Whether you intend to install a completely new balustrade system in the home or want to update an existing system, there are now many choices to be made and different solutions to be considered.
The choice of handrail that you make can come down to a wide variety of deciding factors, but whichever you go for it can have a significant impact on the overall style of your home.
Timber, stainless steel, glass or wire rope balustrade systems are all popular choices today no matter what type of property you live in or what period its construction dates from. Indeed, sometimes using the most modern and contemporary designs in a period setting can have the maximum impact.
Ultimately something as relatively simple as choosing a style of handrail can have a great effect on the entire interior design scheme, so what exactly are the choices and what do you need to consider before making your own?
Size and positioning
The size of your property can dictate the size of the stair and balustrade system but the positioning also has a large say in the overall effects you can achieve. Whilst most older properties have a timber staircase and railings attached to a wall, modern designs and construction methods mean that this is no longer a given when it comes to interior layouts.
With bold decisions and the use of glass and wire materials, both natural and artificial lighting can be use to maximum effects by placing stairs and balustrades in unusual and inventive locations.
There are no restrictions when it comes to the width of a staircase and of course the balustrades themselves are open to a great deal of artistic licence when it comes to design and implementation.
Of course staircases themselves aren't limited to one form factor even in their most traditional styles. Straight, turned and even spiral staircases can be found in a wide range of homes from many different eras and usually where they are located in the interior or exterior of a home will dictate the arrangement to a greater or lesser extent.
When turns are required in a staircase the usual solution is to split the flight in two and connect them with a 90 quarter turn landing, although a 180 turn is known as a half landing. Steps that turn corners whilst climbing one flight are called 'winders' and are often used to navigate 90 turns too.
Spiral staircases are an option when space is limited and in older properties can often be found as a solution for entry to loft spaces.
So the existing or planned staircase and balustrade set up largely defines the choice of handrails and in effect the decisions about both need to be made in tandem if you are starting from scratch.
For existing set-ups, fitting new balustrades from modern materials in contemporary designs can give new live to tired traditional stairs and have many other positive benefits too.
Minimalist set-ups utilising glass and steel can bring with them far lower maintenance and cleaning levels that traditional wooden-pole style banisters, and various options for enhanced lighting effects mean that different moods can be set and atmospheres created.
The effect of a different choice of materials for handrails can literally range from simply being a subtle finishing touch right through to becoming a bold and striking interior design statement.
Timber is a traditional material and by choosing it for a handrail you can complement an existing installation and give a sympathetic styling for a period property.
Wooden staircases for traditional homes can be substantial affairs and handrails can be as simply or as ornate as you would like. Wood is a strong, versatile material that is easy to work with and this is why it is such a popular choice.
Glass staircases allow light to flow easily around a space and also give an extremely contemporary and cutting edge flavour to any design scheme. Of course you don't need a full glass installation in order to make glass handrails work, as a new balustrade system fitted to an existing traditional timber staircase can showcase the benefits of both the old and new at the same time.
Acrylic solutions can achieve similar effects for a lower outlay but can suffer the tests of time slightly more than a glass solution.
Metal materials used to have a purely industrial aesthetic when it comes to interiors, but today the use in domestic settings has become far more popular and once again can give a breath of fresh air to an older property or bring out the full strengths of a contemporary design.