A staircase is a number of steps grouped together for the purpose of vertical advancement. A staircase is also known as a stairway, stairwell and stairs. Most staircases are accompanied by handrails for safety purposes. Some styles of cool staircase designs are more functional than others.
Gallery Ideas of Cool Staircase Designs
Common Stairway – The common stairway is usually at a 45-degree angle and can be any height or width. It is also referred to as a straight staircase. This style of staircase is usually found in houses.
Spiral Staircase – A spiral staircase usually takes up the least amount of space because it wraps around a vertical pole like a helix. As you climb these stairs, you must constantly turn with each step, which makes it impractical if you must carry a large object while climbing (such as a laundry basket or even a child). Also, tall people should be careful climbing spiral staircases, because future steps are just above the head. Spiral staircases are rarely used as a main stairway because of building code restrictions.
Circular Staircase – The circular staircase differs from a spiral staircase in that it is not all connected to one vertical pole. These stairs are usually much wider than spiral staircases and often run along the side of a curved wall. The purpose of this sweeping design of staircase is usually for aesthetic value. An alternative to the circular stairway is the “L” shaped design, which is a common straight stairway with a landing about halfway or two-thirds down, at which point the remaining stairs continue to the right or left.
Freestanding Staircase – A freestanding staircase is one that you can walk under, which makes it popular for smaller rooms, where every bit of possible space is needed.
Railings and Banisters – A very traditional staircase design ascends in a straight line, with a wooden banister parallel to the stairs, a little above waist-height and secured to each step by a wooden spindle or baluster. Often the balusters are turned, with smoothly rounded edges. A modern, stark look can be achieved by painting the banisters a contrasting color and using clean, crisp lines. Other common materials include aluminum, vinyl and even wrought iron. Aluminum or vinyl are ideal for all-weather spaces, and wrought iron lends a sophisticated touch. Ornate banisters often end with a flourish, sometimes circling around a finial at their base. Wooden banisters may feature decorative carvings. A full banister and balusters will provide the greatest safety of any staircase designs, making them ideal for homes with children or the infirm.
Unusual Designs – Typical staircase layouts include the spiral staircase, which has pie-shaped steps winding around a central beam; the straight staircase, which is usually flush with a single wall; and the L-shaped staircase, which ascends to a landing and then changes direction for the rest of the ascent. Among these basic types, countless variations abound. Milk Design, of Chicago, includes examples of non-traditional staircases as part of its online portfolio. Simple straight staircases are updated with contrasting materials and colors. Plexiglass replaces traditional balusters to offer safety without sacrificing a degree of transparency. Iron and Wire specializes in balustrades made from heavy-duty wire. For homes without children, “floating” staircases are without any railings whatsoever, complementing sleek, contemporary design.
Storage and Multi-Use Stairs – Many designers have caught on to the considerable unused space available beneath a staircase and have taken advantage of it for extra storage. In many older homes, the space beneath a straight staircase is walled off and used as an enclosed closet or cabinet. Some innovative designs also incorporate storage. Unicraft Joinery, of Australia, has designed staircases with individual drawers enclosed within each step. An innovative staircase-cum-bookshelf was designed for a London flat by Rodrigues Associates, Structural Engineers. Between each of the steps, a recessed shelf offers ample storage for books, magazines and CDs.
Staircases can be made of many materials, with traditional looks relying heavily on wood, and more modern aesthetics making use of different metals, heavy-gauge wires or man-made materials. Variations in cool staircase designs may come from unusual banisters or railings, vertiginous and sleek free-floating steps or from unusual storage spaces integrated into the stairs.