Can a Door Swing Into a Stair Landing?          

Door placement is probably one of the last details you’ll consider when designing your house. However, door placement shouldn’t be overlooked. For instance, the direction of a door swing can make or break your house’s aesthetics and functionality, especially if you have stairs.

A door can swing into a stair landing if the landing is at least 3 feet (1 meter) deep. A stair landing is a platform where you can safely open and close the door. The deeper the stair landing, the more space there is for a door to swing into it.

In this article, we’ll talk about how close a door can be to a flight of stairs and under what circumstances you should have a stair landing built. We’ll also discuss some safety tips involving stairs and landings, as well as some stair landing ideas so you can fully utilize the space. Let’s begin!

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How Close to the Stairs Can a Door Be?

The minimum distance recommended between a door and the top stair is 3 feet (1 meter). This space is known as a stair landing, which provides a safe space for those who are climbing or going down the stairs.

Generally, how close a door can be to the stairs depends on where it is located and the direction it swings into. If a door swings away from the bottom of the stairs, you can have it directly in front of the final step. There’s no need for additional space, as entering the door from the bottom of the stairs would be just like stepping onto the next floor. Opening the door on your way up and closing it behind you on your way down won’t put you at risk of falling.

Factors To Consider When Constructing a Stair Landing

Stair landings are built to ensure safety. Aside from ensuring that your door isn’t too close to a stair landing, here are other important details to consider.

Adequate, Unobstructed Space

Stair landings should be clear of furniture, fixtures, or any obstacles that are tripping hazards or may present a fall risk. This ensures that you have adequate space to safely open the door on your way up or close it behind you on your way down. 

Proper Lighting

Make sure to have adequate lighting both for the stairs and the landing. The stairs’ treads and risers must be visible in the daytime and nighttime.

Consider installing a light source and switch at the landing and the bottom of the stairs. You can also opt for motion-controlled lights for more convenience. 

Check out this article for more information on residential stair code.

Suggestions for Doors Placed Near Stairs

Doors come in different shapes and sizes. You can even have one custom-built to suit your taste and staircase design. However, most people will agree that using standard-size doors is more practical since they’re more accessible. You’ll quickly find a door that fits into your doorframe.

The standard size for a door varies, depending on where the door will be placed. Below is a table to illustrate the different door types and their standard measurements:

Door TypeHeightWidthThickness
Standard Front Door80 inches (2 meters)36 inches (0.9 meters)1 3/8 inch (3.49 centimeters)
Standard Exterior Door80 inches (2 meters)36 inches (0.9 meters)1 3/4 inch (4.45 centimeters)
Standard Interior Door80 inches (2 meters)36 inches (0.9 meters)1 3/8 inch (3.49 centimeters)
Standard French Door36 inches (0.9 meters)36 inches (0.9 meters)1 3/4 inch (4.45 centimeters)

Door Swing Clearance 

A door swinging into a stair landing should never cut the landing width in half. Remember that stair landings must be at least 3 feet (1 meter) deep of free, uncluttered space. So, if you’re using a standard door that’s 36 inches (0.9 meters) wide, it will cut considerably into the area.

Your contractor, designer, and architect should be aware of the situation. Adding extra inches to your landing space would be safer to ensure that you abide by building codes and that anyone using the stairs will be safe.

Tips to Make Your Stair Landing Space More Functional

Some people are hesitant about installing a stair landing, especially near a door, since it is generally considered dead space. After all, its primary function is to provide you with a safe platform for swinging the door open or close. However, with a bit of ingenuity, you can easily convert this so-called “dead space” into a functional area.

Here are some ideas:

Add Some Storage Space

You can install shelves on both walls of the landing and use them for extra storage. The shelves can be hidden to avoid a cluttered look or exposed for easier access. 

Here are some things you can store on your stair landing:

  • Christmas decoration
  • Other seasonal home decor
  • Craft materials
  • Household tools
  • Towels
  • Bedsheets
  • Off-season clothes and shoes

Showcase Artwork and Pictures

You can use the landing walls to showcase artwork. Get my best tips on creating a gallery wall in this article.

Another option is to affix large corkboards to show off your children’s paintings and drawings. Consider installing spotlights to draw attention to each piece of art. 

You can also showcase your favorite family photos on the walls of your stair landings.

Show Off Your Favorite Plants

Cultivate your love for plants by showing off some of your favorites on shelves on your landing walls. Trailing plants with interesting leaf patterns and colors can add life to a drab space. Invest in grow lights to ensure that your plants receive adequate light to grow.

The CANAGROW Grow Light (available on is an excellent choice. It’s full-spectrum, so your plants will receive not just adequate light but the right kinds of light, too. This grow light is LED, so it won’t excessively drive up your electric bills.

Install Built-In Bookshelves

If you’re a bookworm like me, chances are you’re always running out of space for your books. A stair landing is a great area for storing and showcasing your books. Furnish the shelves with eye-catching bookends to make the area extra intriguing. 

I have a whole article on how to style your bookshelves like a pro if you decide to go this route.

Install Mirrors on the Walls

You can install large, ornate mirrors on the walls of your stair landing to create the illusion of space. They allow you to take quick peeks at your reflection, too. You can also get your creative juices flowing by designing your own mirror mosaic.

Here are my top mirror recommendations and suggestions for how to style them.

Decorate With Tile Mosaic

Put those extra tiles (even the damaged ones) hiding in the deepest recesses of your cabinets to good use by designing a tile mosaic. Mix and match various colors, designs, and textures to help make your stair landing walls more attractive. 

Create a Cozy Reading Nook

If your landing is big enough, consider converting it into a reading nook. You can even have a bay window or alcove built. Soft cushions, pillows, and a good lamp will complete the look. Remember that a stair landing must have at least 36 inches of clear, unobstructed space. 

Read all about how I created a reading nook for my kids to get some ideas for yours!

And that wraps it up for this one. If you want more interesting articles, check out this one uncovering why door knobs are low in older houses.

Final Thoughts

Whenever a door swings into the stairs, a landing is required to allow people to safely open and close the door without risking tumbling down. This safe platform should be at least 3 feet (1 meter) deep. A landing is not essential if the door opens away from the stairs.

Stairs are tricky to design, with many regulations to help ensure their safety and functionality. Add doors to the equation, and you’ll find yourself in a spot where you must always choose safety over practicality.