Sheila Rich Interiors: Design Blog

Helpful tips and suggestions on designing your interior.

The Ups and Downs of Staircases


Foyer circular staircase"Upstairs, Downstairs", "below stairs", the famous sweeping staircase of Gone with the Wind. Stairs have historically been used for so many things: to represent socio-economic divide in Victorian/Edwardian household, as plot/scene tools in movies, and as grand entrances for brides. So much of life has been described with "stairs" being the critical factor, yet many homeowners who put a lot of thought and money into designing their rooms forget that the staircase is an important feature as well.

More than just a means of moving from one floor to the next, a staircase makes as much of a first impression on guests - and potential buyers - as a foyer.

With the right treatment, a staircase can take on a sculptural look, as with this sweeping circular staircase that seems to float up from the ground floor. During the planning phase of building this home, we changed its design from a split stairwell with a small landing to a seamless, gracefully curved oak staircase, creating a wow entrance foyer with fluidity and motion. Although this focal point has a huge presence in the entry, it has an open feel because there are no risers or clunky supports underneath. The open space also allows other important pieces of furniture to be seen from the entry.

Staircase double sidedSometimes a staircase can serve double duty. This staircase allows access from two different areas - the kitchen and the entryway - making it convenient, attractive, and a bit unique. The pattern in the stair runner is coordinated with the entryway area rug and the upstairs hallway, warming the spaces. If your home has back stairs, treat them more casually than the staircase in the main foyer, but still make sure to coordinate them with the overall color scheme of the house. (One thing to remember is that stair carpeting takes a lot of abuse, so it might be necessary to update it more often than carpeting in other areas of the house.)

You may even find that an entire area of your home takes on a more updated look by just giving the staircase the attention it deserves. If the staircase can be seen from the living room, dining room, or any other common spaces, its appearance impacts the overall look of those rooms, too. So don’t ignore your staircase; use it to enhance the space it’s in!



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