Stair lights are so much more than just a safety feature in your home. With the right fixtures, you can eliminate dark shadows and highlight every step on your stairwell, instantly elevating your home. Read on to learn all about the different types of staircase lighting and find some inspiring stairway lighting ideas.
What is the best lighting for a stairwell?
To transform your dimly lit stairwell into a welcoming entryway, you’ll need ambient and accent lighting to illuminate your stairwell and eliminate any dark corners. From chandeliers and pendant lighting to low-wall recessed lights and galaxy projectors, you’ll have everything you need to bring your staircase to life.
Types of staircase lighting
There are three main types of lighting you can use in your staircase (or anywhere in your home): ambient, accent, and task lighting.
Ambient lighting, also known as general lighting, is the primary source of light in an indoor area. Light sources for ambient lighting include ceiling lights, track lighting, overhead fixtures, recessed lights, and chandeliers.
For your staircase, you’ll also need accent lighting, which is lighting that accentuates a particular area or item – your wall art, your family photos. Wall sconces, track lighting, and picture lights are a few examples of accent lighting you can use to highlight features on your staircase.
The third type of lighting is task lighting, which is less applicable to staircases. It provides close, bright lighting for writing, reading, and desk-based work. With just ambient and accent lighting, your staircase can transcend being just a passageway and become a main feature.
Ways to light a stairway
To properly light up a stairway, you’ll need a few different lighting sources. Below are a few stairway lighting options you may want to consider.
- Wall lighting. Wall lighting can illuminate a path up your staircase, all while adding intrigue and flair. Wall sconces, wall recessed lights, and pendant lights can all cast a soft glow over your staircase all night long.
- Step lighting. For open riser staircases, try adding LED lights under each tread. Each step will cast a soft glow, making your stairs appear as if they’re floating off into another dimension.
- Handrail or banister lighting. You can light your handrails with LED strips or fairy lights. Simply place your LED strips underneath your handrail – or wrap your fairy lights around the rail – for a soft, elegant ambiance.
9 stairway lighting ideas
You can take your staircase to the next level with the below staircase lighting ideas.
1. Make a statement in a stairwell
Some lighting designers might try to blend your lights with your walls and ceiling. To make a bolder statement, choose light fixtures that will immediately demand attention with their details. Pendant lights or a large chandelier are great choices for an open-riser staircase because they can transform an often overlooked space into a main attraction. For staircases that aren’t open-riser, search for wall sconces with unique designs to light the way between each step.
2. Have fun with colored LED lights
Instead of choosing classic white lights to brighten up your staircase, add some flair with colorful LED lights. The BlissRadia, for example, is a compact ambient mood light that fits neatly on an end table and brings your stairwell to life.
The BlissRadia diffuses gentle, colorful lighting you can control right from your mobile device through the BlissHome app. Switch between a calming blue and a bright red, or transition among every color of the rainbow for the ultimate party lighting. As your colors seamlessly shift, you’ll transform your stairwell into a show-stopping display.
BlissRadia Smart LED Mood Light
From desktop to bedside, light the way to concentration, stimulation, or relaxation.
3. Start with a well-lit hallway
Proper hallway lighting is the foundation of an astonishingly lit staircase that’s bound to capture everyone’s attention. For a narrow hallway, try installing multiple ceiling lights to immediately illuminate your space without taking up any room. Or choose wall sconces to add an elegant, upscale appeal to your hallway. Whichever fixtures you choose, you’ll create wow-factor lighting in no time.
4. Add layered light
Overhead lighting can illuminate a large area, but it often casts shadows, especially on stairwells. To avoid this common lighting mistake, make it your goal to highlight every part of your stairway. Try incorporating a few accent light fixtures, or start with a statement ambient light that sets the tone for your entrance. Then, add stair tread lighting and wall sconces to create a glowing pathway up your stairs.
5. Light the staircase from underneath
For hassle-free lighting that matches your staircase aesthetic, LED light strips are a great choice. Just remove the adhesive backing and press the sticky side along the edges of each stair for an effortless glow.
For customizable LED strip lighting you can control right from your phone, the BlissGlow is a great choice. You can shine up to 12 colors at once underneath your staircase with the BlissGlow’s independent color control. You can also transition from a soft white glow to every color in the rainbow during your late-night get-togethers. Use the BlissLights app to change your colors and effects, or set timers to immediately illuminate your space for hours at a time.
BlissGlow Multicolor LED Strip Light
Refresh your space with a modern glow.
6. Light a small landing with industrial feature lights
If your staircase is metal or your home is industrial-themed, play off your theme with a few feature lights in your staircase landing. This means finding lights that match your industrial gray or black, cage-like railings and neutral-colored walls. Try black iron wall sconces or a metallic string of lights on your landing to steel up your surroundings.
7. Use low-level recessed wall lights
You don’t need open riser stairs to create a glorious pathway between floors. In any walled-off staircase, you can transform your surroundings with low-level recessed lights. Simply place a light on both sides of every other step for a gentle glow that brings sophistication to your stairs.
8. Use fairy lights to light the way
Whether the holidays are approaching or you want to add some pizzazz all year round, fairy lights are a great addition to your stairwell. Start at the top of the stairs and wrap your string lights around your railing for a simple DIY lighting option. Warm white fairy lights can forge a cozy, neutral ambiance, or you can create a statement with bright red or green lights for holiday cheer.
9. Take your stairway out of this world
Large light fixtures can make some staircases feel tight, especially if you don’t have high ceilings or a lot of floor space. Instead of lighting the way with a large chandelier or clunky floor lamp, use a compact projector to bring your staircase to life.
The Sky Lite Evolve, for example, is a galaxy projector that can transform your ordinary stairwell into a soothing night sky. With vivid, floating nebulas in seven different colors – red, blue, pink, white, teal, purple, and orange – you’ll see your staircase in a whole new light. Plus, you can change the Evolve’s colors, effects speed, and brightness right from the BlissHome mobile app or via voice control. That’s all it takes to set the mood and transport your staircase to another galaxy – without ever leaving your home.
Sky Lite Evolve: Smart Galaxy Projector
The latest evolution in smart galaxy lighting.
Illuminate your staircase with BlissLightsThe right stairwell lighting can transform an ordinary entranceway into a colorful, bright entry that makes a statement time and again. With BlissLights’ colorful LED lights and galaxy projectors, you can set the mood throughout your stairwell in just moments. Browse the BlissLights collection now to see your stairwell in a whole new light.
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