When speaking of interior design and home decor one usually refers to choosing the style of the furniture, of the furnishing accessories, of textile products and of designer items. Architectural elements, window and door frames, and load-bearing structures are hardly ever considered an integral part of the interior design, although, if you think about it, they contribute to lend personality, comfort, a luxurious appearance and a dash of charm to your home.
Have you ever thought of indoor staircases as furnishing elements? Besides carrying out an important role, that is connecting the storeys of the house, staircases deserve to be considered designer products.
Indoor staircase lighting, which is often underestimated, is an element that can enhance the aesthetics of the structure, while guaranteeing safety and usability. Let’s find out more.
Appliques for indoor staircases
Light fixtures for indoor staircase lighting are elegant tributes to practicality, and can be installed on walls, on the ceiling, on the steps and even on the handrail. Here is an extensive overview.
The modern and striking wall lighting for indoor staircases consists in installing panel lights, downlights, wall lamps, designer appliques or LED strip lights along the walls beside the staircase. We suggest you choose light fixtures that can emit an intense light beam.
The effect that you can get basically depends on the distance between the walking surface and where the light sources are installed. Placing the lights at about one metre from the surface provides a diffused lighting. Installing LED downlights just above every step creates appealing light effects, whereas placing the light sources high up guarantees that the entire stairwell is evenly illuminated.
If you like this solution, go look at the luxury wall lamps by the Tuscan maison Officina Luce and see if there is the right one for you.
Lighting for the steps
If the staircase has got neat, basic geometric shapes, a lighting system for the steps integrated in the staircase or added afterwards with LED strip lights is a solution that can enhance the spaces.
Have you got a designer staircase with stone rise? The backlighting of the rise is a solution that creates strong visual impact and an alluring diffused light effect on every step, while it brings out the charming pattern of the stone.
Installing a downlight on every step is also suitable for spiral staircases made of wood, iron, marble, steel or reinforced concrete, as it brings out the unique, fine materials and the original geometric shapes, but without exaggerating.
It’s also possible to illuminate the staircase and the adjacent space from above with specific ceiling lamps that are light and manageable. For medium to large stairwells, it can be a winning idea to install a spectacular ceiling lamp, perhaps a waterfall lamp, that fills up the space at the centre with its great personality.
On the market you can find very original handrails that have got two light sources. The light source placed in the lower part of the handrail illuminates the steps, whereas the one installed inside emits light towards the wall and illuminates the stairwell. The result is spectacular and it creates strong visual impact.
Lighting integrated in the staircase
It’s becoming more and more common to make lights for indoor designer staircases that are completely integrated in the staircase structure. The goal is to make the lighting one with the staircase, as if the latter were imagined and designed with its own specially-made lighting.
How to illuminate indoor staircases: a mini guide
In order to choose the lighting system that suits best an architectural element that is part of the furniture but also has a practical role, such as a staircase, you need to consider the style of the room and, most importantly, the type of staircase.
Here is some advice.
Open staircases are among the most common solutions in modern homes, and they usually connect the living area and the sleeping area. These structures are completely exposed, and for this reason it’s very important that they are aesthetically pleasing. The solutions that are most suitable for an open staircase are:
- designer appliques placed at regular intervals that cast light both upwards and downwards;
- spotlights installed on the wall and oriented towards the steps;
- LED lights under each step to highlight every rise;
- LED strip lights along the handrail;
- full-height LED profiles on the wall.
Make sure that the switches are easy to reach when going up and down.
In the case of a wooden staircase, installing LED downlights at a short distance from the walking surface is a solution that creates a perfect balance between illuminated areas and darker areas, and it brings out the wood’s grain. At the same time, it also enhances the staircase structure by lending extraordinary lightness and transparency. The number of lights and the distance between them basically depend on the power of the light chosen.
These ideas are particularly suitable for Scandinavian-style wooden staircase, typical wooden staircases.
Staircase with walls on both sides
A staircase that consists of one flight of stairs with walls on both sides doesn’t receive any light from outside. In this case, the best solution is to insert elegant step lights or an LED profile along the handrail that casts the light beam on the opposite wall. This way, the steps but also the entire stairwell will be evenly illuminated.
Double flight open staircase with railing
In the case of a double flight open staircase with railing, inserting full-height LED profiles is a solution that illuminates the stairwell properly, while lending a modern and original appearance to the space. Ceiling lights are also appropriate, as they emit an enveloping, diffused light.
Stone or wooden spiral staircase
In order to illuminate a spiral staircase that is built around a central pivot, it can be useful to install floor spotlights. It’s a solution that brightens the wall and also bathes the entire area in light, from the floor to the ceiling.
Another option is to install LED strip lights on the side or a wall lamp that illuminates downwards. This solution is also suitable for the so-called fixed ladders that consist of narrow, non-aligned steps with a shaped tread. This way, there won’t be any dark spots when going up or down the stairs.
Open staircase along a wall
Illuminating the steps with recessed downlights that emit light asymmetrically is a solution that guarantees brightness and visual comfort, and it’s perfect for an open staircase along a wall. The light source is decentred, and the light bulb is placed on top and it’s slightly tilted.
Staircase in an apartment building
There are three possible solutions for illuminating the staircase in an apartment building:
- installing a vertical ceiling lamp;
- installing wall lamps on the walls along the flights of stairs;
- installing LED wall lamps on each landing in order to illuminate the beginning and the end of each flight.
As for the norms regarding the lighting in apartment buildings, the 1994 law UNI EN 10380 is applied in Italy: it provides that passageways such as stairs, entrance halls, doorways, landings and hallways are equipped with lighting systems that enable clear vision of obstacles or dangers.