12 modern staircase ideas – contemporary looks and designs (2024)

Staircases serve a great deal of purpose and while they are mainly there for function, they can add a lot of style also. If your home is contemporary through and through, when it comes to modern staircase ideas, there is lots to get creative with. From different materials to choose from, to innovative tread designs and more, you'll quickly be able to add interest to this often overlooked house feature in no time.

Think floating steps for minimal looks, ornate metal detailing and completely blocked in or sleek finishes. Whether your main staircase ideas come into play within an open plan apartment or in a suburban home, finding the right configuration for your home will make an incredible difference.

Modern staircase ideas that impress

Making your staircase the focal point of your home is easily done. Considering the important part they play in a home, they don't often get the decorative attention they deserve.

But, you can instantly invigorate the look of your space with a new type of carpet, painted wooden treads or by choosing glass and metal designs. Whether you’re building a new home or replacing an existing staircase with a modern design, we've showcased our favorite options below.

1. Eye-catching, sculptural designs

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(Image credit: Benjamin Moore)

This modern staircase idea is truly stunning. The blond wood teamed with the metal spindles gives it a sculptural quality and it has a Scandinavian feel with the clean lines and white painted support. This staircase is ideal for minimalists, it’s the focal point of the room and doesn’t need overly decorated surroundings to help it stand out. So you can choose a neutral staircase paint look instead and you'll still enjoy maximum impact. See our guide for how to paint a staircase yourself too.

2. Save space with a spiral staircase

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(Image credit: The Radiator Centre)

Spiral staircases are a great option for small spaces, or those that can benefit from a mezzanine floor. They take up little space structurally and can be designed to fit into your existing interior style.

Perfect for darker and smaller hallway spaces, they don’t block the light out either and can help to create a light and airy feel.

3. Keep it light and airy with a (mostly) all white scheme

(Image credit: Maestri Studio/Jenifer McNeil Baker)

If your entryway is on the dark side then brighten it all up with a white scheme – this goes for your staircase design too, don't opt for a 'heavy' looking style as Eddie Maestri, AIA principal architect, creative director and owner of Maestri Studio explains:

'This light and bright stair hall is accentuated with a very simple stair design.The clean, sharp lines give it a modern feel while letting the arches and paneling balance with the traditional aspects of the home.'

4. Get your color from the timber

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(Image credit: Carpetright)

The rich wood used in this staircase means it’s an essential part of the color scheme in the rest of the space. The warm tones like perfectly to the orange accents of the vases and artwork, whilst the white acts as a modern blank canvas. The glass sides give it a really contemporary feel.

5. Add drama with a stunning pendant

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(Image credit: Stone & Ceramic Warehouse)

When your staircase links to more than one floor, elevate your staircase lighting by hanging a long pendant that visually ties in from top to bottom whilst illuminating the entire stairwell. Both the pendant you choose and the staircase design should complement each other and in this case, use materials that link them like stainless steel.

6. Consider the scheme around the staircase

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(Image credit: Mel Bean Interiors )

Your staircase needs to suit its surroundings, as Mel Bean, founder of Mel Bean Interiors explains:

‘I like to be able to respond to all personalities and dynamics, and this client was fun and open to pushing boundaries. Throughout the home, including the staircase, I mixed complementary patterns, colors, and textures so the space stands out without being too noisy. It was also important to me to combine new pieces, like the fabrics and lighting, with personalized pieces from the owners - like the artwork in the gallery wall.’

7. Link your staircase and decor scheme with color

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(Image credit: The Radiator Centre)

Painting a staircase is a great idea and we love the look of a fresh coat of paint on the side of the stairwell also. This look keeps the space modern and ties in beautifully with the kitchen island in the background. It’s also worth matching your flooring with the staircase too for a cohesive look.

The thin wire spindles give a modern touch and allow light to flow through this smart design.

8. Go for an all white railing look

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(Image credit: Carpetright)

We love this modern staircase railing idea that’s crafted from white powder coated steel. It adds to the overall look of the space, adding a little balance, without distracting from the space behind it.

Visually it takes up little space which is why white is such a great idea for a contemporary living room.

9. Decorate the side of the staircase with tiles

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(Image credit: Bert & May )

If you prefer a more solid looking staircase opt for one like this. It gives you a wall space to play with that could be used as a gallery wall and you could tile all of it. We love how the tiles flow from the floor to the side wall, adding more decorative design interest and helping to visually carry the color scheme up the staircase.

10. For a truly modern feel opt for a floating staircase

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(Image credit: Stone & Ceramic Warehouse)

Uber sleek and oh-so-modern, this floating modern staircase idea is for those who totally embrace the contemporary feel.

With three discreet glass panels along the side, this staircase ticks all the boxes if you love minimalist design. The neutral colored walls add warmth and tie in with the stone floor tiles and crisp white furniture.

11. Choose a wood staircase for warmth

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(Image credit: The Radiator Centre)

Whilst monochromatic schemes are striking, it can be good to add in some materials to ‘warm’ the overall look up a little.

In this smart living space the modern staircase does just that as the wooden treads tie in with the wooden floorboards and kitchen island.

The jet black rail matches the rest of the scheme, so you get a perfect balance.

