How to Make Your Staircase the Prettiest Place in the Entire House

Hooray! Your home has a feature staircase. Crap! You haven’t the slightest clue what to do with it. Relax. We asked our designer friends to share their favorite tricks.

How to Make the Most Of A Nonfunctional Fireplace

how to decortae staircase runner
Studio. Life. Style

Add A Unique Runner

Installing a runner is the ultimate trick to making a staircase feel finished and focal. And when it comes to selecting runners, why not go for boldly out of the ordinary? “We love the idea of sewing together small kilim rugs to create a unique, one-of-a-kind rug or runner,” says the team at Studio.LIFE.STYLE. We mean, same. Swoon.

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Dehn Bloom Design, John Ellis

Use Two-tone Paint On Your Stairs

For an easy, inexpensive visual update, look no further than a high-contrast paint job, says Allison Bloom of Dehn Bloom Design. "Often ignored as a mere transition space, stair flights provide vertical and horizontal planes which look fantastic painted in glossy contrasting colors." Indeed, they do.

how to decortae staircase buitins
Marie Flanigan Interiors

Invest In Built-in Bookshelves

How beautiful is this setup, to say nothing of the extra storage space it offers? “Built-in shelving allows you to display treasures that would otherwise clutter up your living spaces,” gushes Marie Flanigan. “Plus, visiting guests can enjoy the view (and grab a book or two) as they head up to settle in for the evening!" (A word to the wise: Custom shelving comes with a custom price. So plan to save up a grand or two, or scrimp by getting your DIY on.)

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Massucco Warner Miller

Craft A Small Seating Area

Sneaking in a small settee or pair of chairs beneath a staircase not only adds fun fabric and texture to the area—it also provides a useful perch to take off your shoes or drop your work bag. “Use every possible opportunity to create beautiful vignettes, even in limited square footage,” insist the designers at Massucco Warner Miller.

how to decortae staircase plants
Jenny Kirschner

Add Plantings

Greenery is always a good idea—especially for filling wonky white space. "For awkward spaces where a piece of furniture doesn't fit or isn't appropriate, I love using plants, flowers or other natural materials,” says Jenny Kirschner. “They add such drama to otherwise forgotten corners."

how to decortae staircase balustrades
Elizabeth Bomberger; Reagan Wood for Homepolish

Switch Out Your Balusters

Fact: Rad new handrails are the absolute coolest way to customize a staircase. "If you're in a position where you can renovate, consider different materials and patterns for the railing and balusters," suggests the team at Charlotte William Interiors. "Anything from brass to acrylic to industrial metals is a great way to add character and personality."

how to decortae staircase statement
Alexander Design Guild; Jen Crawley

Rock A Statement Accessory (or Two)

Consider this your opportunity to show off that oversize art piece that’s been hiding in the basement. Or to splurge on the snazzy chandelier you’ve been coveting. “I love to use the ceiling height provided by a staircase to draw the eye up with statement lighting and dramatic art,” says Vanessa Alexander of Alexander Design Build.