Redesigning the staircase within your home may seem like a mammoth task, but it is not without its foray of benefits. The staircase is usually the most overlooked area of any home, and yet it is so much more than a mere function – it has the ability to become to central focal point of your house, transforming a basic entry area or hallway into an exquisitely inviting atrium.
Like with any redesign, choosing the right staircase type for your home comes with many factors and influences; none of which can be taken into account lightly. It’s important, therefore, that you always consult your architect or nearest stair specialist company before you make any long-term changes, as your stairs need to fit proportionally as well as stylistically.
For the time being, here are some aspects you may wish to think about to ensure you make the right choices when choosing your stairs.
Think first of all about where your staircase will begin and end. Where will it start from; where is it leading to? Depending on the size of your home and the style of staircase you choose, you may decide for your stairs to finish opening onto an open landing space, or you may decide for them to lead to a beautiful mezzanine; or indeed a 90 degree quarter turn landing or kite winder (should you choose to go for half or quarter-turned stairs. Ideally, no other room should need to be crossed when going from the bottom of the staircase to your front door, as this is likely to be the main fire escape route in your home.
Once you have considered these practical components and know how your staircase will get you from one level to the next, then you can really go to town on the aesthetics.
The space in which your stairs will be situated will most certainly affect the type of staircase you go for. Wider spaces will accommodate large and decorative stairs, whilst smaller, more compact areas will require a different approach. However, smaller spacing can be an excellent design opportunity to create something wonderful.
Spiral staircases, for example, add that extra something to any hallway whilst saving on space, making them ideal for open plan areas, two-floor apartments and studios. Metallic or cast iron spirals will create an attractively chic city-vibe, whilst wooden will achieve a more quaint and nostalgic feel.
Half-turned and quarter-turned staircases are also an option, and a particular boon for shaping your hallway around your staircase, using the space created by each half-flight. The dynamics of the stairs also adds character to your home, but be assured that such styles will require extremely careful measuring.
When choosing the materials for your new staircase, bear in mind those who will be using it. Hard, unforgiving surfaces with a minimal balustrade aren’t too great for young children or the elderly – very often in these instances it can be useful to choose wood or carpet instead. Each material brings its own benefits though, in terms of both style and function, so it’s never too difficult to achieve a look that is safe, reliable, and easy on the eye.
Wood is often a fail-safe choice as it is classic and timeless. It is available in many different types, shades and finishes, allowing you to match it to almost any decor to achieve a warming, homely look. Glass, meanwhile, is elegant, minimal and clean, and can help to achieve that fascinating ‘floating stair’ effect you may have always wanted. Steel or iron staircases can be purchased in many different colours and finishes, and bring a sleek, modern look to your home whilst remaining durable. Concrete too is solid and reliable, as well as being able to bring a traditional or ‘period’ look to your hallway.
Remember that materials can also be combined – try marble-fronted stairs with wooden tops, or steel stairs with a glass balustrade. Above all, remember to be careful when choosing your design, as a staircase is a long-term fixture. It is important to choose quality materials with simple details, to ensure your stairs transcend fashion fads and will always look timeless.
As with any large-scale redesign, you will need to check your area’s building codes and regulations before you begin work, to ensure your stairs will fit the required height, depth and pitch required to make them safe. Also remember that your stairs will need to have a handrail running along one side if they are less than 1 metre wide; on both sides if it is wider. Your building guidelines will be able to provide further information about this.
One last thing to note is that many of the staircases you see in catalogues and brochures have not simply been chosen and purchased from a staircase shop. They have normally been custom-made to fit very specific spaces and measurements of that particular home. Therefore, it can be a worthwhile investment to go for a bespoke staircase design that will fit the design of your home perfectly. Your architect or stair specialist will be able to work with you on achieving this.