Monday, 15 June 2015

Beautifying the Staircases

Staircases are not just a transit connecting two floors. With creativity they could be transformed into the most appealing part of a home's decor. Staircases in their wide varieties of form and design become the cynosure of everybody entering a home. They look attractive because of the material used to construct them. At times the embellishments used to enhance their form cause astonishment. The extent of creativity in a mind reflects in the staircase and it gets transformed into an arresting and appealing piece of structure in a home. The aspects of the staircase that could be creatively shaped are the risers and treads, the adjacent walls, railings and the ceiling.

The Floor

Staircases are invariably built of strong and durable materials like reinforced cement and finished with aesthetic coverings like granite and marble. Sometimes, the steps can be surfaced with a less expensive alternative like mosaic, kota stone or kadappa and overlaid with carpeting for a luxurious look. Though carpets could be replaced easily, they are difficult for maintaining in cool climates.

The Walls

In most of the cases, a staircase is built adjacent to a wall and getting support from it. This wall portion can be efficiently used to make the staircase cabin attractive by following some methods:

- The wall colour can be a dramatic shade to draw attention to this area. Textured paint or wallpaper give depth and dimension to an otherwise monotonous stretch of flat surface.

- This wall space can be literally turned into a canvas where patterns using small painting could be created. Pictures drawn or wall-hung sculptures could be placed.

- Lighting can be focused on the artifacts displayed on the staircase wall. A series of spotlights will enhance the appeal.

- During the planning stage of the house itself, niches could be created in the wall and they be lined with granite which can be used to display figurines or to light lamps and candles.

- When the staircase cabin has an external wall, interesting windows could be incorporated with etched and stained glass or even glass blocks. These due to their translucent nature permit diffused light into this area.

- Above a level of 8 feet small glass, stone or wooden shelves supported on carved wooden or metal filigree brackets can be used to support miniature pots with trailing fern plants or vines.

The Mid-landing

Staircases invariably have a mid-landing as a structural necessity. This spot can be creatively altered into an interesting ambience. There is enough scope to that. If the landing is wide enough pot, statues, and lamps can be placed in the corners. The window opening can have a box planter on the outside to provide a colourful view of flowers from the staircase. The opening can be dressed with silk and organza blinds, scallops on pelmets and drapes till floor level. Here also, focused lighting will bring out the best of the creative elements used.

The Railings

The railings are the element that needs to have strength for support and beauty for visual impact. The markets have a variety of materials utilizing which a railing can be fabricated to suit any budget or any decor.

Railings comprise of a handrail or coping supported on balusters or vertical members running the length of the stairs.

The balustrade can be designed to complement the general ambience and it could be made of cast iron, mild steel, wood, aluminium or power-coated metal. Exclusive designs can be crafted from glass, brass, marble and even simple construction materials like exposed bricks.

The Ceiling

The roof of the staircase cabin is usually sloped so as to reduce the volume of space created by its height. Normally painted, this roof area of the staircase can be treated in many ways.


The soffit of the roof can be covered with wooden panels and rafters which creates warmth and only wood imparts this warmth.

Hanging chandeliers and using uplighting will draw attention to this area. Proper use of lighting will remove the feeling of being inside closed and cramped spaces.


The space of joint of the roof and wall can be made to look attractive by the judicious use of cement plaster, wooden and moulded plaster of paris cornices the run along the angle. These ornamental mouldings could be highlighted by the enhancement of their carved profile with the use of textured paint and glazed tile mosaic.

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