Staircase style guide

Transform the entrance to your home using a staircase. Create a stylish focal point with this design inspiration and practical advice guide

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While a staircase is a major feature in any house, its potential for design impact is often overlooked in older properties. With so many clever ideas and stylish solutions now available it’s worth considering an update during a renovation or hallway redecoration.

Replacing stairs is similar to knocking down a structural wall, so consult an architect or specialist company for advice to ensure it meets building regulations.

How much does a staircase cost?

Costs range from £500 for a softwood design without balustrading, to £3,000-£5,000 for a fully installed modular staircase. The most expensive option is a bespoke staircase, with basic styles starting from £5,000, extending to £90,000.

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DIY staircase

staircase in barn

These stairs perfectly complement the oak beams and aluminium roof windows

Floating staircase

Make a dramatic impact with a cantilevered staircase, where the treads look as if they are defying gravity but are actually fully supported by the wall on one side.

This style of staircase can be fitted into an older home during a renovation and needs a structurally sound wall to conceal the support framework; alternatively, a steel wall can be built to anchor the treads. Finishes for the steps include timber, stone, Corian or even glass, for an awe-inspiring minimalist look.

floating staircase

The minimal design really opens up the space, making the room feel larger and allowing light to flow through. Shown with walnut treads and a glazed balustrade, it is also available in oak and cost £20,400, from First Step Designs

Stair refurbishment

If your staircase is looking dated but there are no structural issues, consider refurbishing it. The work can be carried out over a weekend, and you can swap every non-structural element to create a bespoke design.

Choose between carpet and timbers such as oak and walnut for the treads and, for posts and balustrades, select from glass, wood and cast iron.

 Statement details

You can dedicate as much design skill and creativity to your staircase as to any other part of your home. For a contemporary statement, a laser-cut steel balustrade will add wow factor to transform a plain space, whilst letting light pass through.

statement bannister

This cell design can be adapted to your taste, whether you’d prefer a more open or closed pattern, and is also available in white or grey. Here, it’s combined with a simple glass balustrade on a spiral staircase to let the design stand out. It cost about £40,000, EeStairs

Alternatively, give your staircase a contemporary twist by swapping the balustrade for panels featuring fabric. Sandwiching strands of chiffon between sheets of laminated glass, this unique design creates a more fluid effect than a traditional baluster, and lets the light through to brighten the space.

Other fabrics can be used, as well as metal foils for a more glamorous effect, and the panels can be fitted to any staircase.

9 KeirTownsend laminated glass panel staircase high

Laminated glass panels with fabric inserts, £600 per m², Keir Townsend

Spiral staircase

The flowing arc of a helical staircase makes it a real showstopper as the treads curve upwards, leading the eye. Perfect as the centrepiece of a grand hallway, it will also look beautiful in more compact spaces.

This is a bespoke design with iroko treads, but there are plenty of other options for materials, including stainless steel, glass and stone, to create exactly the finish you want.

4 EeStairs stone helical

Helical flight of stairs with hidden mild steel carcass clad in iroko, with stainless-steel handrail and painted timber board, from £42,000, EeStairs

3 Jeld Wen CO Radiance set 06

 Adding a light staircase

black and white staircase with storage

Staircase storage

Traditional style

Invest in an architectural feature with timeless appeal by choosing a stone staircase in a classic design.

This stunning curved creation is made from Combe Brune, a creamy limestone from France, while the balustrading is cast iron with a powder-coated paint finish. Portland limestone and Clipsham stone from the UK, or Anstrude or Burgundy limestone from France could also be used, along with many other stone options.

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Stairs in Combe Brune stone, £27,600, with cast-iron balustrading, £14,400, both per 15-step flight, The Stonemasonry Company

11 James Grace Contemporary glass and steel Barr

 Period staircase

Modern stair parts can look out of place in a traditional home. For a more sympathetic update, lose uniform chunky spindles and try characterful black metal designs that will work perfectly with cast-iron door and window furniture. Slimmer spindles are a great solution for a compact home, too, as they will help to create a light and spacious effect.

period staircase black spindles

A carpeted staircase adds warmth to a space with otherwise wooden flooring. This cosy, period staircase costs from £3,700, Jeld Wen

 Tactile finish

Combine classic and contemporary elements to create a feature that is sympathetic to the architecture of an older property, yet works with a more modern interior scheme. This design uses Portuguese limestone with chrome balustrading and has a handrail with a leather wrap that can be removed to change the look.

Alternatively, a glass baluster with a timber handrail could be chosen for an ultra-modern effect. There is a wide range of limestones on offer for the stairs, as well as many different balustrade and handrail options.

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