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Staircases are the central pod in most buildings. They provide a very important function by linking areas and people together, whilst contributing to the aesthetics of a space too. In fact, staircases are usually one of the first integral parts to be laid out during new constructions, and often dictate the layout of an entire property.

Given their importance, you should look to enhance your staircase with decorative and functional features – and lighting does this extremely well. Not only can lighting design improve the looks of your staircase, and wider area, but serves a real purpose in terms of safety.

In this article, we explore how to light your staircase effectively to ensure you get the most from your indoor space.

Basics of staircase lighting

When it comes to lighting your staircase, there are two initial decisions to be made:

  • Where should my staircase lighting be placed? And:
  • What type of lighting should be used?

The answers to these questions will vary based on the design of your staircase and what you’re looking to achieve.

For example, if you’re looking to hang pendants above the staircase, choose a height that doesn’t drop below 7 feet to avoid injuries – nobody wants to hit their head on an overhead light. If the available space doesn’t permit for hanging fixtures, opt for a flush, recessed light instead.

Ways to light your staircase

You can light your staircase in a variety of ways. The manner you choose, will again, depend on any architectural constraints and personal preferences. Here are three main ways to incorporate lighting into your staircase.

1.     Wall lighting

The majority of staircases are adjacent to at least one wall, making this a favourable option for many homes. Walls also provide an easy approach to wiring for the lights, creating a seamless look and smooth installation.

Recessed and mounted spots are popular lighting choices for stairs, usually installed between 15 and 20cm above the steps. Not only do they look extremely flush and subtle, but provide adequate low-level lighting for your stairs, and can create stunning effects too.

There are many ways to use wall lighting effectively, and we can’t ignore the possibility for colours. While colour changing LEDs might not be for everyone, it is possible, and can be used to programme a spectacular range of variations to suit your mood.

stair lighting

Interested in learning more about our lighting design process?

Download our lighting design brochure

2.    Step lighting

Step lighting often takes advantage of the nooks, crannies, bends and edges in your staircase to conceal the LED fitting and plot a textured lighting scheme. Lights can be installed either horizontally on the tread, or vertically into the riser of your steps depending on the look you’re trying to achieve.

This way of lighting provides a fantastic level of safety too. By illuminating each step, or at even intervals, you’ll create a clear guide for people going up and down the stairs at darker hours.

step lighting

3.    Handrail or bannister lighting

Another option when lighting your staircase is to add a strip of light along the length of your handrail or bannister. Whilst doing so can provide a dramatic focal point in the dark, it won’t be enough focused light to ensure sure-footed stair climbing. So, pair this method of lighting with one mentioned above and you’ll benefit from both a decorative and functional staircase.

Enhance your staircase lighting

At Hampshire Light, we have over 20 years’ experience creating detailed lighting schemes for home throughout Hampshire and surrounding counties. If you’re looking to enhance your staircase, and overall home’s lighting, contact our expert team today for more information. We’ll discuss your individual requirements and recommend the very best solution for your budget.


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