Home interiors, like clothes, shoes and even cars, tend to evolve with the times as particular styles fall in and out of favour according to the fashion of the day. The same can be said, up to a point, of staircase design. Obviously, you can't change your stairs as easily as your decor, so it's important to pick the right style first time.
So what's hot and what's not in stair design at the moment? Here are five trends to look out for:
More than any other, this feature has seen a huge surge in popularity lately. Glazed stair balustrades are becoming increasingly sought-after as people look to maximise the feeling of light and space that they can bring to their surroundings. Although glass stair panels used to be mainly the preserve of modern homes, nowadays they are often used in traditional interiors to give a contemporary twist and boost the flow of natural light around the property.
Of course, you don't have to stop at the balustrade. If you really want to make your neighbours jealous, you can have the treads and risers made from glass for a stunning 21st century effect.
2. Clean lines
The general consensus in the field of interior design at the moment seems to be that less is more. In my line of work I have noticed a recent shift away from decorative stair balustrades to simpler, cleaner shapes. While ornate turned spindles, newels and caps are still selling well, there has been greater interest in sleek, minimalistic designs such as square and stop-chamfered styles.
As manufacturing techniques have improved over the years, the demand for curved stairs has been gradually rising. These staircases need quite a bit of space but can provide a wonderful focal point. With their classic flowing lines, they are suitable for modern and traditional homes alike. Spiral stairs, too, are proving popular - especially with owners of smaller properties, and those looking for a secondary staircase. They can still look stunning, but don't take up as much floor area.
4. Mix of materials
Another rising trend is blending different types of material together for an individual look, known as fusion (also popular with foodies!). When choosing a handrail you are probably best off sticking with timber, as this is the most comfortable material to grip. However, when it comes to the balustrade infill there is much more choice. As well as glass panels, you can experiment with spindles made from metal, wood or a combination of the two - and mix and match with glass if you want.
Metal spindles have become particularly popular lately, thanks to the wide variety of designs now available. Most are made from mild steel shaped to resemble wrought iron, which helps to keep both production costs and spindle weight to a minimum. You don't have to stick to just one style of metal spindle, either. Alternating two different designs can be a great way to give your stairs an individual touch.
As the square footage in new homes has generally shrunk over recent years, storage space has become an important issue. It's no surprise, then, that more home owners are asking for integral storage to help keep clutter out of sight. This can be achieved by fitting shelves or cupboards underneath the staircase, or even by incorporating drawers into the actual steps.
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