The folding staircase against the wall: the perfect space saving idea

Among all the space-saving staicases, the side folding staircase is the one that best combines practicality and small space.

The side unfolding staircase
The side unfolding staircase

It is a laterally foldable staircase which, when closed, adheres to the wall, taking up a handful of centimetres of space.

Compared to the accordion retractable ladders, it is much easier to manage as, with two simple handles, it can be "unfolded" and folded back to 90°.

This type of staircase therefore has many advantages, starting with the fact that it can serve much busier rooms than a retractable ladder, which is generally only used to reach the uninhabitable attic.

The side folding staircase, on the other hand, ensures that you can go up and down from lofts and habitable attics.

Why choose a staircase that folds to the side?

There's no need to say that every house and flat has structural characteristics that, sometimes, do not allow us to install traditional staircases.

Many times we would like to install a staircase following a renovation that has made the attic habitable but which, for many reasons, does not allow us to position the staircase where we would like.

A staircase is always an encumbrance and even space-saving staircases with staggered and shaped steps can sometimes be cumbersome when their ramp occupies the space of a door opening, for example, or the space of a corridor.

Compared to space-saving staircases with staggered steps, they take up more space in length but, being retractable, they are not fixed and having a slightly longer ramp, they are safer.

Wall-mounted side folding staicases must be fixed to a load-bearing wall because it is the wall that bears their weight when closed.

When open, however, the support points are similar to those of any other staircase.

The video below eloquently shows one of the possible circumstances in which a side-hung staircase may be indispensable.


The structure of a side folding stair

Although the construction criteria may vary, the staircase that folds away towards the wall has some constant characteristics that make it unique.

In practice, one of the uprights supporting the steps is fixed to the wall, while the rest of the structure, i.e. the other upright and the steps themselves, are connected to this fixed part by means of hinges.

The opening mechanism can be to the right or left, of course.

To this 'basic' structure, a pair of pneumatic furniture jacks should be added, whose function is to keep the staircase closed when it is folded against the wall, and which allow it to be opened gently.

To this can and must be added a handrail that will be fixed to the second upright, the one not fixed to the wall.

This type of staircase can be made of a wide variety of materials, ranging from aluminium to iron and wood.

This type of staircase, at least for commercial products, can only be closed from below and not from above, for safety reasons.

Can it be done DIY?

As you can see from the video above, making a folding wall ladder is not that difficult, you just need a good design and good materials.

For DIY projects, wood is definitely the material of choice and must be combined with sturdy hinges.

The combination of the wooden parts with the metal hardware determines the load-bearing capacity of the entire structure.

Of course, there are also designer staircases that are shaped in such a way that they take up very little space when folded up against the wall.

However, if you don't have any particular aesthetic requirements, you can build your own wall-mounted staircase that is just as functional, while taking up a few extra centimetres of thickness.

And who doesn't feel like building a space-saving staircase?

Where to buy a side folding staircase

The original prototype of this type of staircase seems to have been designed a few years ago by Zev Bianchi, in Australia, for a company that now sells these very special staircases all over the world.

No prices are indicated, so in order to get an estimate it is necessary to fill in a form with the characteristics (dimensions) of the staircase and then get a personalised commercial proposal which will obviously have to take into account the shipping costs.

Here is the link to get more information:

side folding staircase against the wall

We have also found a commercial proposal for this type of staircase in Italy too, produced by the company Svelt S.P.A. of Bergamo.

The stairs are made exclusively of aluminium, weighing about 60 kg and with a load capacity of 150 kg, in two colours, black and white.

Also in this case they do not talk about prices.