Staircase Design for Australian homes

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(image credit)

As second storey home addition builders, we put in a lot of staircases! And in the 30+ years we’ve been in business we’ve noticed that home owners tend to fall into one of two camps – those that see the staircase as something to take them up or down, and those that see it as a design feature in their home.

Whether you’re having a staircase installed, or updating an old one, this article will take you through some of the key considerations, and along the way will hopefully inspire some passion for these fabulous interior features.

Form or Function?

Of course, you can have both. But as with most elements of building design, the more you put into ‘form’ in terms of premium materials and highly technical engineering, the higher the costs go.

Having said that, a well-designed staircase gives you not just enormous enjoyment, but adds significant value to your home, so it’s well worth considering all the options closely.

The elements of staircase design

There’s no shortage of things to think about when it comes to planning a staircase. Below are some of the key elements of staircase design.


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A well-designed staircase adds something special to a home. It doesn’t clash with the room, block sightlines or appear out of place. It’s a design element in its own right, and the best are like sculptural pieces.

The staircase above evokes organic forms and is delightfully sensual with its natural curves and materials. (Image credit)


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It should facilitate easy traffic flow, be ideally situated and potentially provide benefits such as under-stair storage. The existing use of upstairs and downstairs areas needs to be considered along with existing and new traffic flow patterns.

The staircase above makes clever use of the under-stair space for show storage! (image credit) 


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The staircase must meet Building Code of Australia requirements to be safe for all users now and into the future.

What can you see in the above pic that might be just a little unsafe?! (image credit)

Space usage

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It should not take away from the usable floor space in the downstairs room any more than is necessary.

Spiral staircases are very space saving but have drawbacks of being harder to traverse, less safe and very difficult to get a double bed up! (image credit)


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A major factor for many, and can vary hugely based on design and materials.

However, a well designed staircase can fit in beautifully with a home’s style and not cost a lot, as the above Scandinavian-styled staircase shows. (image credit) 

View a gallery of the above and more of our favourite staircase designs:

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