25 staircase ideas to take your home to the next step of style

Create your very own stairway to heaven with these paint, material and styling ideas
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  • In more homes than not, the very first thing you will see upon entering are the stairs and hallway. The right staircase ideas can make all the difference in achieving the perfect first impression.

    Of course, the staircase doesn’t standalone, it needs to work with your hallway ideas to create cohesion. Really think about what you want your home to say when people enter it. The hallway and staircase will set the design tone for the rest of the house.

    ‘A staircase can really impact a space,’ says James Murray, Senior Staircase Designer, Neville Johnson. ‘It can transform a hallway from the messy, cluttered area that it so often becomes, and into a bright and welcoming entrance to your home.’

    ‘Think about what style you want and be sympathetic to the style and age of the house,’ continues James. ‘Consider other timbers in the home and tone in with these colours so the staircase can sit alongside other materials without clashing.’

    It’s not all about just the structural wood that makes a difference. Make a statement with wallpaper, paint and textiles. Paint the risers in a descending or ascending rainbow of colours, or stick on decorative tiles for instant impact.

    Use wallpaper or old maps to add interest to each tread or paint the whole shebang in a favourite colour. You could even paint the spindles and bannister rail to suit your fancy and position wall stickers up the staircase walls or on the facing walls on each half landing.

    Staircase ideas to inspire all homes

    Our staircase ideas will ensure you make the right impression first time. So whether it’s to make yourself smile or to wow guests, it’s worth taking the time to create a focal point to admire.

    1. Get colour drenching

    Hallway and staircase painted in blue gloss paint

    Image credit: Future PLC/Olly Gordon

    Colour drenching is having a serious moment right now, and one place this decorating trick works especially well is in the hallway. Once you learn how to paint a staircase, you’ll have so many possibilities on offer.

    Paint the stairs, walls, radiator and even ceiling and/or floor in one shade to create a serious statement. To slightly adapt the trend, choose tonal colours for impact but without focusing entirely on one shade.

    2. Be inspired by pretty patchworks

    White staircase with patchwork patterned treads

    Image credit: Future PLC/Colin Poole

    Whether you live in a country style home or simply love the chintz-ier things in life, a patchwork quilt may be an unexpected source of inspiration. Wallpaper the risers of your staircase ideas with different, non-matching prints and patterns.

    To stop things from overwhelming, either stick to one colour palette or a one theme. For example, all floral based, polka dots, abstract designs…

    3. Create a kids’ zone

    Yellow wall with coat rack beneath blue staircase

    Image credit: Future PLC/Dominic Blackmore

    Keeping hallways neat and tidy in a family home is, well, something of a challenge. When settling on your staircase ideas, make sure you think about how your design could make your life a bit easier. The inclusion of a low-level coat rack, a bench, and individual baskets for shoes and outdoor paraphernalia will make sure everything has a home.

    Keep things design led by painting the backdrop in a contrasting colour to that of the stairs themselves. This will also help visually zone off the area.

    4. Co-ordinate with paint and wallpaper

    White staircase with patterned treads and green wall

    Image credit: Future PLC/Jo Henderson

    Think about the context in which your staircase sits to ensure you design it to complement the rest of the space. One way to neatly link it in is to use the same wallpaper as elsewhere in the hallway on the risers. Then paint some of the walls above the stairs themselves in a colour picked out from this wallpaper. it’s a quick and easy to way to create a new, cohesive scheme.

    5. Boost light levels

    White neutral dining room with glass bannister on staircase

    Image credit: Future PLC/Jonathan Gooch

    One thing which isn’t considered as often as it should be is how much light a staircase can block off. Keep things light and bright with a few simple tricks. A glass bannister will allow sunlight to pass through, and keeping the treads in a pale wood or paint will encourage available light to bounce around.

    Inbuilt footlights will also help on darker days, and into the evenings.

    6. Welcome pattern on the stairs

    Patterned carpet on stairs and landing

    Image credit: Future PLC/Jo Bridges

    Not only will a pattern inject instant personality to a hallway colour scheme, it’s also highly practical too. ‘Patterns are perfect for high-traffic areas like hallways and staircases, where dust and dirt are repeatedly trodden into the carpet’ says Jodie Hatton, Residential Designer at Brintons.

    Before going on to say, ‘We need little moments of joy throughout the home, so hallway decoration should be equally as smile-inducing as your living room or bedroom. It is the first space you see when returning from your daily walk, so why not make it special?’. We couldn’t agree more with this sentiment.

