Stunning Staircases: 61 Styles, Ideas and Solutions

Find staircase design inspiration for a variety of situations, from maxing out storage under the stairs to giving stairs more style with painted designs or fresh-looking runners.
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You can do much more under a staircase than merely set up storage. Use this area to max out functionality in a dining room, den, foyer or kitchen.

You can do much more under a staircase than merely set up storage. Use this area to max out functionality in a dining room, den, foyer or kitchen.

One of the things I love the most about my job as programming manager for is discovering the things you love about us, but also the things you want to see. And long have I labored on a piping-hot laptop eager to fulfill a common desire among passionate DIYers: staircases!Let's face it, very few of us could add an interior staircase where there isn't one now or heavily remodel an existing one. More approachable DIY staircase projects are utilizing them for additional storage or painting them. A wooden staircase, especially one that has lost its luster, can be painted with powder-room-esque gusto, as Shannon Kaye demonstrates here.

How to Paint Decorative Stairs 03:49

Shannon Kaye demonstrates how to paint a decorative "runner" on stairs.

Shannon's project — coupled with your response to it — caused us to dig around for more painted staircase inspiration, like Bryan Patrick Flynn's step-by-step faux runner and seven more colorful examples.

Staircases Painted to Perfection

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Count Your Steps

These stairs earn an A+ in creativity! Design by Sarah Richardson

Multicolored Hues

Painting each stair riser a different color can add a pop of color to an otherwise unnoticed space and depth to a small staircase area. Design by Rate My Space contributor KITTENCAMPBELL.

Walkway Wisdom

The front porch stairs to an ocean-themed curb appeal makeover are home to a paraphrased quote by Loren Eiseley, an American anthropologist.

One Stripe at a Time

Cortney and Bob Novogratz of Sixx Design gave these stairs some significant girl power. Decorating a feminine living room on their show, HGTV's Home by Novogratz, they were sure to incorporate the staircase as an important decorating opportunity.

Photo By: Emilee Ramsier ©2011, HGTV/Scripps Networks, LLC

Number the Way

Black-stenciled numbers on the stair risers add fun and creative touch in a subtle manner.


With paint, stencils and a little time, you can personalize your stairs with a range of textures, patterns and colors.

Tile Substitute

Instead of continuing a losing battle with scuff marks, Rate My Space user katbeveridge painted the white risers to look like tile.

And then there are those of us who love the infinite design aesthetics of a smartly conceived flight of stairs. Wooden staircases immediately come to mind, but the traditional medium doesn't mean design has to follow convention.

Wooden Staircases for Branching Out

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White Wood

Photo By: Gordon Beall

Charcoal Balusters

The charcoal-colored balusters add a subtle personalization to this staircase railing. Design by Gina Samarotto 

Lighted Steps

Insert track lighting underneath stair steps to add dramatic effect. Design by Ilija Karlusic

Photo By: Rhiannon Slatter

Shutter Railing

A creative railing made from wooden Balinese window shutters is both functional and decorative. Design by Kathleen Perkins

Coastal White

Enhance the theme of any beach, coastal or nautical design with an all-white staircase.

High Lights

The circular entryway is framed by a spiral wooden staircase accentuated by a heightened ceiling and skylights. Design by Dave Stimmel

Intricate Banister

Detailed woodwork on the staircase railing gives added visual interest. Design by Barry Dixon

Photo By: ©Edward Addeo ©Gibbs Smith, Farrow and Ball, Brian D Coleman, Edward Addeo (photographer)

Geometric Railing

This white wood staircase is a refreshing design element that complements the mint green striped walls. The geometric railing design resembles wood lattice work bringing a bit of the outdoors into this entry space. Design by Leta Austin Foster

Glass Railing

The glass railing is a non-traditional element to a wood staircase that complements the room's industrial style. Design by Nicole Sassaman

Photo By: design by Nicole Sassaman

Interior Windows

HGTV's 2012 Green Home features a unique railing with interior windows designed to let light pass through the stairwell.

Photo By: Eric Perry

Light and Dark Contrast

The stark white walls and interior furniture stand out against dark wood floors and staircase. Design by Andreas Charalambous

Photo By: Geoffrey Hodgdon

Another time-honored staircase medium that is enjoying renewed interest is iron. Although the perception of iron staircases can be dominated by the standard bar railing, you'll delight in some of the breathtakingly intricate designs we discovered.

Elegant Iron Staircases

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Design by Cindy Aplanalp

Photo By: B-Rad Studios

Old World Style

Design by PDI

All in the Details

The wrought-iron staircase railing echoes the iron work on the front doors and helps tie a large entryway together.

Double Staircase

Design by Dahlia Mahmood


Design by Barry Dixon

Photo By: Edward Addeo


This curved staircase helps provide a form for the bar area below. Design by Dave Stimmel

Coastal Living

The iron stair railings are bent to resemble the natural movement of waves in the ocean, as well as the curve of the staircase itself. Design by Allison Rejeanne


Tropical Glamour

This spiraling staircase accentuates the large dome ceiling, which is made of hand-applied fish scales. Design by Barry Dixon

Antique Elegance

Mixing Spanish and French design, this entry space provides a sophisticated welcome. Design by Betty Lou Phillips

Double-Helix Spiral

Design by Barry Dixon

Photo By: Edward Addeo

Traditional Entry

Photo By:

Geometric Grandeur

Photo By: Ben_Rollins

More and more often, under-stair storage is graduating from standard shelving and cubby holes to more imaginative options that embrace kitchen, home office and family room entertainment.

