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A staircase can be the focal point of a hallway, whether your style is traditional or contemporary. Stairs can also be the perfect place to add some colour and pattern — but sometimes, less is more. Here are some examples of simple stair runners and eye-catching staircases that dared to be different.

Here is a classic black and white staircase with a neutral runner. With monochromatic decor, this space could have used any colour runner for a big impact, but this understated one keeps the focus on the wallpaper.

This rural home features a barn-door-red runner for a splash of colour. Even though the hue is bright against the room's neutral palette, its simple stripe and classic country colour is a safe choice that will never look dated.

This all-white space offers an unexpected approach to colour with coloured balusters. Definitely different, though I wonder how those pristine white stairs will handle wear-and-tear...

For big impact in their gallery-white space, the owners of this Montreal home chose a multicoloured runner. It's playful and practical, but not for the timid decorator.

A heavy chevron print in contrasting colours is sure to draw attention. Although it can be a bold choice in a busy space like this one, I think this runner could go both ways — flashy or classy.

How do you prefer to dress up your staircase — with bold prints and unexpected colours or traditional runners that will stand the test of time?

Photo credits:
1. House & Home February 2010 issue
2. British Homes & Gardens
3. Little Miss Homes
4. House & Home June 2010 issue
5. Design New England

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