Valerie Bullock. Staircase Understairs. September 20th , 2018.
One concept for space saving stairs is to keep the stair flight straight so as to minimize the space they take up. In general, this is quite true. Stairs that have turns in them and unnecessary landings as the stairs rise do result in a lot of wasted space below and behind the stairs that you can do nothing with. The exception, however, is the spiral staircase that can look quite elegant, is easy to install, and uses the minimum of space. Detracting from this is the inability for disabled stair-lifts to be fitted - or, at least, I haven't come across one yet. It is also more of a chore to take furniture up and downstairs when the need for moving your furniture becomes apparent - as in moving house.
Spiral staircases wind around a central pole and have a handrail on the outer side only. Helical stairs do not have a central pole and there is a handrail on both sides. If a spiral staircase is being used to access a single room, it must be at least 1500mm in diameter. But if the spiral goes up to more than one room, it is classed as a main staircase and needs to be at least 1900mm. 'Bear in mind that the opening in which your spiral fits needs to be 100mm wider than the spiral itself,' says Sally Noseda, director of Oakleaf Industries. Many spiral staircases are available in kit form from about £800, but only go up to 1600mm wide. A bespoke spiral would start at £3,000. It can be difficult to get furniture up and down, so move large items in before you install the stairs.
Recoup valuable space by forgoing bedside tables. Instead, install a shelf on the wall behind the bed that can be used for bedtime reading material and an alarm clock. You can't compromise on the size of your bed, but you can try to make it work harder. Underbed boxes or beds with built-in drawers or shelves utilise the redundant area underneath. Flip-up beds also ensure space is put to good use. Remember, too, that low-level beds are less visually dominating than lofty princess-and-the-pea style ones.
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