Have you always loved the elegant staircases you see in movies, maybe from when you first saw Cinderella? Sure, some of them just aren’t feasible in the average home. The dimensions of a Gone with the Wind style staircase won't fit in most homes. But you can still enjoy these grand beauties and get inspiration for your own staircase.
You don't need a foyer the size of Montana to enjoy an elegant staircase that's more impressive than the one you've got. Think about your home's style and the scale you have to work with. Even if the space doesn't allow a broad expanse of stairs, you can still create an entryway that's warm and welcoming. (Read: Front Doors and First Impressions)
Paneled Walls Deliver Elegant Staircases
It's all about the details, and wood paneled walls take an ordinary staircase and turn it into something extraordinary. Trim like this might overwhelm a smaller entryway if it's stained dark, or even if it's a lighter oak that's left natural. But with white paint, you still have all of the architectural details while keeping an open, cheery space.
This entryway works because it successfully blends a clean, bright appearance with substantial details. Light colors on the walls make the space inviting, while the trim and accessories anchor the room. Large pieces such as a dark sideboard, twin seating, and large rug add the right balance to the white paint.
You can add paneled walls to nearly any entryway and staircase. In fact, there are trim kits available at most big box stores that make details like this a job that you can do in a weekend or two.
Two-Toned Paint Puts the Focus on the Staircase
In some homes, the staircase just isn't all that grand, and the design doesn't allow room for large details. (Read: Stairs and Building Codes) But you can still pull the staircase into focus and make it an integral part of your entryway using paint to trick the eye.
If the entryway is all the same color, a plain staircase can easily get lost in the background. This is true, even if you go all out with a new stair runner, fresh paint, or even if you strip down the staircase and refinish the wood. If its location doesn't stand proud in the space, you can make it prominent by using a lighter shade of paint on the walls surrounding the staircase.
Iron Railings for Elegant Staircases
There's nothing quite like a grand staircase with iron railings. These aren't your ordinary, exterior-grade curly iron details. They're specially designed for interior stairs, and they add a touch of elegance to almost any staircase, large or small.
Some iron work looks too ornate for a home that doesn't sit in New Orleans. But no matter, there are nearly as many styles as there are homes to use them in. Iron work can be twisted like scrollwork, or it can be sleek like the straight lines in a modern home. Iron on a wood staircase adds old-world charm. But in a modern home, the clean lines of iron posts and railings complement everything from glass stairs to industrial-chic, wood floating stairs.
Iron work is inherently dark, so you'll want to both complement and balance it with the other details in the entryway. Lighter shades surrounding the iron lets the details stand out. And a few dark artistic pieces, from mirror frames to statues, add balance, so the iron doesn't appear to be out of place.
A Two-Toned Grand Staircase is a Classic
Darker stair treads and white risers are one of the most classic and elegant staircases, a combination that works in many homes. One of the great things about this look is that you've got the depth of color on the treads and railings, but the white add the right amount of brightness to the entryway to prevent a heavy, bulky look.
This is a beautiful way to refurbish an older, existing staircase. Stripping off years of old paint is an enormous chore, and one that might not yield the results you'd hoped for. But with only the treads and banisters showing wood grain, you still get the wood accent with less than half the work. You can opt for black and white paint, if stripping old paint isn't something high on your list of things to do.
A staircase like this is also a great candidate for a carpet runner. Runners should cover approximately 2/3 the width of the stair tread or more. This gives a balanced look with some of the tread exposed and plenty of space for foot traffic to stay on the carpet.
Grand staircases and entryways aren't just for exclusive homes in high-end neighborhoods. Almost any home can be improved upon using the same elements, just on a different scale.
Is your entryway and staircase bland and uninspiring? Fall is a great time for projects, so maybe it's time to think about ways to help make yours shine.