Stair Railing Ideas for Your Next Remodel

Stair Railing Ideas for Your Next Remodel

Additions and Remodels
Carpentry
Small Projects and Repairs
By Alex Mikayelyan September 02, 2021

Remodeling a staircase seems self-explanatory at first; just install some new wooden steps and railings in place of the old ones. As long as they don’t creak and collapse, the job is done, right? Not really. Staircases are high-traffic areas. They hold up a lot of weight on a daily basis. Not only do you have to put some extra thought into designing the steps themselves, but the railings also play a major role in the structural integrity of your staircase. Cosmetics are another important consideration, and you’ll have to consider how your new staircase railings look with regard to the rest of the interior. 

Stair railings may not seem like the kind of interior design aspect you can really dig into, but even a brief browse of the various nuances and creative opportunities they offer might change your mind. There are a lot of great railing ideas which you could very well use for your next remodeling project.

A Little Terminology

What You Should Know About Railings

What You Should Know About Railings

Before looking into different types of stair railings, let’s look at the parts they are composed of. This will help you get a better understanding of what you should look for and what kind of staircase features you prefer. 

Banisters are essentially the handrails that are at the top of the railings that give you additional support as you are climbing up or down the stairs.

Balusters are the vertical structural supports for the banisters.  

Posts are the thicker balusters that are responsible for the structural integrity of the various sections of the railing. They are usually attached a lot more firmly into place compared to the balusters.

With the pieces in place, it’s time to explore the various stair railing styles for inspiration on implementing new ones in your home.

Classic Wooden Balusters

The Traditional Wooden Ornamented Railing

The Traditional Wooden Ornamented Railing

Few things say “home-sweet-home” like classic and ornate wooden railings. They are not the peak of elegance, they are also not particularly luxurious, and they may even be a little overdone.

But, there is a reason why so many homeowners have fallen in love with them. They are simple, yet have just enough decorum to make them stand out. Classic wooden handrailings bring with them a very stately appeal. Couple them with a natural wood staircase and you have a beautiful staircase that is as elegant as it is practical.

Elegant Modern Glass

Glossy and Sleek Glass Staircase Railing

Glossy and Sleek Glass Staircase Railing

If you were to look for something a little more elegant and sleek one of your best options would be glass railings. They do not have the posts, balusters, and banisters that traditional railings are made with but they offer their own set of benefits.

You will not be putting all your weight on the glass railing but it will provide plenty of support if tested. It is mostly there, however, to accentuate the modern minimal design of a cool interior. 

Contrasting Banisters and Balusters

The Statement Power of Contrasting Colors On a Staircase

The Statement Power of Contrasting Colors On a Staircase

Contrast is very important in interior design. While harmony is also very important in its own right, it isn’t news that you can have both together. A little heterogeneity is just what we need for some much-needed character. 

A very simple way to implement more contrast into your interior is by having different color balusters, posts, and banisters. White can complement just about anything, such as rich brown and black.

Chrome and Glass

Chrome Railings That Go Well In Any Contemporary Interior

Chrome Railings That Go Well In Any Contemporary Interior

A glass railing with metal chrome frames and rails can really speak to a biophilic or Boho interior aesthetic. The transparent glass offers a subtle note of modern design complemented by the sleek chrome handrails. 

Just do not skimp on the material for the banister and balusters as you need something very sturdy to hold the entire railing together. These stylish railings will serve you well for years to come provided you use high-quality materials. 

Spiral Wall Railing

Extra Support and Safety With Spiral Wall Railings

Extra Support and Safety With Spiral Wall Railings

Some staircases need that extra bit of support and protection. Because of their spiral nature, they may be disorientating and can potentially cause trips and falls. It is a good idea to make the railings more solid structures as a way to ensure that if anyone does end up losing their balance they are safe from falling off the edge of the staircase.

They are there for your safety but can also curate a very attractive spiral pattern for your interior.

Decorative Wrought Iron

Wrought Iron Railings for More Decorative Staircases

Wrought Iron Railings for More Decorative Staircases

If you’re redoing the entryway for your modern interior, then you should consider wrought iron railings. Handrailings tend to grab more attention in this more minimal visual set up and iron will certainly give your entryway some edge and character. Wrought iron is a very versatile material. Anything from fences to balcony railings can be made from wrought iron and it is highly customizable too.

Stainless Steel and Wire

Chic and Sturdy Stainless Steel Railings In a Modern Farmhouse Condo

Chic and Sturdy Stainless Steel Railings In a Modern Farmhouse Condo

Wire railings may sound a bit out of place at home since we’re so used to seeing them in schools and offices. But they are installed for a reason; they are very practical and unobtrusive. More complex railing designs can clog up the interior and turn into an eyesore. 

Steel and wire railings offer the same sturdiness but are more cost-effective to install, require very little maintenance, and can work very well in sleek modern interiors. When paired with  

Minimal Metal Railing

How More Is Less With Minimal Metal Railings

How More Is Less With Minimal Metal Railings

Contemporary minimalist design focuses on industrious practicality and utilitarianism. This is the design mentality behind minimalist metal railings that you may have spotted in loft or industrial interiors. They are nothing more than a few posts and banisters with almost no design features outside of a matte black finish. 

It is simple, practical, and sturdy — all ingredients you will find in modern loft and industrial interior aesthetics. 

Curved Banister Ends

Little Details that Can Add A Playful Touch to a Modern Traditional Entryway for Victorian or Gothic Interiors

Little Details that Can Add A Playful Touch to a Modern Traditional Entryway for Victorian or Gothic Interiors

Elegance is not only about the predominant features of the interior. Sure a crystal chandelier and gold-plated decorations are very elegant, but the devil is in the details. One of the most subtle notes of elegance you can include in your interior are curved ends to your banisters.

It’s a relatively small feature, but it is still quite impactful. It’s no surprise that breaking away from what is expected leaves an impression, and not having the banister stop at the end of the staircase does just that.

No Railing

The Homey Yet Adventurous Philosophy Behind Not Having Staircase Railings

The Homey Yet Adventurous Philosophy Behind Not Having Staircase Railings

This one seems like a bit of a cop-out as this design is based on the absence of any railing, to begin with. As convenient as railings may be, many homeowners make the stylist choice having one.

You’ll find this phenomenon in minimalist homes and it also speaks to the biophilic way of life. One fundamental element of biophilic design is the concept of danger. This does not mean lining your walls with spikes and barbed wire, but it does mean incorporating a few controlled risks. Not having a railing to use as support when going down the stairs means that people will be more careful when they are climbing up or down since they have nothing to depend on if they fall. This philosophy is meant to echo the unpredictability of being out in nature.

The lack of any railings also frees up a lot of visual space, making the interior look more open; a perfect addition for contemporary lofts and biophilic interiors.

A Retro Entryway, But Make It Accessible

Incorporating a Stairlift for A Retro Traditional and Accessible Staircase

Incorporating a Stairlift for A Retro Traditional and Accessible Staircase

If you live with a loved one whose accessibility and living needs require a few atypical design considerations, forget the misconception that appearance has to suffer. Accessible staircase railings for those in wheelchairs that manage to maintain elegance in design are possible and can be adapted to the aesthetic you prefer. 

AM

Written by
Alex Mikayelyan

Written by Alex Mikayelyan

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