Staircase lighting: avoid misstep

Staircase lighting gives a certain atmosphere and above all offers enhanced security . The risk of an accident on the stairs is often underestimated, when there is no doubt that it is a risk to be taken seriously.

It is of course impossible to completely eliminate any risk of accident, but it is possible to install sufficient lighting in the stairs to improve the visibility of the steps and give a good impression of their depth and size.

Of course, beautiful lighting can also highlight the stairs . Lighting placed below the steps will create an original effect and transform the simplest stairs into an elegant interior element adding a harmonious note.

What is perfect lighting for stairs?

It is essential to avoid too much darkness as well as too much light.

The golden mean is sufficiently bright staircase lighting, which does not dazzle or cast deceptive shadows due to incorrectly positioned lamps.

You must be able to clearly see the steps in order to avoid stepping in the wrong place when descending the stairs.

The start and end of the stairs should also be clearly demarcated . To properly illuminate stairs, we can use the general lighting of a room and combine it with a marking light, more precise, for good visibility and structure of the stairs.

What does a perfectly visible step look like?

The combination of shadow and light creates an effect of structure. When the light falls on the stairs at an angle from above, shadows appear in the corners . The latter clearly highlight the steps , even those of the same color, and above all make it possible to clearly recognize their edge.

In addition to good lighting, the visibility of the steps can be enhanced by installing baseboards . Direct directional light is essential to properly illuminate stairs.


Diffuse and indirect light , that is to say a light which is only reflected on the staircase steps, does not make it possible to distinguish the steps sufficiently from one another.

The critical factor is unambiguous in solid color stairs outdoors: if the day is cloudy, the light is diffused. The shadows are then much less visible, so that if you look at the stairs from above without paying much attention, the steps do not stand out from each other, to the point, in extreme cases, that they look like a handrail. smooth.

A staircase lit by a simple diffused light is therefore very dangerous, because the shadows are not clear enough.

Properly illuminate steps and stairs, what should you pay attention to?

The difference between the stairs shown from above is obvious: the end (1) and the beginning (2) of the steps of the left staircase have a plinth clearly demarcating their edge.

Other plinths (3) mark the end of each step so that each is clearly separated from the other when viewed from above.

Most importantly, the steps themselves are clearly defined by a smooth transition between light and shadow (4) , without the shadow areas being too dark, which would make the floor difficult to see.

On the right staircase, unlit areas (5) camouflage the steps – thus presenting a very high risk of accident.

The shadows pronounced (6) can also divert. Too much lighting without plinths (7) also makes it difficult to distinguish the different steps. And too diffused light (8) illuminates all the steps in the same way, so that we lose all notion of the size of the steps.

How to light up your staircase while embellishing it?

When choosing the right lamps and luminaires for the staircase, there are many options available to ensure increased safety on the stairs through lighting.

Staircase lighting by ceiling lights, pendant lights and wall applications

One of the various possibilities to illuminate the stairs in an elegant and secure way is to use ceiling lights , pendant lights and wall lights . A ceiling light or a pendant light can illuminate the stairs in a uniform and sufficiently bright way.

However, it may happen that when a person goes up the stairs, they cast a marked shadow, which happens when the light comes only from above at an angle.

If this prevents a good view of the stairs, it will be necessary to supplement the lighting with additional light sources . This is where wall lights can be appreciated!

It is also possible to illuminate the stairs with only wall lights.

Efficient lighting of steps thanks to recessed wall lights

To clearly emphasize the structure of the steps, the sconces and recessed spotlights can be installed along the staircase .

It is not absolutely necessary to install lighting next to each step to provide good lighting.

Steps can also be illuminated by installing several recessed wall lights at intervals of several steps just above the level of the stairs, that is to say at about ankle height.

A good structure of the stairs is thus obtained by an effect of shadow and light.

Another advantage: as the recessed wall light is integrated into the wall and does not overflow, there is no risk of bumping into the lamp. Recessed spotlights and wall lights are all the more practical for lighting a spiral staircase, very narrow or even low ceiling.

Even more comfortable, staircase lighting thanks to a motion detector

If the staircase lighting is connected to a motion detector (or if living room luminaires with integrated motion detectors are used), greater safety and comfort are provided.

Indeed, it prevents that one does not turn off the light of the staircase inadvertently (for example if one thinks of having to go upstairs only once) or that one leaves it off for comfort ( because your hands are full and you don’t want to bother turning on the switch).

A motion detector automatically turns the light on when needed and automatically turns it off when it is no longer needed, just set the desired lighting duration.

In addition to comfort and safety, staircase lighting with motion detectors saves more energy, as the light is only switched on when needed and then switched off automatically. It also extends the life of the lamps.

Tip: only use motion detectors with lamps that immediately emit 100% of the brightness . This is for example the case of LED lamps and bulbs. Slowly lit light sources, like most energy saving lamps, are not suitable for motion detectors.

What if we played originality by using LED strips and ribbons?

In addition to enhancing security, good lighting is also a great way to enhance your interior.

The LED strips offer unique opportunities. These are adhesive tapes with fixed LEDs. Thanks to their flexibility and flexibility, the bands can be mounted almost anywhere effortlessly . Available in various lengths ranging from one meter to several meters, they can also be cut flexibly to suit needs and architecture.


With the LED strips at the bottom of the step, the following effect occurs: soft light and a shadow cascade ensure perfect visibility of the staircase structure – and highlight the interior in an original way!

The little extra of LED strips and ribbons? The different colors available, for an even more personalized interior!


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