In most houses the indoors stairs connecting the ground and first floors are off the hallway, so you should make sure that your indoor home stair lighting designs give a warm and welcoming glow to any visitors. If you’ve more than one story to your property, having the same lighting arrangements for all staircases will help to maintain that warm flow throughout the house.
Warm lighting does not have to mean bright lighting. However, bearing that in mind it’s also important to minimize the risk of an accident through someone missing a step; your staircases do need to be well lit.
How Much Light Do you Need?
The following is a ‘rule of thumb’ measurement that can be applied to any area of your home.
- First measure the area to be lit in square feet, then multiply that answer by 3.
The resultant figure is the total wattage needed to adequately light the area. You can split that total wattage amongst how ever many individual light fittings you might desire.
However, for a total wattage requirement of say 120 watts; on a stair case the more evenly the lighting can be distributed – the better.
If you’re using energy efficient low wattage light bulbs – the figure you arrive at is the ‘low wattage equivalent’, not the actual wattage.
What Types of Lights can you Have on Indoor Stairs
Generally speaking indoor stairs are illuminated by single ceiling fittings, either pendant or flushed, at the top and bottom of the stairs; due to the risk of creating dim patches on the stairs you shouldn’t just have one light at either the top or bottom of the stairs.
Whilst a large ceiling fitting at the bottom of the stairs can make a particularly dramatic statement, they are rarely practicable at the top of the stairs due to the need to be able to easily access them for maintenance and repair purposes.
In recent times recessed lighting has become very fashionable and it is now not uncommon to see recessed lights in the ceiling above length of the stairs, in a wall adjacent to them or even recessed into the stairs themselves – on the stair risers. If you do decide on having recessed lights, whether in the ceiling, a wall or the stairs themselves; small round LED lights are the most suitable ones.
Recessed lights at the top or bottom of the stairs will need to be quite powerful ones – having a series of lower powered lights descending with the stairs, can be very effective. Having wall mounted spot-lights to illuminate a staircase is not recommended, as they could easily be knocked by someone on the stairs; either damaging the light or hurting the person concerned.
Decorative Stair Lights
If you have a few indoor stairs connecting one level to another on the same floor of your home – you could consider using a decorative strip of lights along the ‘nose’ of the stair treads. These are usually flexible and water-proof strips of LED lights, available in a variety of colors, that will fit along the ‘nose’ or over-hang of the stair treads.
If not already installed you should fit a two-way switch at the top and bottom of the stairs, especially if they are connecting two distinct floors in a building. This is a basic safety factor, which allows you to turn on or off the lights from either end of the stairs.