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Beautiful bannisters & balustrades

Beautiful bannisters & balustrades

A staircase is more than just the steps you tread on. In homes across the UK, beautiful bannisters are transforming the humble staircase into an architectural feature. From slim metal spindles to transparent glass panels, choose a balustrade to boost your staircase style.

What’s the difference between a banister and balustrade?

A balustrade typically refers to a row of posts (balusters) resting on a footing like the steps and topped by a handrail. Meanwhile a bannister is the handrail on the side of staircase. Confused? Don’t worry, the terms are used interchangeably as they mean almost the same thing.

Banisters provide safety and stability; they stop us falling off the stairs but have other benefits too. Banisters can inject a shot of style and craftsmanship into a home. Whether you’re building a new staircase or renovating an existing one, here are some design ideas and inspiration.

Sweeping staircase

Most of us can only dream of a sweeping staircase like this in our homes – it looks like a beautiful sculpture. But this example illustrates how a staircase can have a starring role in our homes – not matter how big or small. A combination of white stone steps teamed with shapely black metal balusters and polished wood handrail, bring elegance and drama. For an extra shot of glamour, the hall has cream limestone flooring with black inlay.

Sweeping Staircase

Image supplied by Pro Vision, staircase by Chesneys

Glass balustrade

Glass is a contemporary take on the traditional wooden panels and handrails found on so many staircases. While toughened glass banisters might seem more suited to modern homes, they can also help bring older properties up to date.

In this renovation project, a staircase of black metal adds to the softly industrial look. The combination of open treads with simple glass balustrade gives the whole space an airy feel. The handrail is made from European white oak but stained pale grey to match the stair treads and flooring upstairs, said Adam Taylor of First Step Designs, which supplied the customised staircase.

Glass Balustrade

Image supplied by First Step Designs

Curved staircase

Glass can work without a handrail if taken up to the ceiling and can be bent and shaped to fit any space, even a spiral staircase. This curved glass banister looks wonderfully fluid and allows the light to flow through the home too. It’s topped with a white oak handrail, but alternative options include steel. On the downside, glass panels show every smudge and fingerprint, so need regular cleaning.

Curved Staircase

Image supplied by First Step Designs

Keep it simple

By designing a neat staircase in this barn conversion, without fussy spindles or posts, attention focuses instead on the original timbers which stand out against the neutral surfaces and plain carpeted treads. This simple, minimal design lets the characterful timbers shine.

Simple Staircase

Image supplied by Pro Vision

Solid wood

The solid oak panelled surround which matches the carved balustrade gives a bespoke, luxurious look to this staircase in a refurbished former farmhouse dating from the 18th century. Teamed with limestone flooring and crisp white walls, the traditional staircase feels beautifully up to date.

Solid wood staircase

Image supplied by Pro Vision

Quality materials

This cantilevered stone staircase is the centrepiece of a new build country house designed by Pro Vision architects. Carved from solid limestone with slender steel balustrades and walnut handrail, it’s classy and elegant.  A sculptural twist in the newel post adds traditional detail. All the fine craftsmanship can be appreciated as the staircase, supplied by Chesneys, soars to a first-floor landing lit by rooflights.

Cantilevered staircase

Image supplied by Pro Vision, staircase by Chesneys

Painted balustrades

Carved wooden spindles are a feature of period properties, but they can be given a modern look with a coat of paint, including ever-popular white. Teamed with a neutral shade carpet, this staircase with a built-in bookshelves on the galleried landing creates a bright and airy core to this new-build family home.

Painted Balustrades

Image supplied by Pro Vision

Choose metalwork

Metal balustrades can be ornate design or simple. Here the streamline metal spindles let light pour through the open plan kitchen-dining-living space, creating a cool, contemporary look. The European white oak treads on the staircase contrast nicely with the gun metal grey balustrade.

When choosing a material and design for your staircase balustrade, it’s not just about looks. Cost, durability and everyday practicality should factor in your decision-making too. We’ve shown you some beautiful examples to help inspire your style selection. A clever architect can advise you too.

Steel Spindle Staircase

Image Supplied by First Step Designs