Modern Staircase Design | Contemporary Stair Design Ideas (2024)

Modern Staircase Design | Contemporary Stair Design Ideas (1)

Because if your building or remodeling a two story contemporary home then chances are you’ll be interested in a modern staircase design.

What makes a great modern staircase design? And what makes a staircase design modern? Contemporary stairs are more than just form or function like a traditional staircase. Modern staircases are like pieces of artwork you can use from day to day that do more than just get you from floor to floor. They’re a central point of architecture that ties the home together using mostly non traditional methods and materials. And they’re undoubtedly a centerpiece of the home. It’s a difficult thing to define, but I’d say as a general rule, you’d know one when you saw it. They definitely don’t look like your usual set of residential home stairs and are sure to leave an impression. Love it or hate it, modern home design is a growing trend in America and is definitely here to stay.

This article is full of the best modern staircase designs along with lots of pictures, builder tips and answer you some of your most frequently asked questions.

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Beautiful modern staircase design featuring light wood steps, floating design with black center bar and black railings. Staircase artwork.

Modern Stair Design

Modern design is a hard thing to define but you’ll know it when you see it. That’s what we typically tell clients who want a modern home. The materials, designs, styles and construction methods are all pretty non traditional. When you think about it, in a lot of ways modern construction is the most creative of all home styles. And that certainly applies to the staircase.

There’s generally not much standard about a modern staircase. Because we’re not using many traditional stair designs. Wood stair stringers with wood steps and white risers like most traditional homes aren’t very common in a contemporary home. And in the rare case that we do use these methods, other modern finishes like glass or metal railings are often used too.

In general, modern design is about simple geometric shapes and muted neutral color palettes. And we use lot of natural materials like wood, brick, stone and metal and nothing too ornate. However with a modern staircase you can even break the rules commonly found with a modern home. We try hard to design a real centerpiece. Something eye catching that’s hard to forget. Or even just a staircase that’s really cool. Like something most people have never seen before. With that much freedom you could build just about anything you can dream up.

Because of this total freedom I really do believe that modern design is the most creative of any home style.

Modern Staircase Styles

There are quite a few styles that are common to Modern design but aren’t really used in traditional construction.

  • In traditional staircase designs wooden spindles are common. However in modern architecture I’ve hardly ever seen them used. We typically use metal,wire or glass. Wood is used too but in more creative ways and if there are wooden spindles then they’d be a simple shape like round or square.
  • With Modern design it’s very common to use exposed metal for both the spindles and/or stair frame. Frames come in a wide variety of styles and designs. You can have them custom built or buy a pre-made stair kit.
  • In modern homes, metal balusters are often made very thin and can run parallel to the handrail rather than up and down. This creates a minimalist look.
  • Wire is often used in place of metal spindles. It can run either horizontally or vertically.
  • For an even cleaner look you can use solid glass in place of balusters. It’s an expensive option but worth it if you have the budget.
  • Many modern designs vary materials to create contrast. For example a metal frame with wood steps or glass with a wood hand rail.
  • A common feature of modern stairs are open risers. They allow you to see right through the staircase.
  • Winding, curved and even floating staircases are other staples of modern stair design.

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Closeup detail photo of a modern staircase. Open frame staircase with metal backbone and wood steps. Wire railings.

Attention To Detail

Because if your building a modern staircase and you want it to be the centerpiece of the home then you’ve got to pay attention to even the smallest detail. Modern finishes are very precise and accurate. It’s all about clean design and sharp edges. Your using a lot more natural, real materials like wood and metal. Glass and wire. With traditional construction you can hide a lot of errors with filler and paint. There are contractors that make their living on the idea of “just caulk and paint it”. They’re happy with cuts and gaps that are only 80% accurate because they can hide small imperfections later. But that’s not the case with modern stairs.

Take a look at the closeup picture of a metal and wood modern staircase above. Every angle, weld and cut has to be just right because there’s no covering anything up later. The materials are all real and what they are is what you see. There’s no covering anything up later.

