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

white staircase with brown railing white wall and white tiled flooring

(Image credit: TBC)

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

white stairway with wooden flooring and grey sofa set

(Image credit: TBC)

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

colour striped staircase with white walls and white wooden cabinets

(Image credit: TBC)

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

printed colour staircase wooden stool and plant in white pot

(Image credit: TBC)

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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Holly Walsh
Content Editor

Holly Walsh has been Content Editor at Ideal Home since 2021, but joined the brand back in 2015. With a background of studies in Interior Design, her career in interior journalism was a no-brainer and her passion for decorating homes is still as strong as it ever was. While Holly has written for most of the home titles at Future, including Livingetc, Country Homes & Interiors, Homes and Gardens and Style at Home, Ideal Home has always been her ideal home, and she can be found sharing her expertise and advice across both the printed magazine and the website too.