Stepping up: clever ways to update your staircase

A staircase with wow factor can be a design statement in its own right. There are plenty of easy ways to add style to yours

Having a great staircase needn’t always mean installing a new one from scratch. There are plenty of tweaks and on-site renovations possible. Floating or cantilevered options look great in a contemporary scheme, while a sensitive restoration can bring a dull staircase back to life.

Period drama

If you’re lucky enough to have a period staircase, try to strip it back to the bare essentials. To emphasise the elegance of your home, opt for beautifully turned spindles and newel posts in oak or a warmer walnut wood, or paint them white like this, to add a subtle modern touch. The addition of a smart runner completes the look, or for a streamlined scheme, try leaving the wood bare. Engage the services of a French polisher to bring your banister back to life.

Go modern

Try using glass instead of traditional newal posts. This can be a great touch in both contemporary and period homes. Glass balustrades are very popular even in period properties, and are a clever and stylish was of getting greater light into a downstairs room or hallway. They also create the illusion of space. Your choice of wood and finish is key to a staircase renovation. Engineered walnut can look striking in a contemporary setting, or try opting for classic oak for a more traditional feel. ‘If you want to create a current look, add lighting to your staircase,’ advises Scott Storey of James Grace

. ‘It’s easy to include downlighters built in to the undersides of the treads, or side lights which can be incorporated into the strings.’

Super stripes

Nothing updates a staircase faster than a smart runner. Stripes are a classic choice – why not mix it up by opting for a bright or unusual colourway, like this option from Roger Oates? Striped or patterned options are more practical for heavy duty areas as they mask marks. Choose a textured weave for interest. Adding rods will create a classic look, while going without, like this staircase, produces a more contemporary feel.

Painterly pattern

In a period property such as a rustic cottage, whimsical pattern adds a charming touch. Try giving your stair risers some TLC by papering them in vintage designs in a complementary colourway. This look can be adapted for contemporary or modern-retro schemes by using bold block colour in a favourite floor paint. Finally, remember that a staircase should feel like an integral part of your home and bear in mind that family homes are best suited to child-friendly, non-slip options.

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