Designing Your Stairway to Heaven

Let’s face it.  That grand sweeping staircase from Gone With The Wind is an architectural detail that appeals to many, yet realized by few. When you’re building, renovating or remodeling your home, redesigning your ordinary staircase and transforming it into the extraordinary – will not only create an architectural focal point – but will instantly transform your foyer into a spectacular showpiece. In my last post we talked about the importance of determining the run and type of stair that bests suits for home.  Whether you’re working with a Straight Run, L-Shape, U-Shape, Spiral or Curve, here are some straight- forward tips and clever design ideas to keep in mind when styling your stairs:
  • Strategy and Planning. – If your main staircase is situated in your foyer it MUST be welcoming and inviting.  If space allows create a sense of graciousness by going beyond the minimum code requirements.  Adding an extra foot or two in width to the stairs creates a more impressive reception.
  • Create a Sense of Grandeur – Enlarge the bottom step of your staircase by making them wider than the ones above.  Curve the entire step on each side and extend them beyond the newel posts always making sure that bottom stair faces into the space it occupies.
  • Character and Personality – In many cases your staircase provides a first impression of your home and sets the stage for what’s to follow.  So make sure its design is reflective of your home’s TRUE style.  Inject your personality into the details.
  • Customized Details – To infuse some artistic and architectural details customize your railings.  Depending on your home’s architectural style, rather than utilizing a builders’ standard wooden spindle and handrail, why not introduce a mixture of materials like metals and woods or concrete and glass and turn a practical staircase into a unique design feature.
  • Be Creative – If you’re short on storage space, utilize the wasted space beneath the stairs by either designing built-in bookshelves to house your favorite collection of periodicals, discreetly design drawers in the risers to store extra shoes and slippers, or sneak in a sleek powder room to accommodate the overflow of house guests.
I hope these images inspire you in some way. I encourage you leave questions or comments below this post, and fill out the form on the right hand side of this page to receive your free copy of my special report: “How to Avoid the 15 Most Common Decorating Mistakes” Article by Lori Gilder, Architectural Interior Designer, Los Angeles, Ca. © 2010 Lori Gilder. Interior Makeovers Inc.