Stairs in a private house – the device and problems | With Your Hands – How To Make Yourself

12 Tips To Understand Revit Stairs

Stairs in a private house - the device and problems | With Your Hands - How To Make Yourself

Stairs in Revit can be a source of chaos and frustration.

It doesn't have to be that way. This guide breaks down all the complex parts into easy to digest small bites. We promise that after reading this, everyone will be baffled by how great of a stair modeler you've become. Enjoy these tips. Watch the complete video tutorial if you prefer.


Before doing anything, you need to understand all Revit stairs definitions. Have a look a the visual legend below to make sure you get everything.

BASE AND TOP LEVELS: Stairs are selected levels that already exist in the project. You can add an offset on these levels if required.

DESIRED STAIR HEIGHT: Total distance between the base and the top of the stairs, including offsets.

DESIRED NUMBER OF RISERS: Automatically calculated by Revit, dividing Stair Height by Maximum Riser Height. You can change this number, which will modify the stair slope.

ACTUAL NUMBER OF RISERS: The number of risers you modeled so far.

MAXIMUM RISER HEIGHT: Riser height for your stair will never go above this value. This parameter is set on the stair type. Usually on par with code requirements.

ACTUAL RISER HEIGHT: This distance is automatically calculated by Revit, dividing the Stair Height by the Desired Number of Risers.

MINIMUM TREAD DEPTH: On the stair type, specify the minimum tread depth. When you start modeling your stair, you can go above this number, but not below.

ACTUAL TREAD DEPTH: By default, this value is equal to minimum tread depth set in the stair type. However, you can set a bigger value if you want more depth.

MINIMUM RUN WIDTH: Set on the stair type, you can specify the minimum run width. This does not include support (stringers).

ACTUAL RUN WIDTH: By default, this will be the same as the minimum run width. You can set a higher value than the minimum, but a lower value will result in a Warning.

Now that you understand what all these Revit stair definitions mean, time to set them up. Select the stair tool in the architecture tab.

Then, click on Edit Type in the properties. Adjust Maximum Riser Height, Minimum Tread Depth and Minimum Run Width. Usually, these values are set in order to satisfy code requirements.

This will affect all stairs using this type.

Select your base and top levels. Set offsets. Desired Stair Height will be automatically calculated.

You can now begin to draw your stair. There is many stair shapes options, for now let’s use the most common straight one. Click a first time to set the start point of your stair. Move your cursor to see the projected shape of your run, the tread depth you have set previously. Click again to complete the run.

When drawing a stair path, you start at the low point, and end with the top of the stairs. If you did it backwards, flip the stairs, by clicking the Flip button or clicking the arrow symbol.


When entering stair creation mode, have a look at the option bar. You can change Location Line to decide if you want to draw the stairs the side or on the center of the run. You can also change the Actual Run Width to go above the minimum you specified previously.


Using 3D views in addition to plan views and sections is a great way to build and understand stairs. Use Selection Box to isolate the stair in the 3D view if required. To create stairs from a 3D view, make sure the Workplane is set to a plan level, else you will receive a warning.


Finding all stairs parameters can be confusing. It's because the stair type contains three sub-type of elements, where more parameters are located.

STAIR TYPE: Controls the dimension rules of your stairs, riser height, tread depth and run width. Inside Stair Type, you will also find Run Type, Landing Type and Support type.

To modify these types, either go to Stair Type, or use TAB to individually select a run, landing or support. Then click Edit Type.

RUN TYPE: Inside this type, you can modify Tread Thickness, and set a Nosing Length
to your treads. You can also set Riser Thickness and decide if you want them slanted. Also use this panel to set materials for tread and risers.

LANDING TYPE: By default, this will be the same as Run Type. Uncheck the box Same as Run to customize landing material, thickness, nosing, etc.

SUPPORT TYPE: Specify whether to use Carriage or Stringer style support. Also set support Material, Width and Depth.