This attention to fine details makes modern construction take more time and require a lot more skill.

Modern Staircase Lighting

Just like other parts of a modern staircase design, the lighting has both an aesthetic and a functional role. Having the right amount of light on the stairs at night is a safety issue however with modern design lighting can also be quite a beautiful part of the design.

  • Step lighting is a common addition either on the riser or hidden under the step as a strip LED.
  • Hidden lighting is also commonly added on the walls running along side the steps.
  • Modern staircases tend to wind or are circular so it’s harder the position a good center light fixture. Ceilings can also be higher than normal so we rely more an hidden ambient lighting rather than a single overhead light source.
  • Recessed lights are common but they don’t shine that much light if the ceilings are very high so again, we rely on more low level ambient lighting.
  • Consider hanging multiple light fixtures if you have the right amount of ceiling height instead of just one center light.

If you’re going for a real wow factor, then consider adding multiple forms of lights in combination. More light sources is a better way of lighting stairs because it cuts down on shadows.

As you look through the page and our example pictures take notice of how the lighting is designed in each staircase. It’s always different but most lighting designers use the same general principles.

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Modern home with a floating staircase built into the wall with tread to ceiling metal balusters.

Floating Modern Staircase Design

This modern home has one of the nicest set of floating stairs I’ve seen. I love the wood paneled wall, dark wood floors, glass wall and dark wood steps. But what really sets this design apart from all the others I’ve seen are the tread to ceiling metal balusters. What a unique and beautiful design.

There’s not a thing about this entire stair that I can find fault with. The step lights are nicely recessed into the side wall. The paneling is super clean without the need of extra trim. Even the ceiling design is fantastic. I love that slight recess that was built in. It’s a great way to dress up the ceiling a bit while still maintaining a clean, modern aesthetic.

Pro Tip: Those steps are just for show. They’re simply a cover that’s hollow inside. The structural part of the steps are made of metal and bolt into a steel beam recessed into the wall. Once all the steel work is done these stair sleeves slip over the metal inside which makes them appear to float. The design takes a lot of planning because the entire frame has to be hidden inside the wall.

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Sexy curved modern staircase design with real wood stained a medium brown. Open risers. metal balusters with wood rail.

Sexy Modern Staircase Design

Staircases are primarily a way of getting from one floor to another, but there’s no reason these functional elements of the home can’t also be beautifully designed. This stunning example of modern architecture features a curved design made with real wood stained a medium brown, metal balusters and a wood hand rail. Modern staircases can be a striking architectural focal point of the home while doing they’re intended job of carrying you from floor to floor.

The very best modern staircase designs are a wonderful marriage of form and function.

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Beautiful modern staircase design featuring open risers and glass railings. Dark brown stain with matching wood hand rail. Glass side wall.

Modern Wood Staircase Design With Glass

There is no shortage of ideas and example pictures to help make your modern stairway design a beautiful part of your home. In fact with a modern design you’ve got all sorts of options that aren’t available to a traditional homeowner. Modern stairs are shaped in unique ways and made of materials that other style don’t use. Open risers, glass railings and metal are all options almost no other home style uses except modern.

The most important thing to remember is that stairs aren’t just a way to get from floor to floor. They play an important part in establishing the look and feel of the home. In a modern home stairways are often used as a centerpiece that all other elements revolve around.

Just check out the example above. Real wood stairs with open risers stained dark brown. Glass railings with a real wood hand rail and glass side wall. Towards the top the stairs curve until they connect with the 2nd floor. These dark wood steps provide a nice contrast to the all white modern home design.

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Beautiful curved wood modern staircase design with metal balusters and wood hard rail. Matching hardwood floors. Dark brown stain with a light sheen.

Curved Modern Staircase Design

A home’s staircase is an extremely important element of the home. But they’re even more important when the house has a modern design. Stairs are an opportunity to create an eye catching, jaw dropping centerpiece of the entire home. Whether it has a traditional square design or an unusual curved shape, the stairs should be hard to forget.

