Wednesday, 17 August 2011

Making A Feature Out Of Your Stairs

Stairs are an important part of any building and obviously act as a way of getting from one floor to another. However, it is a mistake to believe that they only play a practical role; well planned stairs can greatly help to improve the aesthetics of a home’s interior. Here we look at a few design ideas that can help make your stairs into a fantastic feature.

Single Sided Balustrade

In most homes across the UK the bottom of the stairs will lead into the entrance or reception area of the property. One side of the stairs will usually be edged with wall, whilst the other side is edged with balustrade. Due to the close proximity of the walls and ceilings, hallway areas can often be quite dark spaces. This can give off the wrong vibe to visitors as soon as they enter your house and leave the entranceway feeling oppressive.

In the photo above we can see that whilst the kitchen is nice and bright, the stairs appear quite dingy. This is partly because of the carpet selection and also the darkness of wood used in the handrail. In order to brighten up the hallway area it is important to accentuate any natural light that is present. This can be done by choosing the right colours in your hallway decor; with whites, creams and pastels being obvious choices. In addition you should also look to add stair parts that will reflect light.

If you are looking for a painted finish for your stairs then white is often the most suitable shade. In order to avoid the hallway from looking too sterile you can add a touch of character by introducing some contrasting colour by way of dark wood handrails and newel caps.

If you prefer a natural wood finish to your stairs then it is advisable to go for lighter timber, such as white oak, ash and pine. In order to draw attention to the stairs you have the option of selecting metal parts, with a silver finish providing the most emphasis.

Double Sided Balustrade

Where houses are large enough to have an entrance area that affords sections of double sided balustrade, natural light isn’t usually a problem. If you are fortunate to have such a property then it is likely that you have an above average sized landing area and don’t have to worry too much about making best use of light. In such instances your approach should be guided by the age of the property and the overall feel you are looking for. More traditional buildings are well suited to an all wood finish.

Notice how in this photograph the ends of the handrails are rounded rather than using squared ends. This kind of detailing serves to allow the stairs to flow into the hallway area without making them appear awkward or out of place.

For Modern Properties

If you have purchased a new build or a relatively modern property then it may well be that your stairs enter into the living space of your home. Open plan designs like these are built with light in mind and you play on this through the use of glass stair parts.

The glass panels used here ensure that the contemporary ambience remains and also helps to keep the room feeling light and spacious.

Making Your Choice

Ultimately the decision on how your wish your stairs to look comes down to personal taste. Remember that stairs are a considered purchase that will last for decades; so don’t rush into your final decision. Also be sure not to let the carpet, wallpaper or paintwork that is present in the stair area influence your decision; they will all need replacing long before your stairs do and you could be left ruing your stair part selection.