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How To Light Your Stairs

how to light stairs alpha lighting blog

The humble staircase is often one of those spots around the home that is neglected when it comes to lighting. But given the high volume of traffic staircases often receive, it's important these spaces are well lit. The goal is to create a welcoming and safe environment for all who use them. 

You could go with the classic option of extending your downlights or adding a ceiling button above the space. But there are many ways you can create a well lit staircase while also adding some design style and personality to the space.

Take a look below at just some of the possible ways to light your staircase, that don't just make your space safer, but adds to the design aesthetic too...  



Treadlights are concealed lighting placed under the lip of each step, as shown in the example at the top of this post. While the concept may appear simple, it creates a beautiful eye catching lighting effect throughout the staircase, while also ensuring every step is well lit. 

A great way to tackle this trend is through strips of flexible strip lighting. These flexi strips of LED lights come in a variety of lengths and have a discreet slimline design, so will be hidden under the lip of the stair when not in use. 

As well as a classic white light, our flexi strip light range also come in colour LED's too! So you can have fun with colour patterns and lighting effects to really create a design focal point in your space.

                                                                           0.5 Metre LED Flexible Striplight                                 Colour Flexible Striplights




There are many ways to use linear strip lights to brighten your stairway. Such as recessing into the wall, hiding in architectural coves along the staircase, hiding behind handrails/bannisters, or even running along trims or skirting boards that line the stairs.

The resulting affects are soft, low glare lighting lining the pathway of the stairs. The straight lines give the appearance of a polished, well thought out modern design, with the ease of just a few simple strip lights. 

Our Diva and Dual strip light ranges are a great solution to this type of lighting. With a miniature slimline design, easy connections and 'no dark spot' design at linking points - with the added benefit of being dimmable!

                                                                                                                Diva Strip Light Range               Dual Strip Light Range

                   Round Base & Round Cover    Square Base & Square Cover


Wall Lights

Wall lights are an easy, practical and modern way to tackle stairway lighting. With so many colours, finishes, sizes and styles, you can use them to make a design statement on your staircase, or choose one that will blend in with it's surroundings. Wall lights also bring the added benefit of easy access for bulb changes. Whether your simply replacing a bulb in years to come, or looking to experiment with colour temperatures, wall lights are far easier to access than other methods of lighting.

Up and down wall lights are also a great solution to stairway lighting because of their direction of light. Traditional wall lights/buttons/sconces may look great, but often the light shines directly in your line of sight as you walk down the stairs. This can create trip hazards or make the stairs less safe if your vision is impaired by bright or direct light.

With up and down lights, the light spread is focused above and below the fitting. So the staircase is brightened by the wall light, but there is no harsh light or glare in your immediate eye level.

We have a wide range of wall lights. From LED replaceable models like the Siloet below (meaning you can change the bulb to experiment with different lighting outputs, colour temperatures etc until you get the desired look), smaller discreet cube style lights, or try something like our Dottie where the fitting is backlit to create an 'aura' effect around it. 

Low profile wall lights - like our Dottie or Retho wall lights- are ideal for use in tight staircases!

            Siloet Wall Light                               Cube Wall Light                                 Dottie Wall Light                        Erica Metal Wall Light


Step Lights

Sometimes, the simplest solution can be the best for your space. Utilising small step lights, specifically designed for the purpose of lighting stairs, may be just what your home needs. If you don't have the space for wall lights without running the risk of hitting your head on the way up the stairs, or don't have the interior design gene for creating architectural features for linear strip lights, the humble step light is a great way to light up your staircase. 

As shown below, simply install step lights every 3 to 4 steps. Install at about 300mm above the tread height. This is a simple and effective way to create a well lit and safe stairwell by providing an even spread of light across the stairs. 

Aesthetically, recessed fixtures give the most inconspicuous look, however, if recessed fittings are not possible there are plenty of slimline surface mount options available since the LED revolution.

Due to their slimline and discreet design, they often go unnoticed during the day, while providing much needed ambient light in the evenings/nighttime as you make your way up or down the stairs. 


                                                                                                               Recessed Deflector Light              Surface Mount Deflector Light


Decorative Pendants

Use decorative pendants to create a lighting design focal point, giving the space that extra 'wow' factor as people enter. From large chandeliers, to statement pieces, simple glass globes or modern pendants, there are a range of pendants out there to suit your home style.

You don't have to have grand staircases in order to try this type of design aesthetic in your home. As long as you have an open staircase (meaning walls don't enclose the stairs on both sides), and you have sufficient ceiling height, you could try the trend with small modern designs like our Guard Pendant light below. 

Hang the guard pendant lights in odd numbered clusters to create a timeless yet impressive look. You can even try different bulb styles to play around with the lighting effect until you achieve your desired finish. Or you can 'cheat' the clustered look by using our Ellie 3 Light pendant shown below. It is just one fitting with 3 different globe lights hung at varying heights, so achieving the eye catching lighting effect even easier! 

For larger staircases, and to really hit the 'wow factor' you could try one of our many Chandelier style fittings. From the traditional Jasmine 12 Light Chandelier below, with it's Brass finish and beautiful crystal leaf detailing. Or this Twirl effect modern take on the classic Chandelier. 

        Ellie 3 Light Pendant                            Guard Pendant Lights                       Jasmine 12 Light Pendant             Twirl 8 Light Pendant


Additional Top Tips For Lighting Your Stairs:
  1. When looking for pendant or hanging lights to try this design statement, look for ones with adjustable heights. That way you can adjust the height of your fitting so it seamlessly fits into your space!
  2. Depending on the fitting you choose, it could be a wise move to include some dimmable options into your lighting plan. For those late nights with tired eyes stroll up the stairs to bed, or going downstairs to use the bathroom in the middle of the night, having dimmable lighting could help you stay in that sleepy state!
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