This modern staircase design is definitely all that. Real wood stained a medium dark brown to match the 2nd level hardwood floors. Metal balusters with matching brown wood hand rail. All with a light sheen. The stairs beautiful curved from the upper level balcony to the main floor below. They overlook the grand dining room and living spaces on this stunning open floor plan modern home.

The entire home features a warm cream color scheme which works nicely with the rich reddish undertones found throughout the wood.

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Transitional modern staircase design made with black iron. Custom wall paneling adorns the stair walls. Wood floors with white risers.

Transitional Modern Staircase Design

Stairs are so common place in homes that in most cases you may not give them a second thought. But in a modern home that’s generally not the case. When done right, a staircase can transcend their function and become works of art that make your home really come alive.

The very best modern staircase designs considers both form, function and space. They utilizes the area that’s available in a way that leads your eye from the top of the landing right down to the bottom. This beautiful design is in a home style called transitional. It’s modern but with a mix of traditional architecture and style. Transitional homes are a very popular trend at the moment and typically feature white siding, black frame windows and black iron railings.

These stair railings have been custom designed and built to flow with the wall paneling and trim work found throughout the staircase.

Keep in mind when designing your modern staircase that it’s not just about the stairs. You also have to design the railings and the walls surrounding the the stairs. Not to mention the areas at the base of the staircase which is generally decorated in some way.

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Modern Staircase With Raw Concrete Walls

Sleek and modern, this metal and wood floating staircase fits beautifully in this contemporary home with polished cement floors and raw concrete walls. The staircase features a single square metal backbone with wooden steps, light stain finish and open risers. Metal balusters with matching wood posts and hand rail. The stair frame is bolted at the top and bottom of the staircase which makes it an extremely safe design.

The great thing about a staircase like this is that you can actually order them as a kit. They come more or less complete. You just bolt them in at the top and bottom and then assemble the rails and stairs.

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Modern wood, wire and glass wall staircase. Dark wood steps with white risers. Glass and wire sidewalls.

Modern Wood, Wire And Glass Staircase

Just try fining a staircase like this one in a traditional home. White risers and frame with dark wood steps. Glass side wall with metal hand rail opposite a wall of wire. Cream stone flooring. Large black frame glass window panels.

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Beautiful modern staircase design with light gray wood and matching stone wall veneer. Black metal railings. Matching hardwood floors.

Wood And Stone Modern Staircase Design

Another beautiful modern staircase design featuring a muted gray color scheme. Light gray wood stairs with stone veneer walls and matching hardwood floors. Black metal railings. The stairway walls include built in shelving with matching light gray wood shelves. Hidden LED lighting has been built into the stair walls and shelves.

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Modern metal and wood winding staircase with metal railings in front of a stunning 3 story glass wall.

Modern Winding Staircase

Staircases are an essential part of any home with more than one story. They’re a way to go up and down many times throughout the day. While most home stick to the basics and focus on functionality, modern designs combine functionality with aesthetics. In homes like this, staircases are designed to impress, dominating the home as a showpiece. Reference this stunning example above.

It’s hard for some to believe a staircase like can be in someones home. A winding metal staircase with wood steps and metal railings with open risers.

What really takes this modern staircase to a whole other level is the 3 story wall of glass it sits in front of. The stairs and glass wall sit directly in the middle of this open floor plan home so it can be seen no matter what room your in.

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Ultra modern glass and metal staircase design. Concrete floors. Industrial design.

Ultra Modern Glass And Metal Staircase Design

Modern design can even be industrial in nature. This futuristic home features polished concrete floors, metal and glass. Sheetrocked walls. Aluminum and bare metal finishes. The entire home has a gray color scheme with almost no additional colors or decor. This is minimalism at it’s best.

There’s so many details about this home I’d like to get into but this article is all about the staircase.

The stairs have been framed out of bent aluminum square tubes with an open center. The steps are black wood with a metal edge. Glass railings with a metal hand rail. The finishes are all raw brushed aluminum. Talk about details in modern construction. There’s no hiding anything here with paint or caulk. Every inch of the stairs has to be error free because it’s al visible. That’s what makes modern construction so much harder than traditional. You don’t have filler and paint to hide mistakes like you do with painted wood.

