Brilliant Ideas for Lighting Your Staircase
Make a feature of your staircase with a lighting scheme that’s more than merely functional
Don’t leave the quality of your staircase lighting to chance. Test out the colour of the light you plan to use against any materials and paint colours to ensure the colour rendering is exactly what you’d like it to be.
This is particularly true of LED lighting, where the various temperatures (measured in kelvins, or ‘K’) can look vastly different and the wrong combination can lead to an entirely uninspiring space. Here, the warm, amber light is striking against the wood.
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Cleverly placed lights at the edges of these cantilevered treads create the impression the stairs are floating in midair. To achieve an effect like this, the lighting design would have needed to be decided well before the staircase was installed. So make sure you think ahead: don’t waste an opportunity to create a unique and interesting lighting scheme just for lack of planning!
In this hallway, a small gap has been left between the staircase and wall and filled with LED lighting for a floating feeling.
The result is fantastic, but creating a shadow gap effect like this has to be built in from an early stage. You need to consider the possibility of glare from the lights. The diodes should be either out of direct sight or hidden by a high-quality frosted cover.
Other practical issues, such as maintenance and cleaning, also need to be taken into account, and it’s important to note that the wall will require excellent plasterwork, as any imperfections will be emphasised by the LED beams!
Something that’s not seen particularly often is lighting on the underside of a staircase. It’s an interesting effect, and accentuates the twisted shape of the staircase. The cooler temperature of light used here works well with the minimalist interior without being so blue as to be cold.
In this hallway, two different lighting effects have been used. A linear light under the stair treads combines with a wash of light across them to create an interesting and varied result.
The lighting here really creates an impact, as it accentuates the strong lines of the staircase. Careful planning would have been needed to configure the risers, nosing and cable access here.
The warm, linear LED fittings sit well with the oak and, because they are built into the underside of the treads, they are totally glare-free and thus create a subtle and soothing atmosphere. The effect would be lost if the diodes could be seen.
The clean lines of this minimalist staircase are complemented by the discreet and ‘remote’ wall wash from the downlights above. LED technology has made these difficult-to-change lights in very high places much more viable, as they last much longer and provide a good quality of light.
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Accent lighting highlights the shape of this wonderfully curved staircase. Small, mushroom-like LEDs push light out across the treads, while a single powerful, ground-recessed uplight shines onto the underside of the staircase, emphasising the shape. These accent lights are a great way to ensure the lit areas are strongly defined.
Here, the under-tread lighting on the bottom four steps echoes the natural light that floods in through the gaps between treads further up. This is a great way to create continuity, and to stop one half of the staircase from feeling much darker than the other. It also helps to highlight the linear structure of the staircase.
When putting a lot of light into a small space, it’s particularly important that the colour temperature of the light is consistent across the different fittings, as it is here, to avoid a cluttered and unplanned look.
If you are lucky enough to have a curved staircase, accentuate its sweeping nature and smooth lines with curved lighting. The strips at the top of the banister create a soft glow, but aren’t quite enough to light the treads, so additional spots have been installed further down, which add another dimension to the space.
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Does lighting feature in your staircase? Share your thoughts and any photos in the Comments below.