylish white staircase

In order to have the stairs that would look organic in your habitat and be functional as well, you need to properly design this element. A simple sketch on a sheet of paper won’t do – you need to plan the stairs digitally to make sure everything is of the right size and all the components are in the right place. You can easily do it with Interior Design 3D. This stair design software will help you calculate and plan everything about your stairs – the number to the steps that would be enough for your floor heights, their width, the rise and the length of the staircase, etc. The software has a collection of various stair types that you can virtually try in your home and even later take a 3D tour around your place to see how it all would look like in real life.

3. Make the Runs Longer

Look at all the feet in your household. Would people with larger feet be comfortable stepping on a narrow treat? Hardly. That’s why you need to make the runs longer. The absolute minimum you can go with is 11 inches, but people with larger feet will still have troubles safely stepping on them. So consider adding an additional 2 inches. If you are worried about the overall size of the stairs growing because of it – you shouldn’t. The changes won’t be so drastic. But the changes in safety concerns will be grand.

4. Consider a Second Railing

Cute design of a room with a wooden brown staircase

Let’s consider safety once again. After all, stairs are an accident waiting to happen, so you can never be too careful when planning them. Adding a second rail is an excellent idea. First of all, another rail will ensure that you have something to hold on to when both descending and ascending. Moreover, a second rail will be much appreciated by left-handed people living in the world created for right-handed people. People with limited mobility can use both rail simultaneously.

5. Choose the Right Surfaces and Shapes

If you want to make your stairs as safe as possible but also aesthetically pleasing, go with rounded corners. This way you’ll make sure no one bumps into a sharp corner in the night. As for the material you use for the steps, try to find the less slippery option. Marble stairs look awesomely graceful, but they are way too slippery even when dry. Wood surfaces are fine and easy to clean, but can also be a hazard. Adding a carpet will help you minimize the risks as this material cushions and falls and even muffles louder steps.

Well, it looks like you now know the main secrets of properly designed stairs. It is now completely in your power to plan the stairs that will be not only perfectly functional, but also safe for all your family members  – even pets – to use. So go ahead and make your dreams of the perfect stairs come true.