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Add Interest with an Artful Staircase Design

Use your home's staircase to make a grand entrance. See how these railings, risers, and balusters blend art and function to create beautiful architectural details.

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    Everything in this slideshow

    • The Long, Winding Rail

      This serpentine staircase blends wood, metal, and drywall. The ironwork on the railings creates a focal point for the room while also drawing the eye up to the next level.

    • Back to the Future

      A modern home calls for a modern staircase. This metal and glass version looks cool, yet creates an inviting transition between floors. One-of-a-kind touches, such as glass panels instead of cast baluster uprights and a slight curve as it ascends, make this staircase stand out.

    • Tall, Dark, and Handsome

      Classic elements such as wood and iron can still be eye-catching. Dark wood stairs and a hand-hammered iron balustrade command attention as they move between floors.

    • A Little Twist

      The tricky part of building a twisting stairwell is not the steps, it's making a smooth transition between floors. Here, plasterers created a smooth underside of the staircase that seems to spiral upward effortlessly.

    • Disappearing Acts

      Although this floating staircase appears to lack support, it's actually a strong, stable design. Each step was built as an individual box, then the steps were stacked and joined.

    • Best of Both Worlds

      It's a little bit country. Chunky hunks of fir have been attached to an industrial steel staircase to create a big-city look.

    • Pearly Whites

      This versatile set of stairs has treads stained deep brown and risers dressed with milk-white paint. Keep the stairs looking good longer by choosing the right finish. Choose a paint that promises a scuff-free surface and use a highly durable clear finish over the stain. The harder the shell, the longer you can wait between refinishing projects.

    • Walking on Air

      Maximize natural light in a room by choosing an open design. Built without view-blocking risers between the treads, this freestanding staircase creates an airy feel within this contemporary home.

    • Fancy Fretwork

      Specialty fretwork adorns the spaces between balusters, giving a lift to anyone ascending this staircase. Although the crafted inserts don't fulfill any structural necessity, they add architectural interest to the space.

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      Solid Statement

      A newel stands at the base of a staircase and must be strong enough to stabilize an entire assembly of handrails that climbs upward. Because newels are often positioned near the entry of houses, these posts have a decorative assignment as well.

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      Avoiding the Pits

      A pair of cherries seems ripe as they hang just under the handrail. This simple bangle proves the "less is more" adage. By adding only a bit of ornamentation to the balustrade, this fret piece makes a statement.

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      A Touch of Class

      For traditional-style homes, the tightly tailored look of a classic white-and-wood-tone stairwell is often the best choice. Here, simple square baluster uprights are perked up with a line of white stringers running beneath the natural wood handrails.

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      Ancient Flare

      These filigree iron balusters leave much of the structural work to the less-ornate rods that are also part of the balustrade. The ancient Greek and Roman floral motif added a classic flare to the staircase.

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      Less Is More

      A line of embellished metal shafts gives stairs visual presence. The simple design adds support and interest to any home.

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