Stylish Options for Staircase Storage

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Wine Cellar Storage

Create a space to display your wine collection that also functions as a interesting work of art. Design by Nicole Sassaman

Photo By: design by Nicole Sassaman

Pet Alcove

This under-stair storage featured in HGTV's 2014 Dream Home provides a stylish place for a furry friend. The alcove also features a Dutch door to keep pets up while guests are over, while still allowing them to see the party. Design by Linda Woodrum

Photo By: Eric Perry

Multipurpose Storage

Space under the stairs can be used to store any odds and ends that tend to make thier way into our lives. Because of its close proximity to the kitchen, this storage space was used as a mini bar, but the space could also be used to store a book collection or used as a crafting space. Design by John Gidding.

Small Space Storage

Under stairs can be an ideal place for an office in a small space. Looks like poised pup, Chauncey, approves! Design by Brian Patrick Flynn

Photo By: Photographer: Christina Wedge

Basement Storage

These basement stairs also function as an extra computer space. Tip: Due to the nature of basement stairs, it is important to assess the stability of the stairs before adding any storage underneath.

Entryway Storage

Storage underneath an entry staircase is the perfect place to hide all the shoes, keys, backpacks and coats that always end up crowding the floor space next to the front door. This allows for grab-and-go access for often-used items.

Living Room Storage

Expand your living room space by adding an entertainment center under your stairs. Design by Alicia Friedmann

Kitchen Storage

This bar area was crafted under the staircase for maximum functionality, even featuring an under-the-counter refrigerator. The space can also be used as additional cabinet storage for your unending supply of cups and plates.

Pantry Storage

This small space from HGTV's Meg's Great Rooms features a pantry under the staircase for easy access as well as hidden storage.

Photo By: Jean-Marc Giboux/Getty Images

I don't know about you, but I remember the (shag) carpeted stairs of my youth. They left a lot to be desired in terms of function or looks. Today's runners, however, are a perfect way to enhance your home's style with colorful panache.

Runway-Ready Carpeted Staircases

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The Art of Color

Add a pop of color to your space with a multi-colored carpet runner. Photo courtesy of Matthew Mead

Photo By: unknown


A bold patterned carpet runner can add visual interest to a neutral space. Design by Paisley McDonald


If your space is already buzzing with color and patterns, use a neutral, textured carpet runner to tone down the staircase while still adding interest. Design by Susan Anthony

Photo By: Tim Lee


Mimicking the stripes on the wall with stripes in the carpet runner helps to tie the space together. Design by John Lyle and Mark Umbach

Complementary Colors

Designer Sallie Giordano is known for her traditional style. This teal carpet runner accents the teal color in the printed wallpaper.

Photo By: Edward Addeo


A neutral carpet runner can soften a bright, vibrant wall color. Design by Julia West

Walking on the Wild Side

Bring out your wild side with a bold animal print carpet runner. This particular runner is wool for practicality and warmth. Design by Betty Lou Phillips

Photo By: Scott Womack ©, 2013 Gibbs Smith, Allure of French & Italian Decor, Betty Lou Phillips


This patterned carpet runner with brass stair rods draws your eye up the sweeping staircase, enhancing the grandeur of the entryway. Design by Ron Nathan

A Warm Welcome

Design by Shane Inman

Black and White

A plain, neutral carpet runner along the black staircase breaks up the bold-patterned entryway floor. Design by Design the Line Interiors

And no staircase compendium would be complete without the most inspirational style a homeowner could conceive of when considering a remodel or build. Although in line with more Modern homes, floating staircases are enthusiastically embraced in most any home style.

Floating Staircases for Cloud Nine Design

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Walking on Water

This staircase from HGTV's Million Dollar Rooms winds through the foyer of the Acqua Liana Estate in Palm Beach County, Fla.

Walking on Water

Seen through glass windows at the back of the home, the Acqua Liana Estate glass stairs serve as a functional walkway and spectacular work of art.

Photo By: Robert B McCue II


DIY Network's 2013 Blog Cabin entryway features a bamboo switchback staircase.

Photo By: Jason Kisner


Design by Katarina Anderson


This airy, contemporary entrance is lit by several chic wall sconces and features a dark brown wood floor and floating stairs. Psychedelic, multi-colored artwork adds a pop of color to a minimal space. Design by Lori Dennis


These glass stairs allow light to stream in from the atrium windows. Design by Madelyn Simon


This view of the glass stairs shows they are clear from the side but are opaque from the bottom looking up for a bit of privacy. Design by Madelyn Simon


Design by Andreas Charalambous

Photo By: Geoffrey Hodgdon ©2009, Geoffreyhodgdon

Clean Lines

A common trend in her design, designer Linda McDougald has brought together old world style and modern architectural elements.


This staircase is used to divide the living room from the the dining room without making the space feel choppy. Design by Pepe Calderin

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