Do you this blog post? Check out our popular BASICS course.


If you draw two stairs run next to each other, Revit will automatically add a landing to join the two. You can uncheck this feature when creating the stairs (see tip 2).

Landings at the top or at the bottom of the stairs are never automatic, they have to be created manually. Use the Landing Component and select Create Sketch button. Then draw the outline of the landing.

By default, Desired Number of Risers will be equal to the lowest number of risers you need to not go beyond Maximum Riser Height. However, you can specify more risers to get a softer stair slope. Don’t ever put less risers than the calculated minimum, else you will receive a warning !


Instead of adding risers, you can also put a bigger value to Actual Tread Depth for a softer stair slope. Changing this value will make the run longer. Again, don’t put a number below the Minimum Tread Depth, else you will receive a warning. Warnings are annoying and mean that you are not following your own rules.


In the image below, RUN #1 has the default settings: it begins and ends with a riser. However, we changed the settings for RUN #2, which begins and ends with a tread instead of a riser. You can change this option by clicking on a run and checking/unchecking the parameters.

While creating stairs, railings will automatically be added to your stair. The default type will be the last one selected. To change it, click the railing button and select another type, or select None for a stair without railing.


A Carriage Support is underneath the stair, following the shape of treads and risers. This is a type usually used for a wooden residential stair type. A Stringer Support will be separate from the stairs, usually on par with metallic stairs construction type. These settings are found in Stair Type.

You want more? This guide is part of our BASICS package. We made a simple, fun and efficient guide to learn Revit. Learn more by clicking here, or download the complete chapter about stairs in the link below. You will get the complete content of this blog post and exclusive bonus content to become a stair modeling god.


60 Under Stairs Storage Ideas For Small Spaces Making Your House Stand Out

Stairs in a private house - the device and problems | With Your Hands - How To Make Yourself

Shelves and storage spaces under staircase are the best tricks to use the area underneath the stairs.How many of you thought about using the space under your stairs as a working area? Let me answer that and tell you that not many people figured this out.

It’s all about the stairs; they have to be wide enough and straight forward allowing you to place a table there and some small shelves. A laptop or a PC will fit in there without any major problems. There are two types of office arrangement under the stairs.

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The first one is facing the wall, positioned along the steps and the other one is positioned perpendicular. Both types focus on the same thing maximizing the space available under the stairs as good as possible.

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If you want to concentrate on your work without anyone distracting your attention you can mount a door. Sliding doors would be the best choice because it’s not going to take up a lot of space, but they can be expensive. Swing doors on the other hand may or may not fit or look appealing.

Anyway, with or without doors, perpendicular or not, you can arrange an original home office under your stairs and that’s very good news for those who already explored all the other options.

Ways to use the space under the stairs in the hallway

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The hallway by due to its nature is a very busy intersection with streets coming from all over the place. This means that this space can be used to store something that has to be at any moment at hand.

  Depending on what type of situation you are facing and what décor or architecture that space under your stairs from the hallway can be used to expand your décor or as storage area.

A very good idea that also comes in quite handy is to transform that space to store your shoes and clothes for the cold\warm season.  You can live it open or closed with big doors.

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The inside compartment can very easily be divided so every member of the family can have its own place. Storage is not the only option here; you can also use that area to extend your interior setting.

I see a nice couch or a big comfortable arm chair working just perfect in that spot, or simply use it to support your favorite decorations.

If you care less about style and just need extra space for your appliances, sports items or why not your bike this is the perfect spot because is never in your way but in the same time very accessible.

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Ways to use the space under the stairs in living room.

Your living room is a little bit more delicate than a hallway therefore the stairs from this area are either very stylish and any rough modification will ruin the overall look either made from materials that stand out, and as before any major modification to them or the space around them will ruin the whole thing. In a living room the secret is not to make something that doesn’t fully integrate in the environment.

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Therefore the space under your stairs should be a part of the entire décor but focused more on functionality because in the end that’s what we want: some extra space.