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Modern industrial staircase design with aluminum, steel, wood and glass. Red brick walls and dark stained hardwood floors.

Modern Industrial Staircase Design

As we walk up and down the same staircase several times a day, many of us don’t realize what a thing of beauty a set of stairs can be. This is one of the only parts of the home that can become a real jaw dropping piece of modern art.

Just look at this fantastic modern industrial staircase. I’ve never seen anything quite like it. Built out of aluminum and steel with wood steps and curved glass railings. Bent aluminum half walls and exposed steel beams gives it a vintage airplane feel.

This stunning modern staircase is built alongside red brick walls and hardwood floors. The contrast makes it stand out even more than if it were in an ultra modern home. It’s designed like a modern piece of artwork and could be on display in a gallery somewhere. That can’t be said of your average, every day home staircase.

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Beautiful modern staircase with black metal backbone, wood steps and glass railings.

Modern Staircase Design | Glass Railings

A beautiful modern staircase needs the right home. Over 90% of new homes built in American are considered fairly traditional. Less than 10% are modern or contemporary enough to warrant a modern set of stairs. But with the right home they truly look spectacular.

This modern stair design shown above has a center bar made from steel that supports the entire structure. Wooden stairs are bolted into the center steel and float without risers. Glass railings are secured into the steps with a metal hand rail.

This type of modern stair design is great for an open concept home because it’s designed to be as see through as possible. Without solid stair risers, a large frame or thick railings, very little is left to block your view.

As you’d imagine this contemporary staircase wouldn’t work in your average home but in one like this it looks fantastic and really fits the overall design.

This type of stair design with center bar and floating steps can actually be bought as a kit and assembled on site.

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Stunning black modern staircase design with coffee bean wood finish, glass rails and black hand rail. Floating staircase.

Contemporary Staircase Black With Glass

Here we see another fabulous contemporary staircase design. This design has solid risers and a steel frame that runs through both sides of the staircase rather than a single bar through the middle. Both types are super strong and both are very modern staircases but as you can see they look very different. This is one of the reasons why it’s so hard to define what a modern staircase design actually is. They really are like a functional piece of artwork. We’ll be showing dozens throughout this blog and they’ll all be unique.

Dark wood paneling makes up the steps, risers and platforms with black rails and glass. An excellent interior stair design for clients who want a monochromatic black, white and gray decor.

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Gray tile steps with matching white risers, glass railings and wood hand rail. Winding floating staircase.

Modern Gray Tile Steps With Glass

This modern staircase design has a steel reinforced frame inside each side of the stairs which supports the load. You’ll notice a common thread throughout all of these stair designs is the feeling that they float. Traditional stairs have wall underneath that support them but most contemporary stairs don’t We use hidden steel beams inside the stairs or under to carry the load. Steel is generally bolted at the top of the stairs, the bottom, into the walls, or a combination of the 3. In this case it’s secured at the top, bottom and into the side walls.

Those round metal pieces holding the glass railings are mounting hardware. They’re also commonly called pins or anchors. This is special glass that won’t easily break so it’s safe to use as a railing. It’s anchored into the stair frame with the pins. Other pieces of hardware are used to mount the wood hand rails.

Notice the stain on each wood element has been matched. That’s not as easy to do as it sounds because different types of wood holds stain differently so it takes some time to get the look just right.

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Cool modern staircase with black metal frame and floating wood stairs. Black metal balusters and wood hand rail. Winding staircase style.

Metal And Wood Modern Indoor Staircase Design

This modern indoor staircase design uses a mix of steel and real wood. Black metal always looks great with natural elements like wood. Here the stain was kept very light which accentuates the natural appearance of the wood. The steps and hand rails match and so do the balusters and steel frame.

