The only purpose of stairs in a home is to provide a transition from one floor level to another floor level. In some homes, the staircase is hidden from sight and only accessible by a door. You typically find these stairs leading to a basement and sometimes to the attic. However, in most cases, the stairs are in plain sight. They are often found in areas of the home where they are frequently used. The foyer and main living areas of the home are common locations.

With all of the above being said, the floor plan layout for house designs must consider the type of staircase that will be included and how it impacts the overall design theme and traffic flow of the home. Factors that help to determine this are your budget, available floor space, location of the stairs, and the finish of the stairs. Considering all four of these factors will guide you to the best type of staircase design for your home.

Should you do a custom or pre-built stair design?

L-shape stairs

L-shape staircase with flaring treads

Most homeowners stick with a basic layout for a stair design. On average, a pre-built stair kit is an affordable and sensible solution for your home. You are afforded several options in terms of layouts that are common to many homes in America. Typically, a simple straight staircase can be installed for around a couple thousand of dollars and can expand up to a high of ten thousand. The price increases as the design become more complex with things like landings, curves, and high end finishes.

There are exceptions where a unique design concept may present itself. This is often seen in high end luxury homes where the owner has a desire for something out of the ordinary. Needless to say, the cost is much more significant. Custom design staircases easily reach levels in the fifteen to twenty plus thousand.

What are your choices for a staircase design?

There are several types of stair designs to choose from. Each of them can be pre-built or done as a custom piece. Below are a list of the the most common designs for stairs. They are in order from the most economical to the more costly option.

  • Straight – The simplest of them all. It provides a straight run from one floor to the next.
  • L-shape – It is called this because at a point in the run of the stair a 90 degree angle is formed at the landing creating the shape of an L.
  • U-shape – Similar to the L-shape staircase, but the landing extends the width of the stairs creating what is a u-turn transition typically midway up the stair run.
  • Flared – The stair treads fan out and widens as the run extends to the floor.
  • Curved – The stair run bends or bow as it transition from one floor to the next.
  • Open Rise – The rise is open between each stair tread as you move to the next floor.
  • Spiral Staircase – The treads anchor to a center pole as you transition to the next floor moving in a circular motion.

Should you go with a free standing or supported staircase?

Every stair design mentioned above can either be free standing or supported. Ultimately, either option is determined by the factors mentioned earlier in this article. Prices can vary by contractor or stair company. The cost of having a free standing stair can reach 50% or more above the cost of the same staircase that is supported. However, the cost may be worth it if your staircase is an important feature in your home.

At first glance, choosing a staircase design for your floor plan may not seem like a big deal. You figure, it just a means to travel between floors in your home. I would suggest that it is an important piece in your home. The staircase is used everyday, multiple times a day, and should be given thorough consideration in the overall scheme of your floor plan and budget.

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