Tips on sprucing up your stairwell

14 Mar 2013

Have you ever looked at the staircase in your house and been put off by its standard blandness? While stairwells have become an integral structure in many homes, not all of them scream style.

Painting the steps a bold, vibrant colour set against a neutral background will make them pop.

You don’t have to be an interior designer or a handyman to get your stairwell looking its best. Using a pot of paint and a few stencils, you can create a look that works for you and fits your home's style.

Taking bold steps

Make the steps stand out by painting them a bold colour and leave the rest of the stairwell neutral. This effect won't distract the viewer from any décor on the walls, such as family photographs, art or a statement mirror.

You can choose to cover the face of the stairs in textured or printed wallpaper. This will make them pop and creates an air of sophistication, especially with a solid or dark colour on the balustrade.

Tip: Give your stairwell a coastal feel by painting each bar of the balustrade a different shade of the same colour, such as sea green and sky blue.

FItting small LED lights into the wall beside each step or simply placing battery operated tea lights up the stairwell will make them easier to see and lessen the chances of a nasty fall.

Get your message across by painting your stairs with chalkboard paint and leaving notes for your family. This is a great way to remind kids of their chores as they make their way upstairs, or to let the household know what the plans are for the day.

Fill your home with inspiration by stencilling inspirational quotes, messages or song lyrics onto the face of each step. When you take a step back and look at the whole picture, it gives the stairwell a unique twist and will make it 'one of a kind.'

Tip: Make the steps easy to see in the dark by hanging fairy lights on the balustrade, placing battery operated tea lights on each step or fitting lights into the side of the stairwell.

You could choose to stencil less 'in your face' designs by opting for flowers or simple Celtic designs and geometric shapes. These motifs look great against a white or pale background and are an effective way of bringing your attention to the steps, lessoning the chances of an accident.

For a safer look you can paint a runner down the stairs. No one will really notice the difference and it is easier to keep clean than a conventional carpet.

Dealing with wasted space

Depending on what kind of stairwell you have, you may find there is free space underneath it that proves cumbersome to fill.

Tip: If your stairs are very deep or go quite far back, you can incorporate them into mini shelves and line them with books.

Pairing woods with royal colours such as blues, greens and reds can give your stairwell a sophisticated look.

The most obvious space-saving solution would be to fit a set of shelves to make a built-in bookcase or a few cupboards to hide away bed linen and towels. However, depending on the size of your home, you can use that space to house important things such as your refrigerator or design a tall cupboard for your ironing board.

You can also create shelves and nooks for your family to hang their coats, shoes and school bags, as well as store mail and keys. Or build a small office space by slotting a desk under the stairs and complete the look with a modern desk chair.

Use that space to create a reading sanctuary by fitting in a small window seat and overhead light. Save even more space by building drawers into the bottom of the seat and small shelves on the side. Then toss a few cushions on top and snuggle down for a good read. Victoria Taylor

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