How to Light Stairs at Night – 5 Brilliant Ideas You Can Try

I never really gave staircase lighting much thought until I tripped one day and twisted my ankles for good. That was the moment when I realized the importance of stair lighting.

A well-lit staircase is not only a safety requirement but with good execution, I guarantee you that it can instantly add a “wow factor” to your staircase and hallway space.


As someone who just successfully finished her stair lighting project, I believe I am qualified to help you choose the perfect stair lighting for your home improvement project.

In this article, I’m going to mention the best ways to light up a staircase based on my experience. Bear with me.

Here Are 5 Best Ways to Light up Your Staircase

1. Wall-recessed Lights

You can’t go with sleek and stylish wall-recessed stair lights because they don’t really interfere with the rest of the decor of the hallway. 

Wall-recessed Lights Stair lighting

Hook up the lights a little higher for a wash of light effect and closer to the surface for a skimming effect. I would personally suggest the low-level lighting if safety is your primary concern. 

You can pair up wall-mounted recessed lights with a beautiful pendant or a grand chandelier light if you are lucky enough to have a hallway with a high ceiling. 

2. Lighting Strips on the Stair Treads


Another effective way to illuminate a dark staircase is attaching LED strip lights on the underside/nose of the individual stair treads. By recessing the LED strips into the nose, you will be creating a soft floating effect and at the same time, be avoiding glare. 

If your staircase design doesn’t allow you to attach the strips underneath the treads, you can get creative by sticking the lights right at the base of every step or along the railing. 

3. Stair Uplights


With flush-mounted stair lights facing upwards, you can cast a gentle wash light on the steps and add an element of texture to your modern staircase. 

Sculptural staircases often have uplights installed below the treads to highlight the soft curves of the staircase. Alternatively, you can place the uplights on the staircase wall to elevate your stair design. 

4. Wall Lights


Wall lights are unarguably the easiest and most affordable lighting solutions for dark staircases. They come in a wide variety, so finding a fixture that matches your décor won’t be a problem. 

Plus, unlike individual tread lights and flush-mounted stair lights, wall lights can be installed in a jiffy without any professional help. 

From modern architectural sconce to elegant up and down wall lights, there are plenty of ways to add some oomph and drama to your staircase and surrounding space. 

If you are into tech and contemporary aesthetics, look into motion sensor stair lights to create a staircase so epic, you won’t be able to stop staring at it. 

These lights come in different sizes and shapes, mounting and power options. If you don’t have a power outlet near your staircase, go for a battery-operated stair light. 

Apart from jaw-dropping aesthetics, motion sensor stair lights allow you to set a timer, and control brightness and lighting effects. What’s not to love?

5. Pendants and Chandeliers

While I personally belong to the school of thought that believes in a minimalist design with maximum impact, I can’t deny the charm of a statement pendant light or chandelier. 


If your hallway has high ceilings and your home decor budget is not as tight as mine, go ahead and make a bold statement by hanging a stylish pendant light or a chandelier to add a dash of grandeur to your interior space. 

Hanging lights are a great solution for spiral/textured staircases as they help highlight the shape of the stairs. You can also use ceiling hanging lights to create an additional layer of lighting for the stairs and hallway along with wall sconce and tread lights. 

In Conclusion

Even though I adore the grandeur and refinement of traditional stair lights, I find LED strips and recessed lights with motion sensors a much more practical option for stair lighting. 

I love the chic and refined atmosphere these lights can create. On top of that, having built-in motion sensors help avoid energy waste and cut down on utility bills. 

To sum up, if you are looking for a more traditional stair lighting solution, go with stairway sconce, or a low-hung pendant light, or a chandelier, or perhaps a combination of multiple light sources to achieve the desired look.

On the other hand, those on the lookout for a more contemporary approach should look into intelligent motion sensor LED strips, track lights, and recessed lights. Hope this helps.

About Annabelle B. Malcolm

Howdy, readers. This is Annabelle B. Malcolm and I’m a content curator. Don’t tell anyone but I low-key take pride in having a treasure of random knowledge. I co-manage this website with my husband Jamie who is a lighting technician by profession. The idea for this website stemmed out of boredom. Out of nowhere really, Jamie came up with the idea of having a website and since he is an authority on lighting fixtures, we decided to play to our strengths.

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