How to Draw Elliptical Stairs

Written by michelle barry | 13/05/2017
How to Draw Elliptical Stairs
Elliptical staircases have character in their shape and design. (stair image by Dave from

Elliptical stairs are custom stairs that wind around in a circular motions and sweep into the room with an elegance and grandeur. The difference between a circle and an ellipse is that a circle has a constant and consistent radius while an ellipse does not. This applies to elliptical stairs, which wind around in varying dimensions. An elliptical staircase, for example, can go from a wide circle to a tight circle and back out to a wide circle.

Draw the innermost arc of the stairs' inner curve. This should not be an even half circle but more so a half spiral.

Draw a mimicking half spiral above it to represent the top of the side of the stairs. Draw another mimicking line above the second that will form the stair railing. While the curves will mimic each other the size of the arc should become slightly larger for each higher line. How far apart you draw the lines will depend on the scale of your stairs.

Draw in the railing bars. Start with the ones closest to you, which will be angled almost straight down. As you progress down the stairs the bars will angle slightly in toward the centre of the curve.

Draw the stairs to the left of the railing. Just as with the railing bars they will start primarily straight across but will angle slightly in as you progress down the staircase. The outer edge of each stair should start approximately a quarter of the way in from the one above it, making the bottom-most stair the smallest.

Shade the drawing so that the stairs and railing beams closest to you are the darkest and the ones farthest away are the lightest, in slow progression. This will create depth on the paper.

Add decorative touches such as a wall to the left of the stairs, patterns on the floor, knobs on the railing beams and swirls on the railing itself, if desired.

Things you need

  • Markers, crayons colour pencils or paint
  • Canvas or paper
  • Paint brush (optional)
  • Pencil

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