Which Tiny Home Stairs Are The Best Fit For Your Space?

Selecting the best stairs for a tiny home involves a balance between functionality and style. Tiny house design often requires innovative solutions to make the most of the limited space, and the choice of stairs is no exception.

Stairs in a tiny home need to be compact yet comfortable, safe, and ideally serve more than one purpose. They're not just a means to get from one level to another; they can offer additional storage, act as furniture, or even visually enhance the interior design.

NB: Have a look here for some really cool external stairs and/or landing ideas.

There are many different types of stairs for tiny house and/or prefab style homes.

The best tiny house stairs are those that reflect the owner's lifestyle and the home's overall aesthetic. Whether it's a traditional staircase with built-in storage or a minimalist set of stairs that double as a bookshelf, the design needs to be tailored to the space.

For some, a ladder might suffice, offering a space-saving solution that can be moved aside when not in use, while others may opt for stairs with wider treads for added comfort and ease of ascent.

Safety is also a crucial factor in tiny house stair design. Uniform step height is recommended to prevent tripping, with each step ideally being the same height. The stairs must be constructed with precision and care, adhering to proper measurements to ensure they are functional and secure.

Assessing Your Space and Needs

Some tiny house loft ladders can be slid aside when not in use.

When planning stairs in a tiny home, homeowners should consider both the available space and their living and storage needs. Proper assessment ensures the staircase is functional, comfortable, and complements the small living area.

Evaluating Tiny House Dimensions

The first step in determining the best staircase for a tiny house is to measure the interior dimensions accurately. The overall height and floor plan will influence whether traditional steps, a ladder, or a more unique solution would be appropriate.

In tiny homes, especially those with lofts, precise measurements are critical to the functionality of the stair design; even a few inches can make a significant difference.

  • Floor to loft height: Commonly around 7 to 8 feet (around 2 metres)
  • Staircase footprint: Varies, but optimal use of space is necessary

Prioritizing Storage and Living Space

Tiny house staircases can be designed to double as storage space, an important consideration for maintaining an uncluttered living area. It's often a matter of deciding how much storage you need and how to incorporate storage into the stairs without compromising safety or comfort.

Key Considerations:

Storage Integration:

  • Drawers within the steps
  • Cupboards or shelves underneath the staircase

Living Space:

  • Ensure the staircase design maximizes the living area
  • Assess any impact on furniture placement or movement flow

Comparing Stairs and Ladders

Do you go with a tiny spiral staircase or a double staircase?

When optimizing space in tiny houses, choosing between stairs and ladders for loft access is a decision that impacts functionality and design.

Pros and Cons of Tiny House Stairs

Stairs offer a stable and often safer means of ascending to lofts in tiny houses. Their design allows for a gentle incline that can be navigated with ease by people of all ages, and the added footprint commonly serves a dual purpose, incorporating storage into each step.

However, the space required for stairs is greater than that for ladders, which can be a significant consideration in a tiny house layout.


  • Greater stability and safety
  • Potential for integrated storage
  • Beneficial for children and the elderly


  • Larger footprint, reducing living space
  • Potentially higher costs due to complex construction

Ladders Vs. Stairs for Lofts

Ladders require less space and can be a fitting choice for tiny houses with very limited square footage. The vertical design of a loft ladder minimizes the impact on the living area, allowing more room for other essential functions and furniture.

However, ladders may be less comfortable for frequent use and can pose a challenge for some individuals, especially when descending. The design of ladders is less likely to offer additional storage or seating areas compared to stairs.


  • Space-efficient, occupying minimal living area
  • Often more cost-effective than stairs
  • Can be removed or retracted to free up space when not in use


  • Less stable and safe, especially for children and the elderly
  • No extra storage built into the design
  • Climbing up and down can be inconvenient, especially at night

Stair Design Considerations

This tiny house staircase from Hangan tiny homes includes storage space.

When selecting the perfect staircase for a tiny home, you'll want to think about blending functionality with aesthetics while keeping safety and compliance at the forefront.

Selecting Materials and Style

Materials for staircases range from classic wood to modern metal, each adding a distinct look to the tiny home. A wooden staircase can provide warmth and traditional charm, while a crisp, white staircase can contribute to a clean and bright interior.

On the other hand, spiral staircases are often chosen for their space-saving properties. However, the dimensions of the treads must remain comfortable for daily use.

Common Materials:

  • Wood: Durable and timeless
  • Metal: Sleek and contemporary
  • Glass: For a touch of modernity and lightness

Ensuring Safety for All Ages

Safety is paramount, especially for children, the elderly, and pets. The riser height should be uniform to prevent tripping, with a recommended height of around 7 inches (17 cm).

Handrails are essential, and if space allows, dual handrails provide support from both sides. Additionally, adding non-slip treads can prevent falls, making the staircase safer for all.

Safety Features:

  • Uniform riser height for predictability
  • Sturdy handrails for support
  • Non-slip treads for secure footing

Meeting Building Regulations

Adhering to building regulations is critical to ensure that staircase design is safe and legal. Regulations will specify minimums for width, riser height, and tread depth.

For instance, staircases usually require a minimum width of 36 inches (91 cm). Ensuring the staircase supports, or stringers, are structurally sound is also outlined in regulations.

Make sure to review your local building codes as they can vary by location.