    7. Create a statement with coordinated colour

    Blue painted stairs with neutral stair runner with blue trim

    Image credit: Future PLC/David Merewether

    Be bold with colour to create a statement but be mindful to keep it coordinated to achieve a cohesive colour scheme that feels well put together.  If using a rich colour on the walls, such is the case in this striking blue hallway colour scheme, echo the same colour on the stair runner or carpet. Here a blue trim is enough to add a subtle yet impactful accent to a neutral stair runner.

    The natural rush carpet coordinates effortless with the natural wooden bannister and spindles, balancing the neutral elements with the more provocative use of bold colour.

    8. Finish with finesse

    Metal stair rods on neutral patterned runner

    Image credit: Future PLC/David Giles

    Whatever your colour or style, adding stair rods is the ultimate way to finish a well-dressed staircase. The easy to fit option can be added at any point if you have a stair runner already in place and just feel it needs a perfect finishing touch.

    9. Make a dramatic entrance

    Black painted staircase with white walls

    Image credit: Future PLC/Brent Darby

    Painting your woodwork black – or a very dark charcoal grey – can truly elevate a space to a more sophisticated level. Contrast with white walls for a fresh and modern look, or complement with a sultry navy blue or emerald green for even more drama.

    The stair runner adds a bright pop of colour and delicate pendant lighting accentuates the double-height ceiling.

    10. Grab attention with a gallery wall

    White hallway with gallery wall leading up staircase

    Image credit: Future PLC/Brent Darby

    The stairway is the ideal place for a gallery wall. Choose matching frames and pictures with a theme. White is every gallery’s preferred blank canvas, but a wooden bench and handrail add a little warmth to balance the look.

    11. Keep the style simple

    Wooden staircase in white hallway

    Image credit: Future PLC/Kasia Fizer

    Often a hallway can feel limiting on the style front, due to a lack of space – in which case, less is more.Using natural wood in a hallway can promote a Scandi aesthetic that leaves you breathing a sigh of relief as you walk through the door after a manic day.

    Adding a potted plant or two can also enhance that calming sensation. Try to keep accessories to a minimum so that the overall affect is uncluttered and fresh.

    12. Tile stair risers

    White staircase with patterned tile risers

    Image credit: Future PLC/Colin Poole

    The owners of this monochrome-themed home had considered a stair runner, but needed to stay on budget. Tiling the risers with a neat mosaic has not only saved them cash, but has created more impact and complements the decor elsewhere.

    13. Incorporate concealed cupboards

    Small grey living room with staircase

    Image credit: Future PLC/David Giles

    When space is tight you need to embrace every inch of space to fashion suitable storage solutions. This small living room idea shows how an awkward staircase can be utilised by making the underside become a concealed cupboard that serves as smart storage for the compact living room beneath.

    14. Uplift a scheme with colour and pattern

    Yellow painted stairs in hallway with blue printed wallpaper

    Image credit: Future PLC/Colin Poole

    Rather than choose either a bold colour or a statement wallpaper to make a statement on your stairs why not use both? With a small space such as a staircase there’s only a small area to cover so you can afford to be more daring when it comes to decorating choices.

    A bold colour will feel less overpowering in such a limited capacity, it will actually amplify a small space. If using wallpaper on a landing, like a feature wall, only one roll is mostly likely required – keeping the budget low too.

    15. Make it personal with curated photos

    Black and white staircase with gallery wall

    Image credit: Future PLC/David Giles

    Your hallway isn’t just an introduction to your home – it can also serve to give a flavour of your personality. This homeowner has used paint colours and artwork to get their bold, fun side across. A framed lunar calendar and a graphic skull print are just two of the conversation starters here.

    16. Carpet for comfort

    Staircase with neutral carpet by patterned blue wallpaper

    Image credit: Future PLC/Georgia Burns

    Carpet is a great choice for stairs – not only does it cushion your steps and absorb some of the noise as you and your family bound up and down the staircase, it’s also durable. Given the stairs are one of the busiest thoroughfares in your home, that’s key.

    We’d recommend a tough wool or wool-blend carpet for a staircase, and ideally in a lighter colour. A stairwell can often be poorly lit, and choosing a darker shade will make the space look all the more gloomy and narrow. This needed make the space dull – here, palm print wallpaper adds vibrancy.

