December 2, 2008

Simple Staircase Design

Q. We would like design ideas for a stair rail and spindles for the back entrance leading to the basement, which has a family room, home office and guest room. We would like to make the more traditional space more modern. What can I use to achieve the look without a huge expense?

A. There are many options available for stair rails and spindles. If you want to stay away from the traditional turned-spindle look, you can go with brushed aluminum, wrought or cast iron or painted wood. All can offer a neat, updated look to your stairway. Whichever material you choose, consider going with a square shape of spindle for long-lasting style appeal. Aluminum spindles topped with aluminum handrail is a clean, modern look. For a modern twist on traditional, use simple black iron spindles with a wooden handrail stained a warm walnut to contrast with the black, then tie to the wall with black iron brackets.

Raised or recessed panelling topped off with a simple chair rail would add life to the space going down to the basement, making it that much more welcoming. For a simple budget-friendly solution, think about buying stock wooden spindles and handrail at a home improvement store. Paint both the spindles and handrail black for a dramatic effect, or white for an unobtrusive, simple stairway. Either option will prove an easy, stylish update that will work with any background or paint colour.

Lastly, if you want a very modern, clean look, forego the spindles altogether if your stairway allows. A simple wood or metal railing affixed directly onto the walls will result in a straightforward, no-nonsense stairway.