Tips for Creating an Eye-Catching Staircase

Tips for Creating an Eye-Catching Staircase
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    The staircase is often treated as a necessary and functional element of a house, something to be used rather than admired.


But a good, tastefully-decorated staircase can have a real impact on the overall impression of your home – whether you’re operating on a large budget or a small budget, there are things that can be done that will make you smile whenever you go up or down.

Let there be light

Floating staircases are striking architectural statements with a practical application – they let more light into the room than a conventional staircase. Often, floating staircases do not have banisters (which can be a little frightening and unsafe if you are rushing or if you have children). If you want to maintain the impression of a floating staircase, a glass panel to act as a banister can still give the same effect without compromising on safety.

Alternatively, using a translucent material for the stairs themselves and then lighting them from behind can create a nice effect, and might be safer in the dark, too! This would work better in a modern flat or apartment than a country cottage, but there’s space for this kind of design in many traditional houses as well.

Fairy lights along an ordinary banister can add a soft twinkle to the stairs and the room in which they start. White ones will be appropriate all year round and will give off an elegant glow.


Spiral staircases can be fun in the right environment and if they are made of the right materials. Exposed metal, for example, gives an industrial effect that may work in some properties – such as large, high-ceilinged barn conversions – but is uncomfortable in others. Wrought iron can have a faintly continental aesthetic and pine can look smart in more traditional houses. For something really different, you could even add a spiral slide next to the stairs to make coming down for breakfast each morning a great start to the day.


If you have a cupboard under the stairs that you don’t really use, getting rid of it might create the feeling of extra space in the room and, again, lighten it up a bit.

Alternatively, if the space under your stairs is already used as storage, put a cupboard there instead. It will hide the mess that has collected under there and prevent the dust from getting to everything. A cupboard might sound boring, but there’s nothing to suggest that it has to be the stereotypical, panelled-wood cupboard that is in every house in Britain – choose a fun design or paint the door a bright colour to make it stand out.

Pictures On the Wall

Adding a series of photographs going up the wall next to the staircase makes it feel more a part of the home and less as if it only serves a practical purpose. You can have fun with the photos and take them specifically for this purpose, somehow linking one photo to the next. For example, having each member of the family looking as though they’re reaching out to the other in a different frame or looking up or down at the correct angle can add a fun touch to otherwise-generic family photos.

Colourful Steps

Stripping off the carpet and varnishing the wood can look smart, but painting them to a particular theme can be fun, such as the spines of books or piano keys. This may not be to everyone’s taste, but it’s certainly eye-catching. Similarly eye-catching, but less unique, is painting each step a different, bright, clashing colour. Alternatively, paint each step the same colour but with a different colour at the edges of each step and a couple of different colours on each banister. For a subtler design, painting the steps white with a simple, elegant silhouette, or a comic one of a cat and mouse, for example, can add a touch of humour to the stairs.

Anything We’ve Missed?

If you have an exemplary staircase you want to show off, or just have some great ideas on how to reach new levels of staircase design, tell us using the comment section.

This article was written by Michael Palmer, a freelance writer and interior design enthusiast writing on behalf of MORE TH>N.

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