Stairwell Lighting Secrets Revealed

We mined the Internet in search of lighting showrooms’ best advice for turning “up and down” into “wow.” Check out these stairwell lighting secrets.

Jennifer Pinto
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Champagne Bubbles ceiling fixture with descending bubbles from Sonneman incorporates stairwell lighting into this home— A Way of Light
Fixtures like Champagne Bubbles from Sonneman add a little extra light and a lot of unique style to otherwise dim stairwells.

Whether you’re stepping up, rushing down or brooding over the perfect comeback for an underhanded compliment, taking the stairs often means your mind is somewhere else. But as every designer knows, good lighting in the stairway looks stunning and ensures everyone passing through will make it up or down safely.

Bring the stairwell back into focus with lighting showrooms’ best online tips and tricks for how designers can make a just-passing-through space really shine. 

Rowland wall sconce by Currey & Co. in stairwell
Photo by Erica George Dines. Styled by Thea Beasly.

Stairwell lighting on the wall 

Sconces are a popular hallway lighting choice for illuminating stairs. They should be evenly spaced on the wall and can provide either up and down lighting, or both. If you are pairing a hanging fixture with a sconce, make sure they match.”

Here Currey and Company’s Rowland wall sconce and Admiral pendant forgo matchy-matchy in favor of a complementary partnership.










LED stair lights on the bottom of steps from Kichler Lighting

Stairwell lighting on the steps 

“Sometimes a contemporary or modern stairway can be especially difficult to navigate. Ebony treads, curved steps, unusually wide treads, they may be an art form but they can also be a bit scary for some people. Layering the light makes that art form of a stairway beautiful and comfortable to use. Consider lighting every step with LED lights that differentiate each step. Or consider using flush, wall-mounted, low voltage lighting near the surface of every third or fourth step.”

Madison Lighting 

These LED step lights from Kichler Lighting provide ample illumination positioned on every third step. 


Champagne Bubbles ceiling fixture with descending bubbles from Sonneman — A Way of Light

Stairwell lighting on the ceiling

“Stairs should be lighted from top to bottom to prevent accidents with switches at both ends for convenience. If hall and foyer fixtures do not illuminate the entire stairway, you can install a chain-hung or close-to-ceiling fixture above the top step.”

Bright Ideas

Fixtures like Champagne Bubbles from Sonneman add a little extra light and a lot of unique style to otherwise dim stairwells. 





Designers, what are your stairwell lighting hang-ups? Share with us in the comments!


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