Staircases are natural focal points in the home, and though they have many unique features, their styles can be updated to reflect current design trends. As homeowners favor modern, transitional, and contemporary rustic styles, curving staircases, acorn-shaped finials, wooden balusters, and fully carpeted treads are slowly being replaced. Marvelous Woodworking has updated many a staircase, helping homeowners choose materials and styles not only to match their home, but to keep their look current and fresh. We have seen several significant staircase design trends that have been developing over the past few years.
Metal Balusters: A general trend in homes is to use many different kinds of materials and finishes for floors, furniture, hardware, cabinets, etc. In staircases, the most obvious and practical part to replace with another material is the balusters. Most older staircases are solely wooden. Metal balusters, however, are not just a passing fad as the contrast between soft wood tones and sharply-detailed metal is very pleasing to the eye, and adds a dramatic touch to an otherwise flat-looking staircase. Metal balusters come in many different styles and finishes: black, bronze, and nickel are the most popular.
Wainscoting: Many staircases run along a plain wall. Adding wainscoting immediately adds dimension and elevates a home’s architecture. It is also a cost-effective option, requiring no demolition or re-engineering. We recommend using a mix of frame molding, chair rail and base molding as an outline, painting the wall between a different color. A more costly option is to add a whole layer of wood over the wall, which requires more molding work and possibly more demolition along the staircase.
Box Newel Posts: In general, the modern aesthetic replaces curves with straight lines. In staircases, this change results in rectangular rails and boxed newel posts. When replacing newel posts, we recommend keeping post sizes the same; otherwise the space between balusters and the lengths of handrails will have to be adjusted as well.
Contrasting Risers and Treads: Running along the lines of mixing materials, creating contrast is another trend that has permeated interior design. In staircases, the opportunity for contrast presents itself in the finishes of risers and treads. Many staircases we have remodeled pair painted risers with natural wood treads, but the combinations of where the paint ends and wood begins varies greatly. Some homeowners paint the entire staircase, using a different color on the treads to create contrast. Possibilities depend on the construction of the staircase and the style of the home. If a house has a lot of woodwork, it is more stylistically consistent for the staircase to be naturally finished. If the house has a lot of painted furniture and walls, a painted staircase will fit in. Some stairs have visible strings, the structurally supportive wooden boards that flank stairs, while other staircases have treads cut to cover over their strings, effectively hiding them from view. Visible strings can be painted for a bold statement, while hidden strings would look strange if painted independently.
Wood Treads: Naturally finished wood treads are favored across the board. When we update a staircase, the project typically involves taking out the carpet to reveal the wood underneath. It is a classic look that fits many different interior styles and décor. When we finish wooden treads, we leave a little texture so shoes and feet can grip the stairs easily.
A staircase remodeling project is perfect for an experienced custom woodworker who knows the different options available and how to dismantle and reassemble a staircase properly. If you are looking to make your staircase into a lovely focal point, call us at (317) 679-5890 or email us.