Have ever thought about making a bookshelf under your living rooms stairs? If your answer is “yes” then you did o very good job maximizing your space, if the answer is “no” –why not? It not your books are measuring 3 feet each!

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A bookshelf is perfect for that space because you can make the shelves one longer one shorter one higher one lower and it will look great and I am sure that your favorite books won’t mind.  Decorations also can have their “sanctuary” under the stairs as well as electronic equipment embellishing the entire living room with color and texture.

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This method of using the space under your stairs is recommended only in very tight situations when the lack of space is really an issue and you already eliminated all the other options.

Using the area under your stairs as kitchen or at least a part of the kitchen in my opinion is a bit on the limit because I am a man who s to cook a lot and when I’m doing that I don’t want any shoe lasses getting in my food not mention dust or dirt.

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For those who don’t have a lot of space to play with that spot can very easily incorporate some appliances, a sink or a stove. Above that you can put all your plates and coffee cups on small shelves, spices as well.

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Rack and shelves under the stairs

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We can all agree upon the fact that the easiest way to arrange the space under the stairs is with shelves and racks. A lot of things can be placed there without the need of heavy furnishing.

  Shelves can and it is actually recommended to be of different sizes and a little bit asymmetrical because the usual square spaces and straight lines don’t necessarily fit in new, modern interiors.

On shelves you can store almost anything the only thing that matters is where the stairs are located because different spaces call for different items.

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For example on a hallway you can very easily store a bike or your son’s basketball but in a living room the shelves under the stairs can only store small objects that are suited for a place that; books, photos, decorations, vases and so on. The space under your stairs represents an extra storage space when you need one, so even if you think you don’t have anything to put on, build some shelves and make use of the that space. You will always have something to put there.

Cabinets with doors under stairs

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Recently cabinets came in different shapes, colors and materials to fulfill our need for storage. One thing though, was never attempted, at least until now.  Now that we started this topic we are aware of the unused space under the stairs, so why not build cabinets with doors, locks and handles over there?

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Drawers built under stairs

If you care about your things a lot and you want them organized and you don’t really have the necessarily space for them mounting multiple drawers under the stairs suddenly becomes a very interesting idea.

Imagine all that space filled with drawers; small drawers and large drawers.

I saw something this in a tailoring workshop, where because of the tight space the owner mounted drawers under the access stairs where they kept both fabrics and threads.

They had everything organized vertically with distinct drawers for different types of fabric as well for the various types of threads. This is really a good idea if you need extra storage space.

Drawers are a little bit more private and you can organize your things better than on shelves, not to mention that on the exterior the entire ensemble of drawers looks really great and adds a bit of sophistication and mystery into the room.

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If you a more complex organizer for your things, you can make big vertical drawers that slide open and inside there could be smaller drawers. This would work great if you have two kids and one use one big drawers for each one and inside there could be smaller drawers with shirts, pants, socks and so on.

Racks for wine under stairs

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Wine is an important element from any great dinner. If you wine and you having a good wine always at hand you can make a special place for it under the stairs.

  I don’t know why but I always see wine surrounded by wood, maybe because of its origins and how wine was initially stored; in wooden barrels.

  We can’t find nowadays wine for sale in wooden barrels, only in glass bottles and I can’t see a wine rack made from anything else but wood.

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Building a rack for wine is not that complicated and the final product filled with different bottles can serve very well as a decorative element.Both the rack and the individual bottles will definitely draw your guest’s attention. This adds a bit of class and elegancy in your décor making it a warm, welcoming house.

Storage under open wooden stairs

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This next type of storage under the stairs combines perfectly style and functionality. The fact that the stairs are left opened you can use non-uniform deformations of the wood and other elements to achieve you desired storage units.

  That type of storage adds an enormous amount of texture in the room with steps and shelves as well as the items stored underneath. It is truly amazing how you can do all that impressive effect and still keep practicality in mind.

