How Close Can Stairs Be To The Front Door?

If you watch a classic 90s movie, there's probably at least one scene featuring characters chatting on stairs outside a home. It was a 90s thing. Did you ever notice how much space those stair landings had? If you're designing a new home, you might be wondering how close your home's stairs can be to a front door. A little bit of online research had a lot to say about the matter.

When it comes to national building codes, you need to have a minimum of 36 inches (or three feet) from the bottom of your stairs to your front door. However, most people prefer to have four to eight feet at a bare minimum when it comes to personal preference. Individual municipal codes may require more space as well. 

A home designed with stairs that don't have the proper clearance is not a home you can live in legally. You will need to get it fixed. So, if you want to avoid expensive repair bills, it's time to read up on the local laws. 

Interior staircase beside a wooden entrance door to a house, How Close Can Stairs Be To The Front Door?

Where Should Stairs Be Located In A Home?

There are so many different schools of thought on this topic, so it all happens to deal with what you personally want. Traditionally, stairs should be located next to the foyer or near the entryway of your house. However, traditions are changing. It's possible to put stairs anywhere you feel like having them or anywhere that personally makes sense to you. 

You will have to have a small landing between the two in terms of the proximity between stairs and doors.  This prevents accidents from happening and can also help make your home look more open. That's why you shouldn't have stairs directly in front of your front door and why you need at least three feet of space for a door to be installed near the stairs.

How Much Of A Landing Do You Need To Feel Comfortable?

Comfort-wise, the distance you allow yourself between the stairs and the front door can be more subjective. Some evidence suggests that it could even be a regional preference. However, most people in the United States seem to enjoy having at least eight to nine feet of clearance between the stairs and a front door.

This amount of space is enough to give you a place to stretch, take off your shoes, and shake off the cold. The more landing you have, the more open your home's layout will feel. 

Why Are Stairs So Common Near The Front Door?

It may be a little strange to see so many homes with similar layouts, but there's a method to the madness here. This tradition took hold for so long because this layout would allow your stairs to end in the middle of the second floor. This made it easier for rooms to have two exits: windows and the stairs down below. It's a fire safety measure.

Is It Bad Luck To Have Stairs Facing The Front Door?

There are no superstitions that suggest that having stairs facing the front door will lead to tragedy. With that said, there are several superstitions that toe the line. 

  • Feng shui suggests that having stairs that face directly to the front door will make your chi energy rush up the stairs, leaving the main portion of your home without adequate energy flow. While this does hint at bad luck, it doesn't hold a full grip on your luck balance in your home. 
  • If you believe in Vaastu traditions, stairs should only be placed in the South and West portions of your home. They also should start North and go South, or start East and go West.
  • Do not place a mirror at the end of your stairs, as this will reflect energy back and out the door. 

Entryway And Stairs Ideas

Obviously, most homes that are now being built will have stairs somewhere near the entryway. Knowing that it's a good idea to have a couple of ideas on how you can jazz up your stairway and make your entryway flow well. These ideas below are great for jogging your imagination.

Farmhouse Chic

The easiest way to add a certain level of classy country flair is to employ weathered wood items. In this case, we see the weathered look in a bench and most of the other things you should add to a small entryway. When accented with white pillows and antique glassware, it looks downright cozy.

Homeowners who have a lot of weathered items should strongly consider the farmhouse chic look. It's the easiest way to add a homey touch that still keeps things classy. 

Wide Open Spaces

Wide-open spaces are always welcome, but here, they took it to a minimalist look. You don't really see furniture here, which makes you focus more on the home's architecture. While this might not be the most realistic look, it definitely highlights how good architecture can often carry a room's ambiance on its own. 

If you have a truly elegant house architecture, don't be afraid to showcase it when you're putting together your entryway. Sometimes, that can make more of a statement than any throw pillow would. 

Black And White

When in doubt, you can always trust a black and white entryway theme to give your home an air of class. The white opens up this entryway, while the black paint accents on the stairs and dark furniture help bring a classy contrast. The wrought iron lamp accents are icing on the proverbial cake here. Classy? You betcha.

Nautical Now

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Stunning two story entry foyer with marble mosaic tile and nautical star

When people think of nautical homes, they usually think of blue and white color themes. This entryway idea has a different take on it, not just because of the open architecture. The owners of this home added artwork to their floor through the use of a tiled nautical star. To further twist this theme, they departed from blues and stuck to a neutral color scheme. It's daring yet elegant.

Antique And Artsy

Carpeted stairs in suburban home with wooden handrails

Another common way to dress up an entryway and stairs combo is to use antique accents to add color and warmth. Here, we see an antique-style carpet runner on the stairs paired with a red Persian carpet. It doesn't overwhelm, but it does still give your home personality. Fans of old home looks might find this appealing. 

New York Loft Style

If you're lucky enough to have an industrial loft-style building, then you probably might struggle a little bit when it comes to decor. Thankfully, you can channel the Brooklyn artist vibe through the use of crisp metals, thin straight lines, and hyper-modern furniture. Wood, leather, and carpeting are all used to create that ambiance here, and it looks amazing. 

Spice It Up!

In our current era of interior design, it's oh, so easy to feel like you're drowning in a sea of neutral colors. Of course, nothing is saying that you need to have a neutral-only home. If you want to spice up your entryway, you can absolutely use potted plants, exotic decorative accents, and varied textures. 

This awesome example of a bohemian landing illustrates how you can use splashes of color to create a unique landing that will make most people marvel at its use. The murals on the wall only add more to the subtle hippie vibes of the entire home. 

Full Boho

If you're looking for a bold, daring, and wild take on an entryway with stairs, look no further than this remarkable example. Here, we see a bold purple balanced out with neutral-hued accents, supplemented with bright throw pillows and accents. The takeaway here? Play with textures, and don't be afraid of a little plant life.


While there may be a couple of superstitions when it comes to the exact location of your stairs and your entryway, no solid laws are telling you that you have to have your stairs a certain way. As long as you have at least three feet of clearance from the front door to the bottom of the stairs, you should be able to build your home the way you want to.

Of course, building those stairs is only half the battle. To truly maximize the amount of use and aesthetic you have in your entryway, it's best to get inspiration for your home's look. Whether it's a little bohemian, more modern, or a French country look doesn't matter. What does matter is that your entryway looks good and makes your heart sing!

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