Closed or Open Risers: Choosing a Staircase Design for Your Home

Staircase design

Designing staircases today isn’t just about considering function. Now that staircases are also used to impress visitors, homeowners are paying attention to how these functional parts of the home wow people the moment they step inside.

Staircases are also used to carve out the features of your home, from storage space to office nooks, to the way light will cast its shadow, it’s possible to design your whole home around your feature stairs.

When choosing a modern design for your staircase, you’ll run into a wide variety styles such as open riser staircases. Closed riser stairs are a common and traditional choice, while open risers are becoming popular in contemporary homes.

The question is: which design should you choose for your home? Let’s take at a look at the two main options: open and closed riser stairs.

Sticking to Closed Risers for Your Staircase Design

Closed risers are the standard type of stairs, mainly a staple in older and more traditional homes. A riser between every tread closes a gap in each step. This prevents you from seeing what’s underneath or between the steps.

These staircases lend themselves well to installing many types of attractive balustrade systems as they provide a solid fixing point.

While this type of staircase suits any style of home, it is ideal for homes with young children, as the lack of gaps in each step minimises the risk of accidents. If you’re short on living space, closed riser staircases also allow you to use its underside for other functions, such as laundry, storage and study or work nooks.

Close risers typically have a traditional, classic feel to them. While there are modern variations, when people think of closed riser staircases, they typically imagine the stately staircases seen in arts and craft style homes.

What about Open Risers?

In contrast, you’re more likely to see an open riser staircase in a modern home. Open risers can be designed to fit any style of stairs, including the traditional straight staircase or the spiral or curved staircase. They can also be manufactured out of any material, such as glass, steel or wood. Open risers are also frequently seen in large commercial properties with a contemporary design. They’re simple and functional, and that’s why they’re in such huge demand.

But first, what is an open riser staircase?

An open riser staircase refers to staircases where there is an open vertical space between each step. This style of staircase is airy rather than enclosed and offers unobstructed views through the treads into your space. Straight and open, this style of staircase is often seen in minimalist spaces.

Open risers particularly suit homes with an open floor plan. Since the gaps between the steps let in natural light, this style of staircase makes the area look larger. Furthermore, they impart attractive straight lines into the space, while leaving an open space underneath for a variety of purposes.

Are Combination Stairs a Good Bet?

If you’re torn about choosing between an open riser and closed riser stairs, why not incorporate both into your staircase? Custom staircases might be the better choice for your home, especially when you’re dealing with a tricky space in where neither type will work perfectly alone.

They also suit any style of a home, whether it’s traditional or modern.

For example, you may want a customised L-shaped staircase with a combination of closed and open risers. The staircase can start with closed risers, then with open treads after the landing. This allows the homeowner to utilise the under-space storage provided by the closed riser side of the staircase.

Combined staircases are extremely eye-catching, but they also provide novel solutions. They come with potential storage benefits, as well as opportunities to carve out nooks and office spaces.

There are three main types of combination stairs to choose from, depending on your space:

Closed Concealed

In this style of staircase, the string has been concealed within the wall on one side and closed on the other for a balustrade. This style has a traditional feel and follows the wall.

Cut Closed

In a cut and closed staircase, the trends are equal to the string, creating a saw-tooth appearance that is closed or partially closed.

Open Cut

Here the treads can be seen from the side in an open saw-tooth fashion. This style is typically used in a modern design, because it is boxy, clean and architectural.

Whether you choose open risers, closed risers or a combination of both, remember to combine style and function when planning your design. Ensure that the design is cohesive with the current look of your home. For best results, consult with an expert staircase designer about your ideas.

Retain Your Individuality

Your staircase doesn’t have to be what you think it “should” be, your staircase can be designed to express your individual style and needs. There’s nothing stopping you from putting a traditional staircase in a modern home, and a contemporary staircase in a stately one. In fact, sometimes opposites attract, and contrast can be very appealing. Just like antique furniture can look beautiful in minimalist spaces, and modern designs can revitalise an ageing space, your staircase design doesn’t have to be limited in any way. Need extra storage space? Want a study nook? Love the idea of an inbuilt bookshelf? A staircase can fulfil many functions while becoming a much-loved feature in your home or next project.

Enhance Your Home with Ackworth House’s Staircases

For over 40 years, Ackworth House has been enhancing the value and style of residential and commercial properties throughout New Zealand. Thanks to our wealth of expertise and knowledge, we have become a trusted supplier of beautiful and functional staircases.

Our designs combine aesthetics and practicality, making your staircase the focal point of your space. We have a vast selection of designs, and they can be modified to fit in or stand out in your architectural blueprint.

We are open to enquiries. Call us on 0800 225 967 to learn more about our different staircase designs.