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I think that people that have modern homes would appreciate this type of storage because they are more inclined towards non-conformism scraping out traditional values and bringing and implementing indoors new concepts and ideas.

This example does just that and transforms something  common we already know in something else that can still serve as the thing that was designed for and some extra new features.

Do not get me wrong on this, we are not reinventing the wheel here, we are just finding new ways and places for it.


Staircase Design Guide

Stairs in a private house - the device and problems | With Your Hands - How To Make Yourself

When it comes to the perfect staircase design, you need to make sure that it covers practicality, style and safety.

Your staircase will occupy a prominent position in your home so whether you are revamping an existing staircase or building a new one, you should choose your size, layout and materials carefully and making sure your staircase design is in line with the Building Regulations.

This guide will break down all aspects of your staircase design, from the regulations you need to adhere to and the design and material options available to you. We’ll also explain the anatomy of a staircase so you’ll know your nosing from your riser.

Staircase Regulations in the UK

Given the safety implications, make sure you are aware of Building Regulations requirements for staircases when thinking about your design.

  • Staircases should have a maximum rise of 220mm and a minimum going of 220mm
  • They should have a maximum pitch of 42°
  • Flights should have a handrail on at least one side if they are less than one metre wide and on both sides if they are wider than this
  • Handrails on stairs and landings should have a minimum height of 900mm
  • No openings of any balustrading should allow the passage of a 100mm sphere
  • A minimum of 2,000mm of clear headroom is required above the pitch line
  • For further Regulations see Approved Document K (available to buy from

How Big Should a Staircase Be?

The first thing you need to determine is what size your staircase needs to be. Begin by measuring the total rise. This is the measurement from the finished floor below to the finished floor level above.

You will then need to work out the number of risers required. To stay within Building Regulations, a domestic staircase needs a rise of between 190mm and 220mm. Standard risers are around 200mm, so aim for this.

A typical rise is 2,600mm, which divides easily into 13 200mm risers, or steps. Now you need to calculate the number of treads. Generally you require one less tread than the number of risers. Next, work out the ‘going’. This is the measurement from the face of one riser to the next.

To comply with the Regulations, the minimum going should be 220mm, whilst the pitch of the staircase should not exceed 42°.

There are no restrictions when it comes to width, but standard flights measure 860mm, and for a main staircase it is agreed that a width of between 800mm and 900mm works best. For secondary staircases a minimum width of 600mm is recommended.

Where Should I Locate the Staircase?

It is generally accepted that the base of a staircase is best located somewhere near to the front door and that, if possible, you should not have to cross another room to reach the stairs from the front door. This is vital if there is a third storey to the house, as the stairs will have to act as a fire escape route.

Do I Need to Choose a Straight Staircase Design?

No, in many situations a straight staircase won’t fit in the house, or simply won’t work with the design scheme.

Incorporating turns into your staircase design. 1. Half landing; 2. Quarter landing; 3. Quarter landing with winder; 4. Straight flight

When turns are required in a staircase, the simplest option is to split the flight in two and connect them with a 90° quarter turn landing. If you were to use a 180° turn it would be known as a half landing.

Steps that turn corners whilst climbing are called ‘winders’ and are often used to navigate 90° turns. A turn consisting of three winders is known as a ‘kite winder’. These are often used at the top and bottom of flights to get round corners.

Spiral staircases are not the most practical feature, making it hard to take furniture up and down and often being more expensive than standard flights. However, they can look fantastic and are useful where space is limited.

Staircase Design Features

If you are adding a brand new staircase, it is a great opportunity to add any more unusual design features that could not only improve the staircase itself, but also how you interact with the rest of your home.

Choose from more practical features, such as integrated storage or glass elements to help the flow of natural light around the staircase, to more aesthetic characteristics, such as wow-factor balustrades, extra width or even a staircase pod.

