Your stairs are more than a route from A to B. Get clever and they can become a standalone feature – or even be useful
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If the most you’ve ever considered for your stairs is painting the banisters and carpeting the treads, be prepared to have your horizons broadened – and your hallway transformed.
Swap the spindles
If the spindles on your staircase are damaged, missing, mismatched – or just downright ugly – replace them with sculptural new ones that add period character or a modern flourish.
The spindles in this hallway are carefully matched to the style of the panelling to create contemporary Art Deco appeal.
Soup up with stencils
Painting a wooden staircase is an easy, quick and cheap way to update and improve it. Then all you need to do to add an individual twist is stencil numbers (or words) onto the risers.
Ideally, use a specialist floor paint to create a durable finish – or choose a colour you like and coat it with a tough floor varnish once dry.
Energise with rainbow brights
If bright colour is more your thing, let these vibrant steps inspire you. Although there are lots of colours going on, the all-white treads, banisters, skirting boards and walls keep the effect from appearing chaotic.
Light the treads
Putting lighting at skirting level – or, as here, into a recess – is a simple way to create a contemporary feel for your staircase. Considering this option? Bear in mind that the lighting will show up every bump, dent and smudge, so your floor’s finish needs to be spotless.
Add a dashing stripe
Want to make your home feel bigger and brighter? One way to do so is by painting everything white. Another route is to use broad stripes to create a visual trick: run them up the steps like this and the staircase will feel taller; lay them across the width of the treads and it will look broader.
Wallpaper the risers
Love pattern, but carpets just aren’t your style? You can have the best of both worlds with a staircase like this. The treads are varnished wood, but the risers have been treated to a precisely applied wallpaper, chosen to complement the hallway’s paintwork. Protect paper with a coat or two of varnish.
Paint it to coordinate
Coating your staircase in a dramatic paint shade will make it a standout feature, but it’s important to tie it in to both the hallway and the landing upstairs. Painting the skirting board and banisters to match is the simplest way to do so, and carrying the colour through to built-in furniture will work wonders, too.
Open it up
If your hallway is dark, narrow and cramped, replacing the staircase with an open-tread design will make the whole space feel bigger and brighter. For best effect, paint the treads’ upper and lower sides to match the banisters; a light-coloured mid-sheen will bounce daylight around even more.
Be aware that Building Regulations around open stair treads are tight, so be informed before you start building or buying.
How a reconfigured staircase can unlock your interior
Fill the void beneath
In a period home, it always makes sense to revamp the understairs cavity because those Victorians and Edwardians clearly didn’t have the vast shoe collections we do now. Even the smallest of spaces can be put to good use with some decent carpentry and a lick of paint, as here.
Use a paint effect
You could mimic the look of this staircase by cutting strips of polished concrete-effect tile to sit over the risers. Or you could take the easier route and paint your risers in a range of pastel shades to create a similar finish. Keep costs down by using sample pots for the colours, and add a coat of varnish to prevent chipping.
Switch steps for drawers
Desperate for every inch of storage space you can muster? The cavity beneath each tread of a new staircase can be designed to provide room for a decent-sized drawer to house the family’s shoes (designated steps recommended to save a daily rummage), hats, gloves and even the dog’s lead.
What would improve your staircase? Share your tips and wishlists in the Comments section.