Staircase Design

by Scott Edwards

Now that a staircase is seen as a main feature in a property there is a lot more emphasis on the overall design. In anything other than the absolute grandest of properties the stairs had generally been seen as solely a means of access between floors. Nowadays this is certainly not the case, and homeowners, property developers, architects and designers are all heavily focused on ensuring that the staircase they install is an integral part of the overall design concept.

There is a wide variety of materials from which a staircase can be constructed. Although timber has historically been the most common material, stone, glass and metal are now often used either as the primary material, or as part of a combination to attain the desired effect. These materials can all be incorporated in innumerable methods and areas within the stair construction, and each will deliver a different concept.

The only drawback to using materials that are ultra modern is that they can quite quickly date or go out of fashion. This is not such an encumbrance when your buying an item of clothing, but when your money has been spent on such a permanent structure as a staircase it’s advisable to ensure that the design will compliment the property for a relatively long duration. For this reason a slight compromise in material combination may well provide the best option. For example, a glass and steel staircase whilst modern and contemporary at the time of installation may quickly look out of place. This is often because both materials are manmade and can look too hard. The best way to alleviate this situation is to combine one manmade material with one that is natural like glass and timber or metal and stone. Such combinations have far greater longevity.
It is essential that the staircase you choose is complimentary to the building you intend it for. It’s also advisable to not get too rigid with a design that you feel look stunning in a magazine or showroom if it won’t deliver the same effect in the position you intend it to be placed. This mistake is often evident with swept and spiral or open rise stairs.

The right staircase will compliment a property, add to its character by being a feature in itself and be able to cope with changes in décor. This type of staircase is an asset to a property and can increase its value. The wrong type of staircase can become an eyesore and use up unnecessary space that would be better used for another purpose.

The main points when deciding to install a new staircase are 1) which location? Where will the staircase sit and why? 1) What configuration? How will the staircase layout compliment the property and effect the space around it, should it be straight, have a small landing perhaps with angled step, return on itself etc. 3) What design? Which materials should be used, should the spindles sit on the steps or in a rail, open or closed risers etc.

All of these points should be covered by your supplier or designer. Taking the time to get your staircase right will be a long term investment and something that can give you great pleasure for many years to come.

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