In this stair design the steel frame is actually the black sides of the stairs that you see. It’s mounted at the top and bottom of each staircase with floating wooden steps. The risers are solid and painted cream to match the walls

Those bits of wood you see on the sides of each piece of steel are actually the steps. Each steel side piece has notches cut out where the steps are slid through and later secured into the risers.

The challenge with a modern staircase design like this is that you have to finish the under side of the stairs just as nice as the top. With more traditional stairs you generally don’t see what underneath so it’s not a common issue. With contemporary stair design you almost always see both sides so it’s twice the work.

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Beautiful modern staircase with black steel backbone frame and floating wood steps. Glass and black metal railings.

Modern Staircase Design Kits

This is a beautiful, modern staircase design that’s very common in the building industry because you can buy it as a kit. The center stair support bars are cut to whatever length you need. That’s that big black piece of steel running under the steps. It bolts into the top and bottom of each staircase.

Once you secure the support steel the wooden steps bolt in and then you build the railings. It’s not that hard to assemble one of these and they’re reasonably priced when compared with other modern staircase designs.

The rails here are black aluminum 4×4 posts with a black top and bottom rail with glass. Notice the black metal has been carried to the 2nd floor as a 1/3 height top rail. Matching black doors and floor inlay are also parts of the design.

The wood type and color has been used as accent trim and wall paneling covering the entire main interior wall. Some people think using a lot of natural wood is considered rustic but that’s not always the case. It all depends on it’s usage. Here we see rustic, knotty wood used in a very modern home.

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Stunning modern floating wood stairs with no railings. What a dangerous staircase design but at the same time very beautiful.

Modern Floating Stair Design With No Rails

This super modern floating stair design is crazy. No visible support structure of any kind and no rails. It’s the ultimate in minimalist design and striking to see but unfortunately is quite dangerous. At the very least adding a thin wire rail would be a good idea. That’s a far drop if you happen to take a bad step.

The supports are actually buried in the wall. Those steps look like solid pieces of wood but they’re not. Hidden inside is a piece of steel that bolts into the wall frame. The wood is just a sleeve that slides over the actual steel step. The steps either bolt into steel hidden in the wall or into the actual wall framing. It all depends on the homes design.

It takes a lot of work to build one of these because you can’t just screw the steps into any wall. The support system has to be hidden inside the wall so if your planning on installing one of these in an existing home then you’ll have to open up the walls and do some structural framing. Once the structural work is done it’s easy to bolt in each individual step. Just make sure you bolt them all in the right place. From there slide on the wooden sleeves and finish any remaining cosmetic work.

We recommend staining the wood and painting the wall in advance. This way you won’t have to worry about getting paint on the wood or stain on the wall.

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Fantastic modern staircase design with curved round design. Floating wood steps with curved glass rails and wood hand rail.

Contemporary Round Floating Staircase Design

Here we see a floating stair design which is much safer than the previous example. Because if you’ve got a staircase then you really need to install railings and in most towns including all of NJ it’s a requirement. We recommend some balusters as well as a hand rail on at least one side. Check with your local building department for code information but here in NJ those thins are also both required.

Light wood stairs match the super wide hardwood plank flooring and top rail perfectly. There’s a center landing on this staircase which is a good idea when you’ve got a large staircase that spans over 20 stairs.

This is a very expensive staircase design to build. It’s stunning and definitely qualifies as a top modern staircase design but the cost to bend glass like this and build round stairs is crazy. Bending the steel for the structure is expensive too and so is the round framing and finish work but nothing compares to what it costs to bend and install curved glass. Radius work in general costs a lot but this is on a whole other level.

The enormous granite slabs used as a wall covering is a beautiful way to finish off this staircase design.

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Ultra Modern Staircase Design

This ultra modern staircase design fits perfectly inside this spectacular contemporary home. It features floating wood steps with glass railings and a metal hand rail.

What’s great about these floating steps with open risers is that they don’t block the view as much as close risers do. With floor to ceiling windows you really don’t want solid stairs and thick railings blocking all that natural light. Even though your view is partially blocked you can still see plenty right through the stairs.

