Staircase Design Guidelines

Staircases have a way of being a focal point in space. Whether it’s someone’s house or a business, they have a way of scaling the size and shape of a space. Plus, they also perform a practical role as well. While staircase design doesn’t seem like much, there is a great importance that goes into the thought and planning of this. Plus, there are so many factors that need to be taken into account in order to provide sufficient functionality and practicality for a given space, such as wanting steel works or not for the stairs.

Every little detail needs to be planned out, not just for aesthetics, but because there are requirements regarding building regulations, and these need to be used for the final design. While this may sound challenging or even downright confusing, with the help of our staircase design guidelines, you will get all the information you need to ensure that your staircase is up to standards!

Staircase - Terminology

While technical jargon is never fun to deal with, it is vital to describe the parts of the stairs. In general, it will be too tricky to understand the components of a staircase unless you familiarise yourself with the terminology. Fortunately, we have it all laid out for you here.


This is the horizontal distance between each step. The going is measured by nosing to the nosing. Regarding building regulations, the minimum distance is 220mm, while the maximum is 300mm.


This is the edge of the tread that extends past the riser.


The rise is the vertical distance between the top of one tread and the top of the next.


The riser is the vertical component between treats; this also forms the face of the step.


The tread is overhand that’s above the riser but right below the nosing. So, it’s specifically that top flat area of the step that you walk/ stand on.


Multiple elements, such as the handrail, posts, and spindles of the staircase, make up the balustrading. This can be made of different materials, such as steel or glass.


The pitch is the triangular step commonly used for turning on the staircase. These are best known for being on spiral staircases, but also known as a “stair slope”.


The winder is the angled stairs; they have minimum tread, therefore, less walking space.

Staircase Design Guidelines

Staircase - design considerations

The design of the staircase isn’t just about aesthetics; the design considerations are also about the accessibility within the space and how practical the staircase can be. Let’s look at the design considerations that are needed when designing staircase guidelines.


When it comes to sizing, it can be tricky as UK Building Regulations specify how the stairs need to be. This includes the width, length, headroom, and so much more.

    • Width: When it comes to the requirements for the width, there aren’t any. However, it’s strongly recommended that it be 900mm. However, if you want stairs for a fire escape, 860mm is recommended, or you could reach out to a Building Regulations officer.
    • Length of flight of stairs: While there aren’t requirements for width, it’s a different matter for height. If the stairs have more than 36 risers, there needs to be a minimum of one change of direction. This needs to be a change of 30 degrees at the minimum.
    • Headroom: The headroom in the stairway cannot be less than 2032 mm measured vertically.
    • Landing: The landing on the staircase must be entirely clean from obstructions.
    • Handrail: The top must be 900mm to 1100 mm from the floor or the pitch line. However, the rules are different if the stairs are 1000mm or wider, as this means there needs to be a handrail on both sides of the stairs.

Place (Accessibility)

Every space will have a different layout and different requirements for the staircase design. However, the position of your staircase needs to be based on your layout. So, the best area of the base of the staircase is going to be near the front door, and it shouldn’t cross into another room with a front door. Not only is it not visually appealing, but it makes the stairs less accessible too. You want this staircase to look natural and be naturally placed.


The staircase's material will have a massive effect on the aesthetics of the staircase, but this can even affect the atmosphere of the room as a whole. The following are some of the most common materials used for staircases:

-Timber staircases

-Mix of elements (such as wood and glass)

-Glass (considered the most expensive)

-Metal (such as steel and aluminium)

-Stone and concrete

Different Types of Staircases

Just as there is different terminology for staircases, there are also different types, such as luxurious spiral cases and traditional straight ones. So, for this design staircase guideline, let’s look more into each one.


These feature a single linear flight of stairs that do not include any change of direction.


One of the most classic shapes for staircases, this is an L-shape that is designed to make a 90-degree turn.


While the winder is similar to the L-shaped staircase, it’s still slightly different. These offer treaders that are wider on one side than it is on the other.


Also known as the half-turn stairs, this provides a U-shaped similar to the L-shaped staircase.


Dangerous if you’re clumsy, the spiral staircase is loved for its airy and luxurious appearance. It forms a perfect circle, while the treads are a narrow wedge shape.


This curved staircase doesn’t offer any landings, instead, it follows the bend of the bannister. It’s commonly used as it gives a statement to a space.


Commonly known as the Titanic staircase, this offers one sweeping set of steps that split into two directions. These are commonly found in mansions, cruise ships, and hotels.


Perfect for tiny homes or spaces that need to utilise the smallest of square metres.

Staircase Design Guidelines

Different Types of Staircase Railings

Just as there are a variety of different staircases, this staircase design guidelines have it all, and that includes showing the different types of staircase railings that are offered. Plus, the railings are vital as this prevents falls and injuries.

Picket stair railing

Picket stair railing is made up of vertical posts that hold up the handrails.

Multi-line stair railing

The multi-line stair railings offer tubes that extend from the railing post to the next railing post. These can come in a variety of styles to match the room's design.

Cable stair staircase railing

Commonly used for both interior and exterior staircases, this includes vertical metal cables rather than panels or pickets.

Wire mesh infill stair railing

The wire mesh is made of panels that are welded to a four-sided frame, much like cable stair railing does. These can be made out of different metals, including stainless steel.

Panel stair railing

Commonly made from glass, these are mostly used for the outdoors; cut can be used for interior staircases too.

Different Types of Staircase Handrails

The handrails for staircases can be made from a large range of different materials, whether you’re after different metals or something classic such as wood. Here are some of the different handrails available for staircases.

Guardrail-mounted handrail

This mounts onto the guardrail and can extend outwards into a path that can support the person grabbing onto it.

Wall-mounted handrail

These are used to open up the side of the staircase but can even be used for both sides.

Integrated handrail

These are attached to the wall and then used. Depending on the materials you want, you can expect different qualities such as mopstick style for wood railing or pipes for steel wall handrail.

You can contact our expert team at Bromsgrove Steel with just an idea or image and we will design and manufacture the best staircase to suit your space, interior design, and budget. To get the best advice, contact our team.