Great Ways to Update Your Railings and Stairs

Stairs are such an important part of your renovation. It’s a topic that comes up on all my projects — well, at least the ones with multiple floors. Whether you have the budget to rebuild your stairs or just refinish them, this is a part of your home that shouldn’t be ignored. Here are some ideas to consider when tackling your stairs.

  1. One of the most cost-effective ways to update an older staircase is to refinish it. It’s amazing how you can transform your stairs by painting the risers (the vertical portion of the stair) the same color as your trim, and refinishing the treads ( the horizontal portion of the stair). Don’t forget to update the railing by painting the balusters and refinishing the handrail. This is a more traditional look seen here, but you can easily make it contemporary by choosing a modern carpet runner.
  2. The least expensive way to update stairs, whether new or old, is to paint all surfaces (railings, treads and risers). Contrasting colors, such as the black and white seen here, create instant drama.
  3. Another budget-worthy approach is to clad your stairs with new risers and treads. You can go right on top of the existing stairs without the expense of tearing out and rebuilding. This is also an opportunity to change the look from traditional to more modern if you like.
  4. Another fantastic way to spruce up a traditional or modern staircase is by bringing in a new material for the balusters. Adding iron or steel to the railing can change the entire look and character of your stairs.
  5. I’m personally a fan of glass railings and guards, but there are a few things to consider when going this route. First, the glass will show fingerprints, so if you’re a stickler for neatness, you’ll have to clean the glass regularly. Also, it’s not enough to just have a glass railing. You’ll need a handrail on top of it, so consider the options for accomplishing that and how it will look.
  6. This is a popular look for modern spaces. I absolutely love it, but in my Canadian province it’s against code to construct a railing like this. That’s because it’s easy for a young child to climb this type of railing or guard, so keep that in mind if you’re contemplating this look. If you have young children, you may want to choose a different option.
  7. A way around the hazards of a horizontal railing is a railing that goes all the way up to the ceiling, so that no one can climb over it. The railing wall also creates a beautiful and dramatic backdrop to its adjoining room.

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