The look is achieved with steel. Inside each wooden step is a hidden steel step that’s bolted into the wall frame which is how builders achieve the illusion of floating stairs. You need something super solid to bolt into so this isn’t a look you can just add to any existing home. If you want a floating staircase major remodeling will have to be done inside the wall in order to provide a strong enough frame to bolt into.

Once the structural work is done inside the walls it’s actually not that hard a job to do. You just bolt the stairs in, slide on the wooden steps, assemble the railings and do all your finish work. We’ll be posting a video and instructions on how to do it soon so check back.

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Industrial Concrete Modern Stair Design

This is a home that’s still under construction but believe it or not most of what you see is the finished look. An industrial decor is a growing trend started by older buildings in the city being converted into living space. Clients liked the style so much that they’re now building contemporary homes that embrace it. Poured concrete and block create the look of an older industrial warehouse in a brand new, ultra modern home.

The stairs aren’t actually just poured concrete. Inside is a steel frame with rebar that’s bolted at the top and bottom of each staircase. Without the steel and rebar frame the concrete could easily crack and become unsafe. All these stairs get from here are railings that bolt right into the concrete.

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Clean, Contemporary Stair Design With Cable Rails

This clean, modern stair design has a hidden steel frame which allows that center rail to float. You couldn’t achieve this look with wood unless you included a bunch of columns or cantilevered beams into the walls. It’s a much better, safer option for stair designs like these to use steel so if your a custom builder reading this find a good steel manufacturer and get comfortable working with the material.

The underside of the steps is again a super clean sheetrock finish with a single recessed LED light at each landing. The steps are real hardwood with a picture frame border which matches the flooring throughout the home. Railings are custom built brushed aluminum with cables that bolt into the sides of the steps.

Recessed LED step lighting has been installed into the side walls every 4 steps.

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Contemporary Stairs With Open Wood Risers And Cable Rails

Here we see another example of cable rails paired with a modern stair design. Black steel side frame with open wood steps. Matching wood hand rails sit atop black posts that match the steel stair frame. Silver cable wires complete the rail system.

This staircase is a made from two single steel beams custom built and bolted to each side of the staircase to achieve this floating stair look. An open riser staircase sitting three stories high can be a scary thing so it has to be super strong. This is where 14″ thick steel side beams come into play. With steel this size the span isn’t a problem at all and it’s definitely not something you’d want to try with wood.

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Contemporary Round Stairs With Plaster

This custom built contemporary round staircase has a clean plaster finish and wood frame. Wood is generally less expensive than building with steel but in this case it’s actually about the same. As a general rule of thumb expect anything curved to cost more because it has to be custom built either on site or in a professional shop. You can’t just go into a Home Depot and buy something round. It all has to be hand made which takes time and money.

We have a great wood shop we trust with all of our curved wood manufacturing. You really have to find a business that knows what they’re doing and has experience with radius work.

Curved stairs have to be very precise. The radius has to be perfect or it won’t fit into the opening and all the stairs have to be to code. It’s not an easy thing to make. In this case once the staircase was bolted into place the rails were fitted with wire and then plastered which is how these steps got that beautiful smooth finish.

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Contemporary Stair Design With Silver Frame

Here we see another set of contemporary interior stairs with floating wood steps, open risers and glass rails. What makes this set different from the rest of the examples we’ve shown is the silver frame. It’s still steel only it’s been powder coated in this silver finish. That’s why we’re highlighting it here.

Steel can be powder coated or painted to just about any color you like just like a car. Even though black is by far the most popular some clients choose to go with something different.

Here the silver coating has been carried to the rail posts and platform frame which matches nicely with the window and door frames.

The structure of the platform and stairs are both steel. The stairs are bolted to the floor and at the top while the platform is bolted to the side walls.

This open riser design with glass is really nice in an open floor plan contemporary home. It lets through tons of natural light and doesn’t block the view as much as a solid set of stairs will.

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Modern Staircase Design | Metal Glass And Wood

Above we see a spectacular modern home with custom built floating stairs featuring black metal, wood and glass.