Incorporating Storage into Your Staircase Design

Staircases with storage capability are a great way to make the most of your space. Definitely one up from the understairs cupboard, this bespoke staircase by Bisca incorporates a run of cupboards made from solid wood, combined with a toughened low-iron glass balustrade and stainless steel rails.

Extra-wide Stairs

The owners of this house, designed by Granit Architects, wanted a staircase with wow factor so the existing staircase was replaced with an oversized stone and timber design. Italian limestone has been teamed with dark stained oak, with the lower treads extended to full width in order to create space for displaying artwork and books. It could even be used as a seating area.

Staircase Pod

This staircase pod was a design response to both budget restrictions and the large open plan spaces in this barn conversion.The ‘pod’ has been created using OSB, with the staircase within leading to a mezzanine level — slot ‘windows’ ensure the space is not dark.

Use Stickers or Paint for a Quick Staircase Update

For a speedy and inexpensive transformation, consider stair stickers or paint.  If you plan on painting your stairs, make sure you use a product designed for that purpose.

Lighting Your Staircase Design

A badly-designed staircase is one that suffers from a total lack of light, either natural or artificial, but sadly this is a common problem, with staircases often being located in the centre of the house away from main windows.

Good ways to allow light through to your staircase include using fanlights above doors, both internal and external, to bring light into the base of the staircase; inserting a rooflight above the stairwell; or using a lightpipe — a useful way to bring light to staircases in terraced homes or where space is tight.

Use artificial lighting to turn your staircase into even more of a feature. Although including practical lighting at the top and bottom of the staircase – controlled by a two-way switch – is a good idea, using LED lights set into the string, handrail or even the stairs themselves is a fantastic way of showing off your new flight.

(MORE: Clever Lighting Design Ideas for Your Home)

Consider how to draw natural light into your stairwell. A large window running alongside the stairs, a roof lantern or rooflights in the ceiling above, or even a glass balustrade that allows light to flow from one floor to another all work.

Choosing Timber for Your Staircase Design

Wood makes a fantastic staircase material as it is so versatile in the looks you can create. Wooden staircases for traditional homes should be quite substantial, with rounded stair nosing, turned balusters and carved newel posts. Contemporary timber staircases often consist of nothing more than chunky wooden treads that cantilever out from a wall.

Pros: Wood is strong, versatile, easy to work with and has a timeless look.
Cons: Very few, hence it being such a popular material. Though dark and heavy wood can be overbearing when used for such a central feature.

Costs: The cheapest option is engineered pine or plywood — ideal for a fully carpeted staircase and painted balustrading. These can be bought from around £500. Next up is parana pine, readily available and fairly cost-effective. This is often combined with hemlock, a good choice for balustrading due to its stability.

Hardwoods, such as beech, ash and oak, are more expensive, varying from two times the cost of softwood up to five times the cost.

Glass and Acrylic Staircase Designs

Not only do glass staircases allow light to flow easily both between rooms and levels in a house, but they also add a touch of contemporary glamour.

Pros: It’s strong, being made up of two or three layers laminated together. Perfect for contemporary interiors.
Cons: Acrylic can be prone to surface scratches and as a flammable material cannot be used for staircases that will be fire escape routes.

Costs: They rarely come cheap, particularly if buying from specialists. The key to a low-cost yet striking staircase is to combine materials and be clever when choosing your supplier.

Having a local glassworks make panels for your balustrading before combining them with a softwood staircase made by a joiner, for example, will work out to be cheaper than going to a specialist.

Metal Staircases

Metal staircases have now made the transition from being seen as purely industrial features, to the home. They are less heavy in their appearance than timber.

Pros: Perfect for spiral or straight flights, they look great paired with glass balustrades or even wire mesh or tension wires
Cons: Badly designed metal staircases can look overly industrial
Costs: Components can now be bought off the shelf, with full timber and metal staircases coming to as little as £500-600

Stone and Concrete Staircases

Stone or concrete staircases can be traditional – think grand sweeping stone flights – or contemporary in the form of industrial-style simplicity. Concrete stairs are usually supplied precast in sections to be assembled on site.