    17. Create an ombre effect with paint

    Staircase with yellow painted ombre risers

    Image credit: Future PLC/Simon Whitmore

    Start by painting the treads to match your there woodwork, then choose a paint card in a colour you love and buy tester pots in as many shades as you have stairs.

    Kick things off with the darkest at the bottom and work your way up, using a lighter shade on each riser until you reach the top.

    18. Make a statement with your spindles

    White staircase ideas with green ombre spindles

    Image credit: Future PLC/Chris Everard

    Bring your staircase to life by creating a fresh ombre effect. Paint each spindle a different shade using tester pots, but leave the handrail a natural wood.

    Finish the rest of the stairway in white to keep the space light and show off your handiwork.

    19. Wallpaper your treads with a bold pattern

    Stairs wallpapered with Orla Kiely print

    Image credit: Future PLC/Jake Curtis

    The trick here is to go bold and graphic, but to keep things neutral elsewhere. Here, white walls are a backdrop to a bright red. You could also use pops of primary colours, such as yellow green or the blue chair seen here.

    Like this idea? Follow our guide how to wallpaper your stairs – to add colour to your hallway.

    20. Guide a path upwards

    White staircase with blue painted border

    Image credit: Future PLC/David Giles

    Use colour in a creative way on your stairs by painting the walls beside the steps, but only below the dado rail to create a border-like edge.

    This simple strip of bold colour helps to guide the eye upwards, to highlight the incline of the staircase. In this otherwise all-white hallway the limited use of a bold blue border prevents the colour from feeling overpowering in airy bright space.

    21. Soften the use of pattern with subtle colour

    Wooden walled hallway with pasted patterned wallpaper on staircase risers

    Image credit: Future PLC/David Brittain

    This is a different way of using wallpaper – alternating two complementary prints in pastel pink and green for a look that would suit a rustic cottage. If you’re good with a paintbrush, you achieve the effect with stencils.

    22. Commission cubbyholes for savvy storage

    Staircase with red walls and picture cubbyhole storage

    Image credit: Future PLC/Colin Poole

    If commissioning your staircase ideas, why not factor in some nifty open-plan shelving into the design for showing off your favourite ornaments and curios.

    A carpenter can build the design so it cleverly uses the otherwise redundant space underneath the treads and risers to great effect to create capsules for storage and display as well as being a functioning staircase.

    23. Match the treads to the walls

    Green hallway with staircase treads painted in shades of green

    Image credit: Crown

    Here’s a similar take on the same idea, but this time the walls have been painted in the second darkest colour. The choice of green is fresh and soothing and works well with natural wood flooring and furniture.

    24. Add a window for natural light

    Arched window on staircase

    Image credit: Future PLC/David Giles

    If your staircase ideas are looking dark and drab consider putting in a window to flood the staircase with plenty of natural light. Thanks to permitted development what  you can build without planning permission includes windows.

    25. Roll out the red carpet

    Grey hallway with gallery wall and red stair carpet

    Image credit: Future PLC/Rachael Smith

    What better way to make guests feel welcome than giving your hallway the red carpet treatment? This claret colour is sophisticated and works wonderfully with on-trend grey hallway ideas.

    How can I make my stairs look better?

    How to make your stairs look better depends on the style of your home, and your own design preferences. That said, there are a few small but important additions which can seriously upgrade your staircase ideas.

    ‘By updating and fitting new bannisters, treads, newels, and spindles, the whole staircase area can be completely transformed,’ says James Murray, Senior Staircase Designer, Neville Johnson. ‘Those all-important decorative touches, such as wrought iron spindles, can be used to introduce a touch of traditional elegance.’

    Your choice of wood, and even glass, can also make all the difference. ‘Oak creates an impression of warmth, quality and a sophistication,’ advises James. ‘Whilst Ash offers a lighter finish and a wilder grain for more visual variation.’

    ‘The combination of oak paired with glass has become a very popular choice for hallway and staircase designs in recent years, particularly for more contemporary schemes,’ James continues. ‘Smoked oak helps to create a modern, stylish feel, and the addition of glass really opens up the space, allowing light to flood through, creating the impression of a bigger hallway area.’

    How do I make stairs more interesting?

    There are many ways to make stairs more interesting. If on budget you can simply paint stairs to transform your hallway with little cost. You can be imaginative with wallpaper and tiles to add pattern to the risers, adding a slither of decoration with each step. Of course carpet is also a brilliant way to make your stairs more interesting, also more comforting underfoot.

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