11 Stairway Lighting Ideas for that Stunning Look

January 24, 2024
stairway chandelier

Are you that lucky one with a stairway in your home? Do you want to create a stylish and elegant look indoors that leaves your guests awestruck? Stairway lighting is the best way to transform the overall look of your interiors.

One thing that you should pay special attention to while lighting up the stairways is to strike the right balance between aesthetics and functionality. You want the stairway to look elegant and stylish yet have enough brightness to carry on with your daily activities.

What are the different types of lights used in stairways?

There are two types of lights used in stairways

●     Ambient lighting

Ambient light is the general-purpose light used to light up the entire staircase. Every staircase should have an ambient light to brighten up the whole space.

Ambient lights can be in the form of ceiling lights, track lights, recessed lights, or chandeliers.

●     Accent lighting

Accent lights are used to accentuate a particular area of the staircase. For example, if you have a painting installed in the landing area, you can use accent lighting to highlight this painting. 

In some cases, LED lights are provided along the staircase that accentuates the beauty of the entire staircase.

Stairway lighting ideas for that stunning look

1.   Stairway lighting on the sides

This is the most popular stairway lighting form you might have encountered. In this form of lighting, lights are provided on the sides of the steps along the wall. The lights focus mainly on the staircase, thus accentuating its look.

If you have beautiful carpeted stairways or if the staircase is made of stone, wood, or other such material, lighting on the sides provides a stunning look.

However, this type of staircase lighting is best suited for broad staircases with ample space. In the case of a narrow staircase, you can use recessed lights that remain flush against the ceiling.

2.   Ceiling stairway lighting

If you have a high ceiling above the stairs, you can use a statement light, chandelier, or pendant light to beautify or brighten the staircase. It is best to use large statement lights that capture attention as you climb the staircase.

3.   Multi-layered ceiling stairway lighting

Do you want to create a luxurious look in the stairways? The multi-layered ceiling light is the perfect choice.

In the case of multi-layered lighting, lights of different sizes and shapes are hung at different heights from the ceiling. The number of lights to use and their length depend on the staircase design. However, you should ensure that the type of light selected blends with the color and decor of the stairway.

4.   Cascading stairway lighting

Do you have a large and broad staircase? Do you want to create an ultra-glamorous look on the staircase? The best way to achieve this is by going for cascading light.

A cascading light is hung from the ceiling and cascades like a waterfall. Strong threads are used to hang the lights and create the cascading effect.

5.   Rustic lanterns

If an exotic look is what you want for the staircase, rustic lanterns are a good option. You can place the lanterns on alternate staircases to create a dramatic feel. However, this style may be unsafe with pets and kids at home.

Another way to incorporate rustic lanterns is by hanging them from the ceiling. You can hang lanterns on the wall if you have a long stairway with blank walls. This also creates a much-needed dramatic effect while providing enough brightness to the staircase.

6.   Lighting from below

Do you have a curved staircase going up from the living or hallway? You can accentuate its beauty by lighting it up from below.

Use wall-mounted or tiny illuminating light that focuses on the curve. You can also place lights on the foot of the steps to create a unique glow on the stairway.

Lighting from under the stairs is a great way to create a stunning look for floating stairs. The light not only brightens up the stairs but also creates a beautiful reflection under the stairs.

7.   Lighting on the stairs

What if you have a very low ceiling above the staircase? What would be the best way to light up such a staircase? It would be to embed the light on the stairs.

Embedding lights on the stairs provide enough brightness along with an elegant look. Just imagine a wooden staircase with embedded lights!! It would be the perfect setting for a warm and cozy feel.

You can get the lights embedded on the landing part or the sides of the staircase to create a unique and elegant look.

8.   Lighting on the edge of stairs

Another way to add uniqueness to stairway lighting is by providing lights on the edge of the stairs. Depending on the style you want to create, you can light up all the stairs or alternate stairs.

This type of lighting would look best on closed wooden or glass stairs. 

9.   String lights on the railing

While string lights are used mainly as festival decor, you can also use them permanently to provide a new look to the staircase.

The best way to use string lights is to wind them on the railing of the stairways. However, for safety reasons, ensure that the railing is made of wood and not metal.

10.  Recessed track lighting

Installing recessed track lighting on the walls is another great way to brighten up the staircase. You can install the track lighting horizontally, vertically or whichever way you want to create the right ambience.

Another way to install track lights is to place them along the edge of the stairs along the wall. This creates a more dramatic effect.

11.  Spotlight on niche decor piece

Do you have a niche or recessed area on the wall surrounding the staircase? Then, you can place beautiful decor items and brighten them up with spotlights.

You can install spotlights on the top and bottom walls of the niche. This provides enough brightness to not only the niche but also the staircase.

Which are the other ways to brighten up the stairways?

Without a doubt, lights play a vital role in brightening the stairways. In addition to light, there are certain other factors as well that you should consider to brighten up the stairways.

  • A coat of fresh paint, especially in white or other pastel shades, can create an illusion of space and brighten the stairway.
  • You can install a mirror on the landing that can reflect light. This again helps brighten up the staircase.
  • Installing glass panels on the side of the staircase helps light seep through and brighten the stairways.
  • Installing a skylight or a window on the landing area can brighten up the space during the day.


Are you someone who completely ignores stairway lighting? Then you are doing it wrong. Stairways, like other rooms, are also an integral part of a home. Aesthetically decorating the stairways can add a touch of class and elegance to your interior.

However, choosing the right color for stairway lighting is crucial. Instead of the plain white light, you can experiment with warm and even colored lights. Using dimmer for the lights is another way to set the right mood and create a dramatic look in the house.

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