Last Updated on December 8, 2019 by Gino Borghese
If you’re lucky enough to have a spiral staircase in your home, there are lots of exciting ways to make it stand out and become a real statement of your décor. They are both practical and space-saving, and the architectural design is thought to date back several thousands of years.
A spiral staircase rises around a central axis so that every few steps will turn up to 360 degrees. Such staircases are classified according to the material they are made from, the type of spiral involved, and the number of turns completed on each journey up or down. A spiral can consist of a helical, spiral, double spiral or double helix form. They offer the perfect location for a delightful hanging chandelier. Find out more about bespoke chandeliers London.
Their popularity grew during the Medieval period and originally used as a defence mechanism, particularly in royal castles. Most spiral staircases are anti-clockwise, and this is no mistake. It was designed to be a disadvantage to right-handed swordsmen running up the stairs in an attack. The narrow nature of most of the Medieval staircases also meant only one person at a time could ascend. Often the steps were purposely constructed to be uneven to make any potential attackers stumble. All this could mean the difference between survival and escape or death for the castle’s inhabitants.
As the threat of marauding invaders lessened, spiral staircases became more of a symbol of stature, position and wealth in large homes. Mansions and palaces across the world sought to install these grand stairs, and it remains a popular architectural feature to this day.
Whilst we no longer need spiral staircases for defence, they are enjoyed by many for their aesthetic and space-saving properties. Most examples are custom-built for the space and tailored to the exact needs of the building. They are also much more accessible now as the costs of materials involved and new technology for designing and manufacturing mean they are no longer just for the rich and famous.
Early spiral staircases were made from stone or marble as the most durable material available. They were often built into the walls in the original construction of the building and weren’t very aesthetically pleasing. Some were crafted out of a large block of stone while others would have been crafted step-by-step. Nowadays, they can be constructed of all kinds of materials, including steel, marble, wood, glass and diamond plate.
Developments in the last century introduced the spiral staircase in kit form. Coming in separate steel sections, the staircase is simply bolted together and then into position. This resulted in the staircase being quicker and cheaper to install than ever before. Bespoke designs have since become increasingly popular, with staircases made to fit each individual home’s shape and style perfectly.
A spiral staircase is the perfect place to show off your artwork, hang a dazzling light fixture and create an impressive focal point in your home. If you already have one of these unique structural features, don’t neglect it but show it off in all its glory.