Step Up Your Stairwells – Part 2

by Carmen Corbin on November 28, 2011

They may not get as much foot traffic as the Spanish Steps in Rome, but your home’s stairways are still an important avenue and focal point in your home.  As we continue our series on stairwells, we’ll focus on ways to update and upgrade, and examine one way that adding stairs can increase your living space.

Upgrading Your Stairway

Thin, metal railings from the 1960’s may once have been all the rage in interior design, but now they’re often an eyesore in your home.  If you still prefer metal, but want to update the look of your stairs, consider installing a wider, swirling rod design in a satin nickel or antique bronze finish for a more contemporary look.  

Newel Posts and Caps:  Newel posts are found at the bottom of the stair rail, and at the landing corners if your stairs take a turn on the way down.  Replacing a boring post, or adding one, can make a dramatic difference in the appearance of your stairway.  You can also create more interest with a tall, decorative cap – plus, they’re just fun to grab onto when you’re spinning around into the room!

Carpet vs. Hardwood:  If you like the look of hardwood, but prefer a little cushion on your bare feet, leave the ends of the steps exposed, and choose an attractive carpet runner to go down the center of the stairs.  Let your general contractor install it – they’ll make sure it’s properly secured for maximum safety.

Create a More Accessible Attic

If you feel that your attic could be a usable room, or at least a clean storage space, consider getting an estimate from a home improvement expert for adding a stairwell to create better access.   Depending on your home’s floor plan, a full stairwell might be possible.  If not, maybe your hallway could accommodate some pull-down disappearing stairs, or even a space saving spiral staircase.

Adequate lighting is an important consideration in any type of stairway.  Make sure all steps are well illuminated to help avoid trips and falls.  Sconce lighting along the walls of an entry stairwell not only serves a functional purpose, but also adds a classic touch to your home.

For more ideas on how to upgrade the stairways in your home, call or visit your local home improvement contractor.

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