Pros: The perfect way to create a sense of solidity
Cons: Expensive. May have to wait a while for them to be made
Costs: Variable. They can be expensive, starting at around £10,000. An alternative is to clad existing stairs with stone panels

I’ve see a design, but where to get it from?

More often than not, people spot a staircase they the look of and wonder where to get one it. Unfortunately it is not as simple as walking into a staircase shop and pointing to the one you want.

It is often the case that the striking staircases that grace the pages of this magazine have been custom-made rather than bought off the shelf, designed by the house designer or architect, or sometimes by the owners themselves. However, there are specialist staircase companies out there who will also design and make a staircase.

But I have a small budget…

Those aiming to stick to a budget are well advised to ask a local joiner – or the joiner already working on their project – to help them with a design.

Once you have a design it is entirely possible to buy a staircase from a DIY warehouse or timber merchant – assuming the sizes you require are fairly standard – and then customise it yourself with the addition of, say, a more decorative handrail or even a runner.

Anatomy of a Staircase

1. Handrail; 2. Newel; 3. Baluster; 4. String capping; 5. Nosing; 6. Closed string; 7. Cut string; 8. Carriage; 9. Tread; 10. Riser

Going The horizontal distance between one step and the next, measured from the nosing to the nosing. Building Regs specify a minimum distance of 220mm to a maximum of 300mm.

Nosing The edge of the tread which projects beyond the riser.

Rise The vertical distance from the top of the tread to the top of the next one. Building Regs specify a minimum distance of 150mm to a maximum of 220mm. The total rise is the vertical distance from the floor to the floor of the level above.

Riser The board that forms the face of the step.

Tread The top section of an individual step on which you walk.

Balustrading Describes the combination of the spindles, handrail and newel posts on a staircase. Often it is these elements which give the staircase its character — they can transform an off-the-shelf flight into something special. Timber, glass, metal and even stud walls can all form balustrading.

H&R often gets asked how some homeowners seemingly get away without having balustrades. The simple answer is, we might occasionally photograph a house before it gets a completion certificate. We emphasise that staircases are one area where you should never compromise on safety.


How to Have Stairs Instead of a Ladder in your Tiny House

Stairs in a private house - the device and problems | With Your Hands - How To Make Yourself

Most tiny houses builders make the most of the space they have available to them by incorporating a loft into their build. The loft area is then used as a bedroom, and it's usually accessed via a ladder. This all makes space-saving sense.

But I receive a lot of questions from people who don't want to use a ladder in their tiny house.

For some people, in particular older people and those with limited mobility, using a ladder would be impossible and it would be preferable to have stairs instead of a ladder.

For others, it's simply a case of preference.  If you're going to put time and money into building your own home, you want it to be as close to perfect as possible. If you're not comfortable climbing ladders, you're not going to enjoy living in your tiny house, and the whole experience will be a waste of time.

So, what alternatives are there to the loft and ladder combination? I've scoured the internet, looking for clever, efficient, and quirky solutions to this dilemma, and it would seem that the range of stairs designs out there is pretty impressive. If you're anti-ladders, take a look and see if any of these designs could work for you!


Stairs are the obvious replacement for ladders, since they're much easier to climb. However, they do come with a number of limitations. If you go for stairs, remember to take headroom, dormers, and extra weight into account when you designing your house.

Now let's get to the inspiration!

Gradual Steps to the Side

This gorgeous Airbnb tiny house has two lofts and provides a ladder to get to one and a gradual staircase to get to the other. The staircase isn't at all steep, it's the way at the side of the house, and it even includes a bit of storage space.

Music City's Tiny House

A Short Staircase

This Cape Cod Molecule tiny house includes a staircase that doesn't quite reach all the way up to the loft area. It doesn't take up much space at all, though it does look slightly steeper than the staircase in the previous picture.

