For safety reasons, stairs need to be lit properly in all buildings, including your home. Often, in renovations and new builds, I see that little to no thought is directed toward how this could be done. Here are some brilliant ideas to light your stairs in creative and beautiful, yet functional ways.
Install directional lights above the stairs. This can be a tricky solution. It works best if the wall is textured, as the lighting will accentuate the wall. Angles and placement need to be calculated during the design phase to ensure that glare is not impeding progress down the stairs. A clever option is the use of an elbows or mono points.
Recessed step lights can be installed on each step or on every second step. Ensure foot candle levels on the treads meet code. Avoid lighting from the center of the risers. This can cause glare on the way up and shadows on the way down. Adding a light on the upper or lower landing is a nice design touch.
An LED or fluorescent T5 strip installed flush on inset on the ceiling left, center or right, is contemporary and clean.
Lighting is not only about what comes out of light fixtures. Colours and contrast are also tools for lighting planners. These tools come into play when designing stair lighting. Contrast created with colour or material changes is necessary for safe stair use. This is especially important for seniors, because as we age, we have more difficulty discerning changes in elevation.
While the recessed light on the stairs in the photo above help to define each tread, both sets of white stairs in these photos, could certainly benefit from some contrast change between the treads and the risers to make them safer.
Whatever stair lighting method inspires you, talk to your electrician and lighting designer to ensure that your stairs will be safely lit.