12 Staircase Landings: Types, Shapes, and Best Ideas

Many modern homeowners prefer staircases with a platform. Even the stair in most establishments has a resting platform between the floor level. This resolves one common problem: climbing a 3-story home can be exhausting for many adults. The platform is there so that they can rest before proceeding. Otherwise, it could trigger breathlessness. If you have to, use them to catch a fresh breath of air before you keep going.

Depending on your preference, there are different types and shapes. The designs of staircase landings vary depending on your preferences. If you need help choosing, read more as we discuss each in detail.

stair landing

Getting Started

A “staircase” is essentially a permanent arrangement of multiple risers and steps used to tackle the actual height difference between two levels. It can also include threads and other components. It is more common in multi-story buildings and residential settings. It is also known as the “stairway,” or the number of flights of stairs connecting from one floor to the next. It includes landings and other extra portions.

Though elevators or escalators are now offered for multi-story buildings, staircases are still available. According to fire service regulations, two or three staircases at three strategic locations must provide an easy escape in a fire or seismic event. 

staircase landings

A staircase comprises various sections, one of which is the “landing.” One of the most significant components is that a staircase would be incomplete without it. These allow a user to turn at different angles to those below them and fit in a small space that a straight flight could not.

A half landing is a flat area between half flights of stairs and floors. It is a flat surface between two or more flights. It allows for a quick rest at the halfway point and allows for a change of direction or turning a corner. Most residential staircases feature two platforms only to turn 180 degrees.

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Residential Stair Landing Code

As per Stair Landing Specifications, the 2015 International Residential Code for Stair Landing specifies that a “landing” is required at the top and bottom of a staircase. Before an intermediate landing, it needs a maximum rise of 12 feet. Thus, an intermediate landing is necessary if the distance between two floors exceeds 12 feet.

outside stairs

Every landing had to be at least 36 inches in diameter. Thus, the width of each landing must be more significant than the width of the steps.

12 Types

1. Straight

It is probably the oldest type, with the most basic design that does not change direction. It is ideal if the area available for a staircase is limited and lengthy as it features a single linear flight.

2. Bifurcated or Split

 The grandest type features a single sweeping set of wide steps split into two smaller flights that move in opposing directions. They eventually meet at the same horizontal level. It connects the ground level to the higher floor in two directions, where two or more rooms are. It also serves as an entry point in enormous residences with plenty of space.

3. Spiral

This style is frequently utilized as an emergency exit. It comprises a central pillar that supports a spiral-shaped sequence. The spiral’s tiny wedge-shaped treads are tricky to access, making it impractical. Wider ones are ideal for smaller homes with limited spaces.

4. Helical

A curved staircase is another term for a helical one. It derives from a double helix’s unique and distinctive structure. It resembles a DNA molecule with two strands wrapping around each other. This type is typically found in business establishments and public locations because of its outstanding design.

5. Quarter-turn or L-shaped

It comprises two straight rows of steps and a 90° quarter-turn going right or left after the platform.

6. Half-turn or U-shaped

It consists of two straight flights separated by a 180° turn. It is also named dog-legged stairs.

7. Ladder A.K.A. ship’s ladder

When space is limited in a private home or apartment,  a ship’s ladder can take up less space than any other type. It is practical and easy to construct in areas where every inch of space matters.

8. Winder

Winder stairs are also less space-consuming. This style is typical in older homes, but it is also becoming more prevalent in newer ones. It has narrower steps on one side than the other where you can reverse direction without a wide platform needed.  

9. Deck Stairs with Landing

This type is an exterior design that leads to a deck. It must have firm base support and solid ground to step off to avoid accidents. If your deck is tall, you may require more than one platform. Since it will be exposed to variable outside temperatures, build it with superior materials to fit the code requirements.

10. Open well

This comprises two or more flights with a well or opening between the backward and forward steps.

11. Three-quarter turn

This shifts direction by 270° once the step reaches the next level.

12. Mid Stair Landing

A column or another beam should support the mid-landing beam. In structural design, proper structural framing is critical. Also, it is a crucial element of the construction. It is vital since it provides a means of escape in an emergency.

mid stair landing

How to Build Stairs with a Landing

Stairs are an essential feature of every property, from decks to interiors. It may appear challenging to consider creating your own. They are made up essentially of only three major components: stringers, treads, and risers. Steel, spiral, and loft are numerous types you may build for your house. These are available with timber or a steel and wood combination. They can also be made of steel.

The platform does not affect the vertical transition. It can also be a large area where one may rest midway up a flight of steps. The wide tread may increase horizontal displacement, yet it frequently allows for a change of direction. 

How to build stairs with a landing

  1. Determine the Measurement

    Step 1.1: To determine the total rise, measure the space’s height where the stairs are installed.
    Step 1.2: Then, get the total number of steps by dividing the overall height by the rise per step. The allowed step rise is 6-8 inches. If your full height is 100 inches, divide it by 8 to obtain 12.5 or rounded to 12 steps for every rise.
    Step 1.3: Next, calculate the actual rise for every step. To do this, divide 100 inches by 12 to obtain 8.3 inches for each step rise on your stringer.
    Step 1.4: The next step is to determine each step’s run or tread width. It should be at least 9 inches wide or 10 inches at most to provide a comfortable platform for the average foot.
    Step 1.5: Calculate the total run or the horizontal distance the steps will go from start to finish. Multiply the total number of steps by the number it takes to complete each step. 