Cape Cod

A Staircase with Bookshelves

This McG Loft by Humble Homes includes a staircase that twists to the side as it reaches the loft. The steps also double up as bookshelves.

The McG Loft

A Skinny Staircase

This tiny house staircase takes up much less volume than most of the other tiny house staircases you'll come across. It may be slightly harder to climb than a bigger staircase, but if space is important to you, this option could be a good compromise.

Oakland Tiny House

The Kitchen Under the Stairs

If you don't mind having some funky-shaped cupboards, why not integrate a staircase into another part of your tiny house, such as the kitchen?

Tiny House Ontario

A Full Staircase with Carpet

If you're tempted to install a staircase, why not go all the way and get it carpeted too? You could position it at the side of your house or even in the middle.

Rich’s Portable Cabins

Super Compact Steps

If you're really tight on space and mobility isn't a problem, this winding staircase might be for you. It hardly takes up any space and it almost looks a sculpture!

Tiny House, Charlton (photo by Paul Connors)

Double Staircase

If you have two lofts, you could go all out and include two staircases in your tiny house! If mobility is an issue for you and you do need that extra loft space, this could be the solution for you.

Lilypad Tiny House (photo by Shawn Linehan)

Tansu Steps

Tansu steps are basically storage box stairs. Storage space can be hard to fit into tiny houses, so if you can use your stairs as storage space, you'll be killing two birds with one stone. You might also be able to hide your water tank using this approach.

For more information on how to build box stairs, see this tutorial by Tiny House Living or this one by DIY House Building. Alternatively, you can even buy some pull-out box stairs from Four Lights.

Lucy, DIY House Building

No Loft

Alternatively, if you don't the idea of having a loft in your tiny house, you could forgo both the ladder and the stairs, and instead find another place to put your bed. Here are a few ideas.

A Murphy Bed

A Murphy bed (otherwise known as a pull-down bed, a wall bed, or a fold-down bed) is one that hides in a cupboard in the wall during the daytime, and that you pull out at bedtime. This option is perfect if you want to sleep downstairs but aren't willing to lose the space needed for a bed.

Tennessee Tiny Homes

A Bed Under a Loft

If you want to be able to roll into bed without climbing a ladder or some stairs, but you don't mind going upstairs for other activities, consider installing a bed under a loft. Although this example is of a bed in a converted bus, it might give you some ideas.

Mira Thompson's School Bus Conversion

A Side-Out Bed

Again, if you want a downstairs bed but you don't want it taking up room, build a raised platform into one end of your house, and hide a pull-out bed underneath it. The stairs to the platform can double up as storage space, as in this example.

Tiny Studio

Fold-Away Bunk Beds

Continuing with the fold-out theme, you could also install some fold-out bunk beds. Of course, whoever takes the top bunk will need to climb up a ladder to get there, but at least one of you will get a rest!

Fold Away Bunk Beds

A Gooseneck Split-Level Bed

If you build your tiny house on a gooseneck trailer, you could build your bedroom into the space above the hitch. Then you'd just need to add in a few steps or stairs or boxes to help you reach your bed.

Macy Miller

A Downstairs Bedroom

Perhaps the simplest option would be to create a downstairs bedroom. Obviously this would take up some space, but you'd gain some privacy.

BRV1 and BRV2 by Humble Homes

A Bed Area

If you the idea of having your bed downstairs but want to keep things simple, why not just put your mattress down and create a “bed area.” Again, this wouldn't be the best option for those with mobility issues, but otherwise it could be a pretty simple solution.

Peter W. Gilroy

A Futon or Folding Couch

Another simple solution, the futon or fold-out couch, saves space during the daytime and is really easy to set up when it's time to turn the lights out.

Tiny Retirement

What Do You Think?

Have any of these options inspired you to ditch the ladder for stairs? Which design do you think would work best for you?



Stairs in a private house - the device and problems | With Your Hands - How To Make Yourself

Many stair design variations are possible. Stair layout for rise and run needs to be calculated with consideration to the stair tread that best suits your application.

