Staircases are central design elements for the interior of any home and take up a considerable amount of your available space. They are often one of the most prominent features of the house and build an essential bridge between the levels of your home. If you’re building a custom home with the assistance of a residential architecture firm, you’ll want to carefully consider the design, structuring, and layout of your home’s staircase. The practicality and functionality of your home’s staircases are always worth reviewing.
The right staircase for your home supports the overall layout of your rooms, including the height and shape of the home itself. It’s also a visual focal point for the center of the home, which means your interior design is often built to match its layout. Building a staircase involves more than just a few blueprints and architectural drawings. Thanks to modern technology, architects and interior designers often utilize 3D visualizations of your space to give new homeowners a clear picture of how the staircase serves the rest of the home.
A sleek metal staircase helps keep spaces within your home open, with a continuation of the modern appeal between floors. On the other hand, a traditional staircase built with full box newel posts and wooden balusters brings a comfortable yet luxurious feel to both of the rooms that the stairs connect- even if it’s just a hallway on either end. Because the staircase is often in the space as your front door, it gives visitors entering your home an immediate sense of what your home looks and feels like for both you and for visitors.
To best describe the elements of your custom home’s ideal staircase, it’s a good idea to get a handle on some of the key associated design terms. These are particularly helpful for explaining to an architect or designer what your vision is for this central component of your home. The two basic terms for the size and structure of the staircase are its rise and run, where the run signifies horizontal depth while the rise indicates the height to which it rises.
For the sides of the staircase to differentiate between a baluster, a balustrade, and a banister. The banister is usually referential to the handrailing and sits along the top of the staircase structure. A baluster, which is also referred to as a spindle, is one of the vertical pieces between the top and bottom of the side of the staircase. Finally, the balustrade is the collective of these two pieces. The final post on the end of the banister is typically referred to as the newel, which the decorative piece on top of this post is referred to as the newel cap.
The primary structure of the staircase is a combination of risers and treads, with the treads of course, referring to the areas where your feet land. The wood or metal slat forming the tread often goes slightly beyond the riser below, forming a lip along the edge of each step that is sometimes called the nosing. Staircases with equally sized treads and risers are typically the easiest for home construction, though they can take up considerably more room. Spiral stairs, by comparison, are often tougher to transport and assemble due to their unusual size.
Choosing a layout and design for your custom home staircase begins with practical measurements and building plans. The size of your space, including both height and width of the room, can dictate what options are available for you. With that in mind, you’ll want to consider the following design elements when speaking with the residential architects and interior designers who are assisting with planning and constructing your new home.
When looking at staircase designs, the first decision is whether you want a simple straight staircase or a spiral one. Treads for spiral staircases are often much more expensive than they might be for a straight staircase unless you’re building the staircase with landings. The primary benefit of spiral staircases, beyond their potential for appealing to homeowners visually, is how they minimize the amount of space the staircase uses to build a link between the home’s floors.
Staircases with a simple straight layout offer the most room below the stairs. In many modern homes, this space is either left empty or utilized for a consecutive staircase that leads down to a basement or ground floor level. However, this space is more traditionally occupied with cabinets, a closet, or other storage space. Straight staircase designs often make it easier to implement treads and risers with extended width. Staircases that don’t run alongside the wall are often broader and more grand, giving the appearance of a grand entrance. These types of staircases typically occupy far more square footage than the average custom home can accommodate.
Designing a staircase for a custom home always requires attention to safety details and similar accessibility features. While a winding spiral staircase might look neat, it’s often significantly more of a hazard than is necessary. When you’re building a staircase for a public building, it’s essential to follow the American Disability Association guidelines. When constructing your custom home, you’ll want to have a staircase that at the least comes close to meeting some of these regulations.
When it comes to constructing a custom home, you’re usually building for long-term use that directly supports the needs of you and your family. Often, that means you’ll need to choose design options that support you as you age. Continuous handrails, non-slip tread surfaces, and even carpeting can make a difference when building something that’s both visually appealing and safe.
The design elements, layout, and practical features of your home’s staircases are all critical interior design components for custom homes. You’ll also need to consider the building materials and safety features of this home centerpiece. A residential architect is always the first person you’ll want to consult when thinking about staircase design for custom homes.