8 beautiful staircase designs

Staircases are among the most varied and visually dynamic of all domestic architectural spaces. John Goodall presents a selection of outstanding designs.

Lancaster House London

Completed in 1828–9, Benjamin Wyatt’s stupendous stair at Lancaster House was based on Le Vau’s lost Escalier des Ambassadeurs at Versailles of 1672–9.


Upton Cressett Hall

Climbing the treads: a detail of Adam Dant’s playful decoration of the Elizabethan stair at Upton Cresset, Shropshire, painted in 2008–9.

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Will Pryce 064804 3The 1720s staircase by the architect and surveyor Nicholas Dubois at Chevening, Kent. Dubois’ experience as a military engineer perhaps explains its structural ambition. It was reputedly based on that of Dubois’ London house.


Downley HouseThis stair, designed by Birds Portchmouth Russum at Downley, Hampshire, creates a stream of space within the building.


Borris House-04RTThe Regency staircase hall of Borris, Co Carlow, designed in a Gothic idiom by the Morrisons in about 1812 and painted in stone colours.


Ballywalter Park 1-26The stair of Ballywalter, Co Down, was designed in the manner of an Italian palazzo by Charles Lanyon in the 1840s. This idiom was popularised by Charles Barry’s Travellers Club of 1832.


CraigengillanThe opulent staircase hall completed before 1906 by Maison Jansen of Paris at Craigengillan, Ayrshire. The sensuous lines of the staircase are inspired by 18th-century French example.


Provost's House, Trinity CollegeThe compactly designed town-house stair in Portland stone of the Provost’s House of Trinity College Dublin, completed in 1760 by Provost Francis Andrews.