12. Create harmony with darker colored accents

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(Image credit: Maydan Architects/John Sutton)

We asked Mary Maydan, founder and principal of Maydan Architects on how to introduce a new staircase into a scheme with balance:

'I wanted the staircase to make a powerful statement without taking over the room. We achieved this by using a dark grey tile for the flooring and underside of the stairs, and a matching powder coated gray color for the stringers, top handrail, and posts. We complemented it with stainless cables for the railing to keep it thin and elegant.

I love the shadows that the staircase casts on the floor. Since there is so much glass in the surrounding room and we are in sunny California, it creates interest and brings a lot of life to the space.'

How do you modernize a timber staircase?

If you want to use the staircase you have but it’s currently covered in carpet and painted then there are several things you can do. Firstly, remove the carpet and check out the condition of the wood underneath. If there’s paint on it you can remove it, if not, and the wood’s in good condition then it might simply need a wood stain to give it a new look. You can add lights too and a new handrail.

How do I make stairs more interesting?

You can really get creative with your stairs to make them more interesting, paint for example is a great option – paint each step a different color so they start light and get darker as you go up. You can add wallpaper and tiles to the risers so each one has a pattern. Trying different stair runner ideas is a great way to add color and practicality to your space. On the actual wall of the stairs you can hang mirrors and artwork, and don’t forget there’s a huge selection of paneling options too – from ornate metalwork to contemporary glass panels.

12 modern staircase ideas – contemporary looks and designs (2024)

FAQs

What is the trend in stairs in 2024? ›

Bringing the outdoors in is a timeless trend that continues to flourish in 2024. Staircase Trends adorned with nature-inspired elements such as botanical patterns on risers, vine-like balustrades, or even incorporating natural materials like reclaimed wood, showcase a harmonious blend of design and nature.

What is trending in staircases? ›

Metal and glass stairways will be very popular in the 2023 staircase trends. These stunning stairs are a common sight in homes and businesses alike. Metal and glass stairs, whether they're conventionally straight or feature a unique central spine, provide a dramatic and sophisticated visual experience.

How do you make stairs look modern? ›

You can modernise an old staircase by adding bold or bright colours in the paint on the walls or the decor you choose to hang on them. You could opt for a stair runner or carpet with a bold design like neon edging.

What is the most efficient staircase design? ›

Straight Staircase: A straight staircase is the most common and traditional layout. It consists of a series of steps that lead directly to the upper floor, without any turns or landings. This layout is simple, easy to use, and requires minimal space. It is also the most economical option and the easiest to construct.

What is the rule of 27 for stairs? ›

What is the rule of 27 for stairs? Your stairway should be 27 inches or wider as measured below the handrail if there are rails on both sides. This is for comfort purposes, and ideally, you should make it as wide as possible.

What is the rule of 17 stairs? ›

Tips for Making Stair Stringers

The sum of one rise and one tread should be 17-18 inches. If the sum is greater than 18 3/4 inches, there's a mistake. Correct your measurements.

What are the most popular stairs? ›

Straight stairs are stairs without any changes in direction. They are certainly one of the most common types of stairs found in both residential and commercial properties. Below are examples of straight floating stairs made with a variety of stringer styles, railing types, and wood species.

What does a floating staircase look like? ›

Floating stairs are designed to look like they're floating in mid-air without any structural support. They differ from traditional staircases in that a special mounting piece is engineered to support the staircase. The mount is then either attached to the wall or hidden underneath the stair treads.

What is the cheapest style of stairs? ›

Straight staircases have the most basic and straightforward design, involving a linear structure without curves or angles. Their simplicity reduces material and labor costs. You can also save on the cost of railings for stairs by choosing a simple design.

How to layout a living room with stairs? ›

To optimise space, a very common solution is to exploit the area under the steps to place cupboards or containers of various kinds. It is essential to choose them with the same finish and in the same colour as the staircase, to keep an even appearance of the room and create visual continuity.

What is smart staircase? ›

Smart LED stairs is a system of modern LED lighting control of stairs, using intelligent LED stair controllers, dusk sensors and stair motion sensors.

Are stair runners still in style? ›

Today's modern interior design is all about decorating and paying attention to all spaces in the home, even if they are transitional ones like stairs. In cases of narrow staircases or ones that are in the middle of the home, where walls aren't an option to decorate on, stair runners are the ideal candidates.

Are people with stairs in their house in better shape? ›

Climbing vertically requires you to work against gravity, which challenges your muscles and bones to work harder, which ultimately makes them stronger. Plus, climbing stairs can increase your heart rate as much as jogging or running on flat ground, while placing less impact on your bones and joints.

When should you replace stairs? ›

If you have started seeing visible cracks in your stairs' treads, which are the parts that you step on, or on the risers, which are the vertical parts that sits perpendicular to the treads, this is a sure sign of a need for a repair or replacement.

Why is there always 13 stairs? ›

Not all houses, thats just an urban myth, but in the UK there are building regulations saying that for every metre of height there must be a certain number of steps to prevent trips and falls. Since Steps are usually 8 1/8 inches or less and ceiling height is 8 feet then it takes 13 steps to make it work.

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