Balustrades are extremely important.
Not only do they serve as a vital safety function, they’re also crucial to design and can be used to really make your staircase pop or, alternatively, make a subtle statement that works well with your décor.
Although you might not think it, the finer details are what help bring everything together. You need to think carefully about materials, colours and styles; your decisions will either make or break your entire aesthetic.
With all the options out there, it can be difficult to know where to start, so here’s some top tips on designing your ideal balustrade.
What is a balustrade?
Balustrades are structures that enclose a staircase on one or both sides and commonly consist of handrails, spindles (or balusters), base rails and newel posts.
Together, these parts form a railing or wall that’s designed to prevent any accidents from happening, like people falling down or off the stairs.
There are so many things you can do with these different parts, especially in terms of materials and colour.
As the name suggests, and as you likely already know, this is the part you hold onto while climbing or descending the steps.
It sits on top of the spindles or glass, depending on the type of balustrade being installed, or it can be used as a standalone part mounted to a wall – if you’re looking for something to instantly modernise your stairs and make the room feel more spacious, this will be perfect.
For something simple but very effective, you could opt for an oak handrail and combine this with silver or dark grey end caps – helping you create another very attractive, modern aesthetic.
The options are endless, and you’re bound to find something you love.
Spindles, also known as balusters, support the handrail, and are what stops people from slipping through the space between the handrail and the steps themselves.
When making the final decision for your spindles, it’s best to opt for something with longevity, both in terms of the hardiness of the material and the type of design. Both wood and metal make for an excellent choice.
Wood for example is highly versatile and can be sourced in a huge variety of interesting tones and visual textures, making it an extremely popular choice.
With wooden stair spindles, its not uncommon for people to use the natural appearance of the wood with a finish or polish that enhances its existing features, but stained or painted wood is widely used too.
You’ll also be able to choose from a multitude of options when it comes to the design in which they’ll be carved that’ll give your balusters an extra flourish. Homeowners rarely choose bold or unusual colours or shapes, but if it’s done right, they can be very effective.
Base rails serve the same purpose as handrails, only they run at the bottom of your staircase.
Essentially, they lock your spindles in place – no matter if you choose wood, metal or even glass panels.
When you’re thinking of your staircase design, a base rail is likely to be miles from your thoughts – although its only a small component of the design process, it’s still extremely important and can add the perfect finishing touch to your balustrade.
Base rails are available in a selection of soft and hard woods, so you can select a finish to complement the rest of your staircase design as well as your décor.
A newel post is the upright post that sits at the top and/or bottom of the balustrade to support a staircase banister and secure the entire staircase.
Not only do they give a balustrade structure and strength, but they also offer the perfect opportunity to add a decorative touch to your stairway.
Newel posts can vary in design, from traditional to contemporary, to reflect the style of your staircase and interior décor and they’re available in a huge range of materials – oak, pine and hemlock being among some of the most popular choices.
They can be complete posts or consist of three separate elements, including a newel base, the post itself and a newel cap.
As well as choosing the type of newel post you want, you’ll also have to decide on the materials and shape that’s right for your home, and there’s a world of options available.
Designing your ideal balustrade has never been simpler
If you’re new to home renovations, you might have next to no idea where to start when it comes to your stairs – there’s an overwhelming number of options available, and it can be difficult to decide.
One wrong material, shape or colour can make or break the entire look of your staircase and completely ruin the rest of your interior.
With the help of a professional fitter, you can draw on their knowledge and experience to guide you and make the best decision.