  2. Choose a landing spot.

    The most extended panels acceptable for creating stairs will most likely be 16 feet long. They have a maximum length of around every 14 steps. Thus, platforms are required if your stairs have a long rise and run. It might be at the midsection, top, or bottom.

    The first thing to figure out is how to work with the stairways and deal with them when connecting with the landing.

    Figure out the platform height. It is crucial to know its position precisely.

    Choose the placement of the materials you’ll be employing.

    Determine the stringer’s location so that it does not end up in the wrong spot.

  3. Measure the length of the stringer

    It is the structure to which your risers and treads are attached.

  4. Decide how the stairs will be attached to the current structure.

    You only need to pick which type and shape you would like your steps. In addition, incorporate your selection with the materials you want it to be built. For example, L-shaped steps will look elegant with wood tile and glass railing.

    Bonus Tip: You may prefer to hire a contractor to save your time and sometimes money if doing it yourself is unsuccessful. They are experts in bringing your idea to life.

windy staircase

8 Ideas for Small Landing at the top

That little area at the top is often unused and becomes dead space. However, you can turn it into an exciting part of your home with a bit of creativity and lots of effort. It can become a mini-libraries and art exhibit, or whatever else you can think of ideas you have.

  1. Mini office – A tiny workstation faces the window to allow more light. Shelves along the wall create a smaller workplace in your dead space.
  2. Extend shelves all the way to the ceiling.
  3. Set a reading corner with a comfortable chair and a tiny side table for a lamp. Consider including a stack of books.
  4. Make a highlight out of the tiny area by stacking light wood storage boxes against the wall that offers character and lots of storage.
  5. Make a comfortable window seat that turns the area from a specific passing point into a lovely spot to linger and relax.
  6. Develop it into a mini-art gallery by displaying photos or artwork. It makes sense to have something beautiful to gaze at every time you pass by.
  7. Add a low-level bookshelf to the landing to offer extra book storage for the bedroom.
  8. Install a multi-functional custom-made seat that neatly occupies the vacant area below the window, providing a reading area. The space is elegant and practical, thanks to wall-mounted lighting and under-bench storage.
steps in an old building
  1. Glass and wood combo: These materials have an appealing appearance and may be utilized to provide such a finishing touch. The combination creates a contemporary and refined appeal.
  2. Book-case display: The walls are made with a bookshelf to store books and other essential goods in this design. As a result, extra space allows for a neater appearance in the home.
  3. Snug storage: This is a superior space-saving solution. The wooden region beneath the stairs may be utilized to store various objects.
  4. Riser with Lights: Putting lights on the riser is a new trend that improves the overall appearance.
  5. Elegant white: It consists of white color, marble, and crystals that will give a rich appearance to your home. Many people consider it for this reason.
  6. The minimalist design features a light feature that adds value to the property. The first few steps can be utilized as storage.
stairs going down to the water


Do stairs need a landing?

Yes, it is a provision of designs mandated by various building codes. The structure is typically provided for extra protection at intermediate places to break lengthy straight flights. They’re great for changes in direction and inbound locations. They’re things such as floor-level lobbies. Stairwells frequently feature fire-break access doors and perhaps elevator doors. It is prudent to have platforms of required proportions for safety reasons, as stipulated in the Codes.

It is provided for everybody’s comfort and rest between continuous risers.

What is the landing at the top of the stairs called?

Landing Return is the space right at the top of the staircase or halfway up when it changes direction. Based on the direction of flight, it may be a horizontal return that continues in the direction of the primary stairway. It could also be a right-angle return with 90 degrees.

What do you put on a stair landing?

There are several creative methods to maximize the space in your landing. Some of the more common ideas are a mini-art exhibit or a coffee table for two. There are plenty of ideas searchable on the internet. Give it a try and see if you can locate what works best for your area.

What size should a stair landing be?

Always double-check your local code. The minimal size we create is 36′′ X 36′′. Some inspectors take measurements from sheetrock, whereas the majority take measurements from the frame. A landing with a door opening must have enough space for the door to open while a person is standing on the dock. Hence the minimum size varies depending on the door size.

Is a landing required for stairs?

Definitely for stairs with high rise or run. As we go up, we become exhausted. A massive area of 1-1.5 m is provided for resting. Generally, a landing is made after 11-14 steps. The International Residential Code states that “a flight of stairs shall not have a vertical rise greater than 12 feet between floor levels or landings.” This is done for various reasons. It includes providing a resting space and limiting the distance someone is likely to fall. Straight flights and level landings are more accessible to build than a curving flight of steps for switchbacking.

How big should a deck stair landing be?

Stairsteps should be 11 inches broad and at least 12 inches thick. Therefore, the landing should be larger than the steps. In general, a deck landing should be at least 36 inches wide.

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