15 Top Contemporary Staircase Designs

Contemporary or modern stair design can be gloriously simple using clean lines or gracefully curved. Staircases are such an important element in a home as they are usually the first thing that you see when you enter a home and are so frequently used.

Most modern staircase design is meticulously detailed, exposing all the working elements and eschewing trim, moldings, and other decoration. Because this type of stair is meant to be viewed as if it were a piece of sculpture, it looks best in an open space where the entire structure is visible.

I have long had a fascination for staircases. They are one of the most challenging elements I have to deal with in my practice and one of the most expensive to detail correctly. One of my pet peeves is wall to wall carpet on stairs. I prefer to use runners or leave the stairs bare if at all possible. In my last renovation for a client, I removed the carpet on their open staircase and replaced it with 2 inch thick slabs of 100 year old reclaimed Asian teak. The reclaimed teak has a beautiful patina and you see it's solid thickness as you traverse up and down the staircase.

The best reference book I have in my library is Staircase Design. Although it is out of print, there are a few used books available on Amazon. Staircases: Design & Construction and Stairscaping are also noteworthy.

image image image

Arménio Losa, Arquitecto flickr 
This graceful staircase by Armenio Losa (above & below) makes me want to run my hand along the curved hand rail, or slide down it. 

flickr Arménio Losa, Arquitecto

Bo Bedre

caldwell beebe interiors 

                                                                                                                 Caldwell Beebe Interiors

david schefer
The side detailing of this staircase shows off the solid thickness of the treads and risers. David Schefer

architectural stairs company 

                                                                                                                 Architectural Stairs Company


David Pontingar Architecture


Jennifer Post
leonia brown 

                                                                                                                              Leonie Brown

White bright airy hallway glass staircase black and white zig zag pattered rug front door L etc 09/2007 pub orig
Living Etc

Living Etc

magni design com
Magni Design 
Renwick above and below


This is one of my favourite staircases. I love the cantilevered slabs projecting from the rough concrete wall.
Steven Ehrlich

The Blue Fin Restaurant W Times Square Wall Surface Interiors
Interior design Yabu Pushellberg 

PATRICIA GRAY INC is an award winning interior design firm writing about lifestyle and
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  1. My most favorite staircase is in Kentucky at "Shakertown" for the simplicity. Please take a look if you do not know it - and or a visit.

  2. The last one is my favourite!!!

  3. Each an everyone of these designs is unique and beautiful within its own context.
    great post.

  4. Patricia, I love the circular-shaped staircase by Pinto (with the circle shape on the floor to match). It's beautiful with the scrolled ballisters. Love your designs. BTW, I have you on my blogroll too (am one of the "others who click here"). :)

  5. The floating Bo Bedre stairs creep me out! I could not walk up and down those stairs. I spent quite a lot of my childhood falling down (and yes, sometimes up) stairs, so I need a sturdy looking stair with a solid banister to hold onto!!!

  6. Well I went on Amazon and they were GONE! The first one anyways. Obviously everyone was there before me! I love the first curved ones but don't we have rules about those openings in Vancouver? I guess they are not everywhere. Lovely post to have on file!
    Thanks Patricia!

  7. All very nice examples and great to look at. The example by Armenio Losa entices me to climb the stair to see what it feels like and where it leads. The staircase by Magni is appealing to me because I see it as organic, sensual, and very elegant. Thanks Patricia.

  8. Hi Patricia,
    Love all the different staircases but my favorite is by Magni Design. Looks like a swirling ball gown. Also, I am long overdue in sending you a note of thanks. I am so pleased that you took some time to stop by the lisa porter collection.
    Your blog was the first one i ever took a look at. You grabbed me right from the start and I have been following ever since.
    Thank you so much for including me on your list. I certainly do appreciate being in such good company. All the best.

  9. My favourite is the one by Magni Design and the second one by Living Etc.

    Great designs!

  10. Dear Patricia,
    I hope you are well.

    I love the Pinto staircase, reminds me a bit of Le Petit Trianon in Versailles, with the curved bannister.

    All the best,

  11. Anonymous4/3/09

    I love all of them, but I think I most like the glass stairs (Living Etc).

  12. Hi Patricia
    Your post has come at just the right time as my staircase is the last big item to be completed. Safety was my number 1 priority so it may not be the most beautiful, detailed staircase on the block! But...after looking at your pictures, the David Schefer staircase gave me a great idea. On the landing is that stunning blind (I think) that draws the eye and creates a focal point. This is what I am going to do now as I also have a very big window (obscure) glass on my landing.
    That you Patricia for the inspiration!
    Mrs B

  13. The night before you posted this, I was busy downloading pictures of staircases for a post on our blog!!

    Isn't the glass staircase from Livingetc awesome!? And did you see this staircase on Angelo Surmelis's blog:


    Too cool!!

    We have two plain, straight oak staircases. Nothing fancy, but at least we finally have access to our loft (after 6 years of needing to use an extension ladder to get up there!!)

    I agree with you on the wall-to-wall carpeted stairs -- not good. We're going to have to add runners to our staircases so the dogs have some traction to get up and down!!

    Kelly @ DesignTies

  14. Anonymous5/3/09

    Love the staircase section of your blog. Love your style! I've told bloggers to check out your blog!


  15. Not only beautiful staircases... but amazing spaces.

  16. GREAT collection of staircases!

  17. stairs are great - i'm a big fan of eva jiricna and her work with glass and stairs...

  18. Such great examples of staircase designs ... . you even featured one of my fav designers , whom I rarely see referenced: Alberto Pinto.
    Lovely blog ... . I'll stop by again! Judith

  19. Thanks for your lovely emails and comments on this post.
    You are all amazing.

  20. Great work,

    We can never ignore your performance such a nice blogging.
    Thanks for sharing.

    All the Best

  21. These are (mostly) beautiful designs. The staircases by Armenia Losa and Magni Design are both stunning. I would have been thrilled had I been involved in their construction! I would like to climb those stairs, and you can be sure I would linger.

  22. Impressive design ..Nice Pics

  23. Great pictures! I've actually been in the Blue Fin restaurant in NYC. Great design and food!

  24. You have covered some truly beautiful staircase designs here, my notable favourites being the one by Armenio Losa (I love the continuation of the balustrade to the next flight) and the one by Jennifer Post (it's so domineering in that space, I love it!).


Patricia Gray | Interior Design Blog™

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