How to spruce up your staircase

Cassie Pryce

Make a good first impression by giving your staircase a stylish update and transforming it into a welcoming focal point

A new look

Changing the bannisters is a fairly straightforward way to give your staircase a refresh, without re-fitting the entire structure. Unsightly spindles can make your hallway feel tired and dated, while a boxed-in staircase can cause the space to appear dark and claustrophobic.

Replacing the existing bannister structure with clear or frosted glass panels, for example, can help light to filter through the house, creating an instantly lighter and brighter entrance hall. This modern finish is best suited to contemporary style houses.

If you live in a period property, however, reinstating traditional spindles can be a wonderful way of rekindling the house’s former glory, where the original features might have been ripped out by 70s or 80s renovations. Look for ornately carved spindles to suit a Victorian-inspired style and, depending on your structure, you might want to consider replacing the newel posts and handrails too for a coordinating finish.

Grey Bardolino and glass staircase. Bespoke staircases start from £2,000 + VAT, Neville Johnson

 

Make a colour change

If your existing spindles, handrail and newel posts are in good condition, but you want to refresh the look of the staircase, painting the woodwork is often an effective and affordable option.

You’ll need to sand and prime the surfaces before painting, which can be a fiddly and time-consuming task, so decide early on whether you want to take a DIY approach or call in the professionals.

A light-coloured paint finish on your staircase, such as white or light grey, will help to open up a dark hallway, or you might want to go for a bolder, dark paint colour to embrace a cosier look. Be sure to opt for a specialist floor paint on the treads and risers, to ensure the paint can withstand daily wear and tear.

Brindle console table, £299.99, Oak Furnitureland

 

Create a soft touch

Stair runners are a popular finish for staircases in the UK, as they provide a warm and welcoming texture underfoot.

If you have hard floors downstairs and carpet in the bedrooms, a runner is an effective way of linking the two storeys together. Not only will the carpet offer protection to the stairs, but it is a great way of adding colour or pattern to your hallway, too. A subtle stripe or herringbone design, for example, will add interest to any set of stairs and you can choose from a wide range of fabrics to suit your personal style.

Opt for a hardwearing material where possible, as the staircase is a high-traffic area of the house and so needs to be able to withstand heavy footfall. For a stylish finishing touch, consider adding metal stair rods to your design.

Columbus Houndstooh carpet in mono, £32.99 per square metre, Carpetright

 

Get creative

Painting the risers of your staircase is a simple way of adding an unusual design feature to your hallway. An ombre effect will create a dramatic look, going from a dark shade at the base to a light colour at the top, or go for a rainbow design for a fun focal point. Tiles or even vinyl stickers can be used if you’re after a patterned design, or paint numbers on the steps for an interactive play feature for kids.

Don’t neglect the wall space around your staircase either; a gallery wall rising with the inclination of the steps will fill this otherwise empty space and give it a purpose.

Rococco dotty red vinyl flooring, £17.95 per square metre, Lifestyle Floors

 

Get smart with storage

If you’re planning a larger-scale staircase renovation, speak to your joiner about clever ways to incorporate storage into the space beneath the stairs. Pull-out drawers or cupboards are a great way to maximise this space and make the most of any wasted corners that are ordinarily out of reach.

Design compartments to suit your family’s needs; for examples, extra shoe or coat storage, a bespoke slot to hang the vacuum cleaner, or even a cosy nook for the dog bed are all design features that can be worked into your design.

Just be aware that a full staircase upgrade will cause upheaval in the home and should be undertaken by a professional to ensure all building regulations are met.


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