Who says art needs to be confined to the walls? One of the most overlooked opportunities for design pizazz is, in fact, the staircase. Traditionally, this piece of a home has been primarily about function, but there’s no reason you can’t pair it with a bit of style as well. Given the architectural interest and variety in staircases, there’s an endless array of creative solutions to choose from. Be it an infusion of color, an optical illusion, or a pattern showcase, your stairs are more than steps to the next floor; they’re an extension of your home’s personality.
As you contemplate how to transform your staircase into a work of art, read on for some of our favorite unique takes on this classic architectural staple. There’s a style for everyone, guaranteed.
Because a staircase naturally works as a visual anchor within a space, infusing it with a bold color (or a few) can make a stunning impact. Plus, by using color in your design, there’s no limit to the combinations possible. Try a runner in a single hue for a dramatic statement, or use a different shade on each step for an alluring gradient style. Just remember to balance your staircase with the rest of the room - by keeping the walls and surrounding decor largely neutral, your staircase will be jaw-dropping without feeling overwhelming.
Whether plaid, striped, or ultra-whimsical, your stairs can - and should - tell a story, and that’s where pattern play comes in. Do you adore classic literature? Create artwork that mimics your beloved shelves. Prefer timeless style in your decor? Go for traditional textures and lines that suit the rest of your space’s aesthetic. Whatever your preference, patterns are a great way to make your staircase an instant conversation piece.
If you’re drawn to modern art and are ready to think outside the box, consider creating an optical illusion with your staircase. After all, your steps don’t necessarily need to fit within the confines of what is typical. Instead, play with curves, screens, and light, and we guarantee you’ll have a staircase that is unexpected in every way. However, keep in mind that this is definitely not a DIY project - you’ll want to enlist the expertise of an architect and get familiar with your local building codes to make sure your design idea will work. Your original plan may be extraordinary, but in order to pass inspection, a few things may need to be tweaked. With the help of a pro team, though, there’s always a way! You’ll have a staircase that defies conventions in no time.
Light & Bright
While many staircases are solid structures located on the interior walls of a home - especially those from earlier eras - a more modern option is to place the staircase directly in front of a window. Of course, that doesn’t mean you need to block the sunshine. Make your staircase visually light by opting for steps that “float,” giving you unobstructed views to the outdoors. And if you don’t have a large picture window to work with? Try incorporating artificial light on each step or in the railing - not only will it help to illuminate your path in the dark, but it will create points of interest as the shadows and light play together.
Staircases are convenient for transporting us where we need to go, but it never hurts to have a little fun in the process. Use your staircase as an architectural opportunity and you’re sure to have a design that wows for years to come.
By Megan Johansson