The black frame is steel which is supported by bolts at the top and bottom as well as into the side walls. It’s a combination of these points that carries the load and allows the center section to appear to float. A stair like this isn’t a kit. These are custom design by a structural engineer, built by a steel company and finished by a builder. If your thinking of installing one make sure you find a builder that has experience building with contemporary, custom made products.

The wood steps are easy to install. They can be done at the factory or on site. We generally prefer to do all the finish work on site to prevent damage during shipping or installation. The rails are custom cut sheets of glass secured with side anchor pins.

I love how the black metal from the stairs is carried throughout the home with black metal wall paneling, window and door trim and other accent pieces on the walls.

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Beautiful modern white staircase with custom made black iron railings. Curved staircase design. Modern transitional style.

Curved Stair Design With Custom Iron Railings

Here we have a modern stair design that slants a little more to the traditional side. Because this look is commonly referred to as transitional but is still considered a contemporary look. The stairs are curved but are not built into the wall. The entire staircase has been built in advance with a steel frame and stone tile finish. It comes one piece and completely finished. You simply get it in place and bolt it at the top and bottom.

The custom railings are designed and built out of iron once the staircase is in. We measure and make templates for all the railings once a design is finalized. Once fabricated we bolt them all in.

One of the great things about a stair design like this is the versatility. The tile you select for the risers and treads as well as the railings are completely up to you. There are hundreds of different stones that will work and thousands of design options for the railings. It’s a beautiful look that will work in a lot more homes than some of the other ultra modern staircase designs.

A Few More Top Modern Staircase Design Ideas

We’ve gone over most of our favorite modern staircase design ideas above but here are some more pics to look through. Maybe one of them will catch your eye.

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Center black steel backbone support with wood steps. Open risers.

Black Steel & Wood Modern Stair Design

A single black steel backbone frame supports this beautiful modern staircase. Real wood steps with open risers. Metal handrails. Huge wall of glass lets in tons of natural light right through the staircase.

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Modern floating staircase with white steps and wood rails.

Floating Modern White Stairs

If your someone who likes the effect of a floating staircase then you may love this design. White steps appear to float in mid air including a center platform. In reality the steps are supported by steel that’s bolted into the side walls. But it’s a beautiful illusion.

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These wooden steps are supported by a single steel frame backbone. Glass railings.

Wood & Steel Modern Stair Design

Who says you can’t have wood steps with a modern staircase design. I don’t know when the misconception got started that modern design was cold. While many are, most of the modern homes we’ve worked on, built, or seen were actually very warm and inviting. They included lots of real wood and stone. Although they do include colder elements like steel and glass, generally those elements are included with wood so the effect balances out.

This simple steel and wood staircase is supported by a center backbone frame with wood steps.

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Modern wooden staircase. Dark hardwood floors with open risers and stair runner.

Modern Wooden Staircase

What makes this staircase design modern ate the 2nd level steel supports. Because an open riser design like this is hard to pull off with wood. However the lower staircase is built very traditionally. It’s unusual to have varying framing style found within the same staircase but it does happen from time to time.

If you want a traditional wooden staircase with a modern twist then this design may be an option worth considering.

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This beautiful staircase appears to float without any supports under the platform. Back steel with wood. Glass railings.

Floating Modern Staircase

The cool thing about these modern staircases is how they appear to float. Because with steel you can do things you can’t with wood. The mid platform is bolted into the wall frame without any lower supports or side walls to support the load. Wood steps with open risers sit between the side steel supports. Glass railings. It’s a beautiful design that’s very hard to pull off with wood.

Because if your stair frame is made with steel you can do all sorts of creative things that aren’t an option with other materials.

Modern Staircase Design | Contemporary Stair Design Ideas (35)

Light and bright modern staircase design featuring hardwood floors and steps with white risers and glass railings.

Light & Bright Modern Staircase Design

This simple modern staircase design is a part of a light and bright room design. Light hardwood floors with white risers and glass railings. Lots of windows and natural light. White walls and trim. The stair design is actually very traditional. You could build a set like this in just about any house. However, by including glass railings the design becomes modern. Another modern style is the square step bull nose. Most traditional steps have a rounded edge but modern styles use more sharp edges and right angles.

