Guest Blog by Sian Parsons, Senior Designer at John Cullen Lighting

As we’re sure you’re aware, the staircase is the central pod of your home. It links spaces and people together, giving it a very important function. It should be a practical piece of the home as well as being sculptural, with lighting being able to make a big difference to this.

When considering lighting, the design of the staircase, construction and desired effects are the key elements to consider, along with finish and texture. In most cases, lighting on staircases isn’t purely a decorative theme, it also serves a very real purpose in terms of the safety of the staircase itself and the surrounding areas. Glare should be avoided, and maintenance considered, whilst enhancing the form can add beauty and softness to the look.

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On both classic wooden stairs with runners and stone steps with iron balustrades, wall recessed stair lights can add a real wow factor. Set them higher for a wash of light, and lower in the strong for more of a skimming effect across the tread. The choice is yours for whatever effect suits your surroundings best.


Uplighting can be a more unusual way of making the most of your staircase. Floor recessed uplights have been used to wash the gentle curve of the underside of the stair and have also been set into the tread itself for a wash of uplight. This helps boost the general lighting levels and helps emphasise the textures and curves stairs can create.

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Wall lights work on traditional staircases beautifully, adding a decorative element whilst giving a good general glow of light throughout. Pendants can hang from just the upper floors, or all the way through the climb of the stair, helping illuminate each landing. More modern up/down lights help highlight the wonderful double height spaces at stair turns, whilst giving a pool of light down onto the step for safety.

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It’s worth considering pendants with multiple hanging heights, as they cascade through the winding staircase, this helps mimic the sweeping lines and delicate balustrades. Discreet LED downlights can also be used to light art wonderfully, or if your art is on the stairs, miniature surface mounted spotlights can be used to illuminate them.


For open riser staircases, the light source can be hidden from view under each tread. When not illuminated, the Contour LED tape recessed into the underside of the step is invisible. However, when it is lit it creates a beautifully soft floating effect. This lights the tread below, as well as casting wonderful shadows under the staircase.

The underside of staircases are often dark forgotten spaces. Consider adding the same LED tape underneath for a glow to this usually dark space.


Contact us

If you are still wondering how best to make the most of the lights for your stairs and landing, then be sure to get in touch with the friendly and experienced team of staircase gurus at Abbott-Wade! Give us a call on 01744 634 442 or email us at You can also fill out our online enquiry form for a swift and informed response from a member of the team.

For help with lighting design and products for your staircase, visit

* Text & Images courtesy of Sian Parsons, Senior Designer at John Cullen Lighting. Additional images by Abbott-Wade.

*Please note that Abbott-Wade will not install lighting. This should be arranged by each client by a qualified electrician.

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glass and oak staircase contemporary spindles Frameless 01 Photo 28-03-2017, 15 46 29

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