Staircase ideas 

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So you're planning to revamp or replace your staircase, but where do you start? Stairs nearly always occupy the most prominent position in the home, so it's important to get the design right. A beautiful staircase can make a striking centrepiece to wow your guests, as well as serving a practical purpose.

But it's not just about looks - safety is another important issue. Many older staircases don't meet today's building regulations, so installing new stair balustrades will bring your house up to modern standards and increase its value. Whether you live in a contemporary townhouse or period cottage, we can give you some useful tips to help you choose your perfect set of stairs.

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Material matters    


Wooden stairs


First up, do you want wooden, glass or metal stair parts? Wood is a warm material that will blend in anywhere, making it extremely versatile. Timber staircases can be installed in all types of setting – whether modern, traditional or rustic. 

Wood offers a wide range of design possibilities, including shaped steps, closed or open risers and different types of handrails, newels and spindles (also called balusters). You can also install panelling to continue the cladding of the steps on the wall side if you're aiming for a traditional look, or use the same timber in a matching stair balustrade.

If you have a wooden floor, extending the same type of timber on to the staircase steps is a good way of harmonising the different levels of your home. Alternatively, you can make your stairs stand out as an attractive architectural feature by using contrasting wood.


Mix and match     


You may prefer to combine different types of timber stair parts or use them to complement other materials.

Metal makes an extremely versatile, durable staircase component, and is available in many forms. 

For a sleek contemporary banister, try chrome or brushed nickel stair spindles, connectors and newel caps twinned with a pine or oak handrail and baserail.

Gun metal connectors combined with oak spindles or glass stair panels are another popular option.

As metal balusters tend to be narrower than wooden ones, they won't block light to the same extent. This can make them a particularly good choice for small or poorly lit hallways and landings - although you may want to add extra lighting to show off your stylish new stairs!

  Fusion staircase  
  Elements stairs with metal spindles  

Steel staircase spindles shaped to give a wrought-iron appearance are becoming increasingly popular. As well as traditional designs, many contemporary variations are now on the market to provide an interesting twist.  

Metal spindles are extremely durable, easy to clean with a damp cloth and won't need painting (unless you decide to change the colour).

However, you needn't limit yourself to choosing just one type of baluster - try mixing and matching two or three different styles in an alternating sequence to create your own unique stair balustrade. 


Light and bright     


Sleek glass panels can create a striking effect when combined with wooden handrails and newel posts, bringing a touch of contemporary glamour to the stair balustrade.

Glass encourages light to flow easily through the room and between different levels, making your whole home feel more spacious. This quality makes glass stair banisters useful in restricted spaces and dark areas such as basements.

These balustrades are also ideal for split-level apartments, providing attractive access between floors without blocking out valuable natural light.

Another possibility is to use glass for the lower part of the staircase - perhaps just for a single flight up to a half landing, or for the first few steps - and conventional spindles for the rest of the stairs.

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Handrail hints

  Wall handrail  

Of course, it's not just about the look of your stairs, but the feel as well. The handrail, in particular, should feel pleasant to the touch.

Choose one that is comfortable to grasp. Excessively wide or narrow handrails can be awkward to use, and safety should always come before aesthetics - although with careful planning, you should be able to combine the two.

Pine, oak and ash are some of the most popular materials used in handrail construction. Glass and metal can be slippery, so are not recommended.

Many home owners choose to add chrome or brushed nickel end caps to a wooden handrail for a contemporary twist.   

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