Stairwells, often dismissed as little more than connectors between two levels, are important building features that can turn a run-of-the-mill home into a breathtaking showplace. By putting some design attention into them, you can display your personal creativity in an area that enjoys a lot of traffic and visibility. The ideas in this article will help you make the most of your stairwell, both functionally and aesthetically.
1. Build a photo display on the wall.
Consider using this highly accessible space in your home to create a gallery wall in your stairwell of cherished family pictures. Try to hang picture frames that are relatively slender in order to avoid bumping into them as you walk past.
2. Add a runner.
If you don't want to have your stairs fully carpeted, installing a stair runner is a good option that allows you to show off your steps' material while protecting it from scratches. Hardwood and tiled steps are often slick, which can put kids and pets at risk of slipping. This makes it a particularly useful design idea for an efficient and kid-friendly home.
Laying down a runner minimizes the hazard by creating a safe walking path over your stairs, and it provides the extra comfort of plush carpeting. Plus, carpeting absorbs sound far more efficiently than wood or tile, so installing a runner reduces the noise of family members clomping up and down the steps.
3. Wallpaper the risers.
Applying wallpaper to your stair risers is a great way to complement your home's interior design. After measuring your risers, you can take wallpaper that features a tall, unbroken image – for instance, a set of climbing trees – and split it up into strips to create a uniform image that stretches over your risers from the bottom up. After you've applied the wallpaper to each riser with adhesive, you can protect it from scuffing or tearing by adding a couple thin coats of polyurethane over it and allowing it to dry.
4. Paint the treads and/or risers.
Painting your stairs is one of the simplest, yet most innovative and often overlooked ways to make them come alive. Using non-skid deck or floor paint, you can paint the treads or risers to complement the nearby walls and flooring, or make them pop out to transform your stairwell into a unique centrepiece.
Painting only the treads a vibrant shade while keeping the risers white is a popular technique that lends vivid colour without being overwhelming. This can be an opportunity to tie your look together in homes with an open concept design.
5. Flaunt the ombré technique.
Ombré is a term for the gradual blending of one colour's shade to a lighter or darker one. To create this subtly striking effect on your stairs, start by painting the bottom riser with a rich tone of your favourite colour, then add progressively more white paint to your mix as you work your way up from riser to riser.
6. Create a whimsical effect with numbers or letters.
Painting numbers on your stair's risers with stencils adds a stylish touch of endearment to your stairwell. For example, you can have the numbers start from one at the bottom riser and increase step by step, placing the numbers in the middle of each step or having them alternate from side to side. Aside from numbers, you could alternate painted X's and O's on your risers, or paint some of your favourite words on each one. You could even stencil an entire inspirational phrase word by word, starting from either the top or bottom riser.
7. Create contrast with the railings.
Staircase railings usually tend to be overlooked, but they're an excellent chance to indulge your imagination. Although combining two overtly clashing styles isn't often successful, gently contrasting the railing and tread designs can create a striking effect. For instance, you could add a touch of contemporary style to rustic wooden treads with industrial-type railings, or emphasize the natural grain of wood railings by leaving them unpainted against white treads, risers, and walls.
8. Put empty space to use.
While the visual appeal and functionality of the treads, risers, and railing are obviously major factors, don't forget that triangular patch of bare wall beneath the staircase. This is a great place to hang photos, place bulletin boards, or add love seats, and if there's an enclave under the stairs you could turn it into storage space or a cozy reading nook. Talk about functional home decor solutions!
While their necessity is obvious, stairwells are often taken for granted when it comes to enhancing a home's interior style. As transitional points in your home, they can serve as important focal points that seamlessly integrate the style of one level with the next, so don't let their high-profile placement go to waste. Consider implementing some of these handy decorating tricks to give your stairwell the attention it deserves.