Determine Stair Riser Locations

Determine stair riser locations

Good compaction is required

Once the number of steps has been determined and the type of stair tread has been selected, excavate the stair location the rise and run.

  • Mark the center of the stairway where the base stair riser will be placed. In this example the first stair riser is the continuation of the base course of the retaining wall that the stairs are being built into.
  • Each stair riser will need a minimum of 6 in. (150 mm) of base material under it that extends a minimum of 6 in. (150 mm) behind the retaining wall block.
  • Make adjustments as needed so that the first riser is not more than 8 in. (200 mm) high with stair tread material and final grading in place.

Excavate the base trench and stair location

Install the drain pipe

Backfill and compact base material

Install base course of retaining wall

Add wall rock to retaining wall and compact

Excavate the Base Trench and Stair Location

  • From the base stair riser location mark the remainder of the stair risers and remove the soil to meet the base material requirements. If more soil was removed than necessary during excavation, replace it with wall rock during the building process.

    Any excavated soils that are replaced will need to be properly compacted. If organic or wet soils are present in the base trench they must be removed and replaced with granular material.

  • After the stair location has been excavated, you will prepare your base and base course just any other wall.

    How to dig a base trench to the appropriate size.

  • Compact the base trench making a minimum of two passes with a plate compactor.
  • If a drain pipe is required in your project, continue the placement of the pipe in the trench for the base course. Learn where to place the pipe.
  • Place a minimum of 6 in.

    (150 mm) of wall rock in the base trench and rake smooth.

  • Compact the wall rock making a minimum of two passes with a plate compactor.
  • Check for level, and adjust as needed. More information on basic retaining wall installation.

If drain pipe is being used on your project, continue it behind the stairs at the lowest point of elevation. Do not interrupt the drain pipe at stair locations.

Install the Base Course

Level retaining wall blocks on base

  • Place the retaining wall blocks with the raised front lip facing up and near the front of the trench.
  • Check the retaining wall blocks for level from side-to-side and front-to-back. Verify the proper position of the base course by examining a string line across the back of the blocks. Make adjustments as necessary.
  • Fill in the area in front of the blocks with on-site soils. This will keep the base course blocks from shifting while filling and compacting.

Compact the stair tread area

  • Fill the hollow cores and at least 12 in. (300 mm) behind the blocks or more to accommodate the next stair riser with wall rock.
  • Use infill or approved on-site soils to fill in any additional areas behind the wall rock. The stair tread area must be level with the top of the base course of blocks.
  • Use a plate compactor to compact the wall rock starting directly behind the block and working in a path parallel to the wall, working from the back of the block, over the stair tread area, to the back of the excavated area. Always compact in 8in. (200 mm) lifts or less.

Align first stair riser

Backfill and compact stair riser

Install next stair riser

Install retaining wall out from stairs

Backfill and compact retaining wall and stair risers

Stair riser placement

  • Measure the distance for the placement of the first stair riser making sure that the blocks are parallel with the base course in front. Place the blocks on top of the compacted stair tread area making sure to allow for 6 in. (150 mm) of wall rock behind the blocks.
  • To ensure that the blocks will be level with the corresponding wall, place a block on the wall as a reference point and level from that block to the block being used for the stair treads.
  • Level and adjust as necessary.
  • To curve the wall out from the stair location, break the wings off the backs of blocks and place them tight together, following the layout on your approved plans.
  • Fill in the area in front of the first stair riser with a small amount of wall rock. This will keep the blocks from shifting while filling and compacting.
  • Fill the hollow cores and at least 12 in. (300 mm) behind the blocks or enough to accommodate the next stair riser with wall rock.
  • Then compact and level the wall rock as previously done.

Additional stair riser placement

  • Repeat these steps for each stair riser.
  • Once all the steps are in place, install the selected stair tread material to finish your stairway.


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