Your staircase is one of the main focal points of your house. A central spine that links you and your visitors with different spaces. And effective stair lighting makes a real difference to the appearance of your staircase and hallway – whether subtle, expressive, or simply functional.
There is no one size fits all solution. It very much depends on design, structure, space available, and of course budget, but here we provide some tips and inspiration to guide you on your way to an illuminating staircase.
Whether you’re installing a new staircase, or simply want to add lighting to your existing staircase, be sure to think forward and plan ahead of any other work taking place. Ask yourself questions like - what effect are you looking for? Where do you have natural light already? Do you want to light from above, in the wall or at tread level? And what colour lighting will match the staircase and surrounding décor? This is a unique opportunity to really enhance your home so give it plenty of thought.
We all want to create that wow factor, but it is important to consider the practicalities of lighting on your staircase when choosing your lighting theme. For safety make sure you consider the possibility of glare from the lights. And think about maintaining your lights – they’ll need to be accessible for cleaning and when bulbs need replacing.
A consistent lighting theme is important to ensuring your staircase looks elegant rather than unplanned. This includes the positioning and symmetry of your lighting and fixing locations; colour consistency; and warmth and brightness of the lighting.
We’ve stated the importance of planning, practicality and consistency, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t get creative. Have fun and experiment with your lighting solutions, and check out different colours and fixing positions. Lighting can exaggerate illusions of space and really transform the atmosphere of your home.
Lighting can be installed in to the steps or treads of your stairs, making for a truly eye-catching focal point, particularly where the bottom of your staircase is positioned near the entrance to your home. Step lighting can be built directly into, or underneath, each individual step and create a stunning yet subtle warm glow all the way along your staircase.
(image courtesy of Reginald Coopland)
If you have a very narrow staircase, or if step lighting is not to your personal taste, utilising wall space with well positioned lighting can add a real radiance to both traditional and contemporary staircases. Either recessed or sitting against your wall, wall lights illuminate you and your guests up and down the stairs and can provide an incredibly effective and ambient effect. Once you have chosen your theme, experiment and match the wall lighting with mirrors, art and photographs.
For some staircases step lighting or wall lighting just isn’t viable, but feature lighting is a great alternative. Whether a single feature light hanging above your staircase, such as a chandelier or striking orb, or a few light fittings at the top and bottom of your staircase, these feature lights will effectively brighten every element of your staircase below. They also bring immediate glamour to your hallway.
Consider enlightening the underside of your staircase. Not only does this reflect light back into the hallway and through open staircases onto the stairway, but it is a great way to maximise a space that you may be underusing. The area has hundreds of potential uses - a few ideas include an ambient seating spot, a sophisticated storage space or even a den for your loved pets to relax.