Modern Staircase Design | Contemporary Stair Design Ideas (36)

Modern floating wood steps with glass railing. These steps appear to come straight through the walls

Modern Floating Wood Steps

This modern stair design is one of my favorites. Because the stairs are actually bolted into the wall frame they appear to come straight through the wall and float in mid air. Glass railings are attached into the steps and include a metal hand rail. Risers are left open so you can see right through as you walk up the steps.

I really like the real wood. The stair design is futuristic so pairing it with traditional hardwood creates a nice contrasting style. And using such a rich, warm wood stain also creates a nice contrast with this relatively cold modern home.

Modern Staircase Design | Contemporary Stair Design Ideas (37)

Beautiful modern staircase design with solid wood railings. Medium brown wood stain. Open risers.

Beautiful Modern Staircase

Talk about a piece of artwork in the home. This modern staircase is beautiful and sure to make an impact with any guest. It appears to be a floating staircase however it’s actually bolted into the wall frame with steel. The side walls also contain steel hidden beneath the high wood solid railings. Also part of the design are wood steps with open risers.

That wood grain finish and medium brown stain are really beautiful. Most modern railings we see have glass or wire railing which preserve the view but these designer chose to go with solid wood. Because of how fantastic that wood grain is I think they made the right choice. The stair wood also matches other wood finishes in the home like the front door and kitchen cabinets. Since the home is an open floor plan all your exposed wood should match somewhat. It creates a more cohesive design.

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Modern staircase with center steel backbone. Wood steps and glass railings with wood handrail.

Cool Modern Floating Staircase

This modern staircase is really cool because of how it winds. It’s supported by a center backbone that twists the staircase with 3 right angle turns. Also included are floating wood steps and glass railings with a wood hand rail.

These types of open stair designs provide a lot of space under the stairs for seating or other decorations. With a more traditional staircase you’d normally find basem*nt stairs or a closet. However modern stairs like this are finished all around so there no closed off areas.

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Beautiful modern staircase design with real wood steps, steel frame and glass railings. Open risers. Contemporary home with huge windows and tons of natural light.

Modern Wood, Steel & Glass Staircase

This beautiful modern staircase design features light hardwood steps, black steel frame and glass railings. Open risers are a great part of the design because they don’t block the view of this fantastic contemporary home with huge windows and tons of natural light.

Bonus Modern Stair Design Tips

Here’s a few more tips to consider when designing your nest modern staircase.

  • A general design tip for small modern staircases is to use a thin metal spindle or glass railing with an open riser. By not blocking the view as much it makes the space feel larger and the staircase less in the way.
  • Don’t forget to use all that space under the staircase.
  • Make sure your staircase is well lit at night and safe. Lighting should always be a part of the design.
  • If you have a wall along side the staircase then this is a great place for design. Many people forget about this wall but it’s actually a part of the staircase design.

Finally, don’t forget to consider how the staircase design works with the rest of the house style and decor. You may love one of the staircase design on this page but it may not work in your home without a little variation. Use inspiration pictures as a guide and alter than as needed. Ultimately the staircase has to look good in the home, not just in a photograph.

Summary: Modern Staircase Design Ideas

A modern staircase design is a great feature to have if you’ve got the right home and the budget. Sure, they do the same thing as any staircase does but that’s not really the point. Because a modern stair design is meant to be artwork inside the home and that’s why they come with such a high price tag. If you’ve got a million dollar contemporary home it just won’t look right with an old fashioned colonial staircase.

This list is filled with some of our favorite contemporary staircase ideas and we hope a few of them inspire you to create something beautiful. Check back, we update these pages with new pics all the time as we get them. If you’ve got any pics you’d like us to showcase send them over.

If you have any questions or comments feel free to e-mail us any time. We’d love to hear from you.

Modern Staircase Design | Contemporary Stair Design Ideas (2024)
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