Regulation Highlights:

  • Tread Depth: For comfort and safety, a common minimum is 10 inches (25 cm)
  • Stair Width: Often, codes require a minimum of 36 inches (91 cm)
  • Stringer Support: Must be strong to maintain the staircase's integrity

Innovative Storage Solutions

I'd have a loft ladder in my tiny home (but space wise I might be pushing it!)

Tiny homes are synonymous with clever design, especially when it comes to capitalizing on every square inch for storage. Staircases in these homes are not just for moving between levels; they are pivotal for adding extra storage space.

Integrating Stairs with Storage

In tiny homes, stairs can be transformed into multifunctional pieces that provide essential storage space. Storage stairs often feature drawers in each step, creating concealed storage options for items that would otherwise clutter the living area.

They can also house a closet or cabinet, effectively utilizing the vertical space. Some stairs may incorporate a pantry or shelves within their structure, allowing for an accessible storage area that is neatly tucked away from the main living space.

  • Drawers within Stairs: Pull-out drawers in each step for clothes, tools, or kitchenware
  • Shelving Units: Side stairs with open shelving for books or decorative items
  • Cabinetry: Full-height cabinets adjacent to the staircase for larger items

Multipurpose Furniture Ideas

Multipurpose furniture is another ingenious solution for tiny homes, blending functionality with space-saving. Furniture that doubles as storage reduces the need for extra pieces and keeps the home clear of clutter.

Stairs can be designed as an elegant bookshelf, creating a hidden storage space while also displaying a collection of literature. Beneath the staircase, one can install a kitchen cabinet that provides a convenient place for kitchen necessities without taking additional floor space.

  • Platform Beds with Storage: Beds raised with ample storage drawers or spaces beneath
  • Staircase Bookshelves: Staircases with incorporated bookshelves
  • Hidden Storage Compartments: Secret compartments in furniture for valuable items

DIY Tiny House Stairs

A colourful tiny house staircase can add some sparkle to tiny living spaces.

Designing and constructing your own tiny house stairs can be a satisfying project that adds a personal touch to your small living space. It's important to get the measurements right and choose the right materials and tools to ensure functionality and style.

Building Your Own Staircase

One first needs to measure the height, length, and depth where the staircase will fit. Staircases in tiny homes often serve multiple purposes, such as incorporating stair storage for things like cleaning supplies.

Utilizing boxes as steps is an innovative way to achieve this. Each stair step height needs to be equal to prevent tripping; the average stair step is 7 inches (17 cm) high.

For a staircase that is 7 feet (2.1 m) tall, one might opt for 12 steps, each being 7 inches tall, conforming to the formula: height x step height = total staircase height.

To construct stairs with storage, builders typically create individual boxes corresponding to each step and arrange them to form the staircase. These boxes not only serve as steps but also as drawers or cubbies, making them a stair storage solution.

Some storage options to consider if you plan to build tiny house stairs.

Woodworking and Hardware Tips

For those with woodworking experience, building stairs can be a rewarding challenge. Choose lumber that is both durable and visually appealing, as it will be a central feature of your tiny home. Ensure all pieces are precisely cut and assembled with care.

Here is a list of materials and tools commonly used in DIY stair building:

  • Lumber: Treads and risers
  • Screws and nails: For assembly
  • Saw: For cutting wood to desired size
  • Screwdriver or drill: For assembling boxes and steps
  • Sandpaper or sander: For smoothing rough edges
  • Wood glue: Optional for additional bonding strength
  • Measuring tape: For accurate measurements

It is essential to ensure that each tread is wide enough to walk comfortably, generally around 10 inches (25 cm). Hardware like brackets and stringers provide additional support for the stair treads and overall structure.

Regular maintenance like tightening loose screws and occasional sanding will keep the stairs safe and looking their best.

Frequently Asked Questions

To save space think about the way you want to use your tiny stairs.

When choosing stairs for a tiny home, you need to consider not only the aesthetic appeal but also functionality and safety. This section answers common questions regarding the design and implementation of stairs in small living spaces.

What are some creative tiny house stair designs that maximize space?

Creative tiny house stair designs often feature slim profiles and multifunctional elements. They can double as storage or fold away when not in use. Alternating tread stairs and bookshelf stairs are popular choices that combine practicality with style.

How can I incorporate storage into my tiny house stairs?

Storage can be incorporated into tiny house stairs by turning each step into a drawer or a compartment accessible from the side or the top. Some designs also allow for the space underneath the staircase to be used as a closet or shelving area.

What is the ideal width for stairs in a tiny home to ensure safety and comfort?

The ideal width for tiny home stairs is typically between 20 to 25 inches. This width ensures there is adequate space for foot traffic while also complying with safety standards and maintaining comfort during use.

What kinds of staircases are particularly suitable for small living spaces?

Spiral staircases, alternating tread stairs, and foldable stairs are suitable for small living spaces, providing safe and convenient access to lofts or second levels without occupying too much floor space.

What are the recommended dimensions for tiny house stairs leading to a loft?

For tiny house stairs leading to a loft, each step should ideally have a rise (height) of 7 inches and a run (depth) of at least 10 inches to ensure safety and comfort. The staircase should be designed to fit the specific dimensions of the space.

How do retractable stairs work in tiny homes, and are they a practical solution?

Retractable stairs in tiny homes work by sliding or folding away when not in use, often using a mechanical system or hinges. They are a practical solution for those who want to preserve space and prefer an unobstructed living area when the stairs are not needed.

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