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15 Ideas for compact stairs in small homes

Sunita Vellapally Sunita Vellapally
modern  by Escritório de Arquitetura e Interiores Janete Chaoui, Modern
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Designing the interiors of a small house poses a challenge since the limited space has to be used efficiently. If the house has stairs, then the task becomes more difficult as it has to be functional in addition to looking good and saving space.

From placing the staircase in the corner to incorporating storage or a home office underneath, we’ve picked 15 designs that will help you to decide on the perfect option for your small home.

​1. In the corner

Stairs in the corner work well in compact homes, especially if you use a ladder-like design with glass hand rails so that natural light isn’t blocked.

2. Bright corridor

De Vere Gardens Modern corridor, hallway & stairs by Viewport Studio Modern
Viewport Studio

De Vere Gardens

Viewport Studio

Sometimes, due to lack of space, only a narrow staircase can be built. Use embedded lighting in the wall to keep the area well-lit, and paint it white to make it look more spacious than it is.

3. Creative design

Innovative designs, such as the boat staircase in this small home, can be used to add a fun element to the interiors, besides providing stairs that are stunning and functional.

4. Under stair storage

The Staircase - 1 Minimalist corridor, hallway & stairs by Urban Shaastra Minimalist
Urban Shaastra

The Staircase—1

Urban Shaastra

In a small home, it’s vital to have sufficient storage so that the rooms can be kept clutter free. Convert the dead space under the stairs into storage with slide out cabinets, drawers or shelves.

5. Bookshelf with steps

Combining two elements is a great space-saving idea for small homes. In this house, the area under the stairs has an open bookshelf and entertainment cabinet that is functional and modern.

6. Lovely lobby

Designing the staircase along the entrance corridor gives a passageway effect to the space. Build wall niches to decorate the area and make the lobby welcoming.

7. Floating and bending

Dr varia residence Modern corridor, hallway & stairs by Tameer studio Modern
Tameer studio

Dr varia residence

Tameer studio

Using geometry to maximise space is a practical solution for small homes. Notice how this staircase bends at right angles to use the available area efficiently? Use floating planks for steps to keep the area looking airy.

8. Sink with a mirror

Residence of Mr.Manjunath Modern corridor, hallway & stairs by Hasta architects Modern
Hasta architects

Residence of Mr.Manjunath

Hasta architects

Giving a modern twist to the wooden ladder by placing planks on a central beam is another option for making the space look less cramped. Additionally, in this home, the clever placement of a sink with a large mirror that reflects the light and space adds to the airiness.

9. Lit-up ladder

Residence For Captain Nikhil Kanetkar and Ashwini Kanetkar Modern corridor, hallway & stairs by Navmiti Designs Modern
Navmiti Designs

Residence For Captain Nikhil Kanetkar and Ashwini Kanetkar

Navmiti Designs

Lighting can be used to add a beautiful element to the home by illuminating the steps elegantly.

10. Classic spiral

Access to the Work Studio Rustic style corridor, hallway & stairs by BETWEENLINES Rustic Iron/Steel

Access to the Work Studio


When there’s just a small corner available for the stairs, the traditional spiral staircase is the best option. Instead of sticking with the black or white, use a bright colour for a modern touch.

11. Caught in a frame

Living Room Staircase Minimalist corridor, hallway & stairs by BETWEENLINES Minimalist

Living Room Staircase


In this design, the narrow staircase built along the wall rests on vertical handrails that stretch from the floor to ceiling, making a stunning visual impact.

12. Indoor spiral

Generator House Modern corridor, hallway & stairs by DCOOP ARCHITECTS Modern

Generator House


Spiral staircases are also perfect for linking two floors inside a tiny home as it occupies the least amount of space. Using modern material such as steel instead of wrought iron introduces a contemporary look to the interiors.

13. Multifunctional stairway

In a loft or studio, make the most of the limited space by building a multifunctional staircase that manages to incorporate a home office or study area with a wall-mounted desk and shelves for books and files.

14. Modern sculpture

Sometimes, all it takes is a simple and modern design to connect two floors in a small home. A dark wood ladder-like staircase without a handrail and just a steel rod on the wall for safety can be just as elegant.

15. Fluid connection

A staircase doesn’t necessarily have to be in the corner of a small home. Using a fluid design such as this one that floats over the living room and provides space beneath for placing a bench or coffee table gives a nice open feel to the room.

For ideas on using the space under the stairs, see this ideabook.

Which of these staircase designs is your favourite? Respond in the comments.
Modern houses by Casas inHAUS Modern

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