26 Staircase Railings That Make All The Difference

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Staircase design has come along in leaps and bounds since the days of beige, carpeted steps in your grandmother’s house. Suddenly risers have disappeared, stairs can float and the materials used to build these essential features have broadened substantially. Along with this design revolution the staircase railings themselves have also undergone a makeover.

26 Truly Iconic Staircase Railings To Make Your Stairs Pop

best staircase railings ideas

The railings act as the frame for the picture that are the steps, if you will. This framing could be a traditional metal framework or something a bit more extravagant and statement in unexpected colours and shapes that takes the overall staircase from everyday to something special.

You may be asking: Do staircase railings really make that much of a difference? Yes. And here is why:

1. Staircase Railings From Reclaimed Timber

A great combination of wooden railings and rustic style interiors

This chunky reclaimed timber railing fits in perfectly in this rustic setting. Its beautiful colour and texture acts as the background for the brown toned living room with a chunky timber coffee table and soft velvet chairs. The raw wooden element takes pride of place and is echoed throughout the space in the tables and front door. The cream wood paneled room is the perfect blank canvas that lets the room feel rustic without being dark and cave like.

2. Twisting Solid Spiral Staircase Railings

Art Nouveau railing

This modern spiral staircase is the true centre of this iconic home. The steps themselves are simple white treads with no risers between, the real showstopper for this staircase is the twisting railing. This doubled sided solid balustrade is constructed out of the wooden paneling on the inside, closest to the stairs while the outside appears to be made of one swirling piece of brushed metal. A traditional timber handrail has been fixed to the balustrade so it twists with the structure. The wood of the railing is the same timber that has been used for the columns and flooring to make this dramatic sculptural one with its surroundings.

3. Red Helical Staircase And Vertical Railing

Bright and interesting retro style staircase

This dramatic crimson, spiraled beauty in its cool grey settings makes this entranceway all about the staircase. The staircase has two different handrails the first is one tubular wall mounted rail that appears to be growing out of the grey floorboards with the second one lining the landing. The landing is protected by pale timber vertical planks connected to the outside of the stringer that contrasts against the bright red structure.

4. Canary Yellow Metal Railing

Bright railing and fusion style

This unusual set of black stairs has been paired with a bright yellow railing that contrast for visual beauty. The sunshine metalwork forms a graphic pattern through a number of elements that have been combined into one sleek design. A faceted handrail, flat curves and ovals and thin rods are juxtaposed in an artful matter to produce this pattern that repeats itself up the staircase. The statement colour is brought through into the room upstairs through a feature wall for added cohesion.

5. Simple Metal Framework

Due to the manufacturing features, stainless steel railing is very reliable and durable

This geometric stainless steel railing uses both square tubing and thin horizontal rods to create this stepped design that supports the stairs on one side. The stainless steel framework outlines the stair structure while holding up the tread on two little round feet so they are lifted above the framework in a very elegant manner. On every third step the square tubing wraps up and around the steps to form the essential vertical structural elements and anchor the thin horizontal steel bars. This design shows how some simple, mass produced items can be manipulated into something elegant and beautiful.

6. Dramatic Forged Staircase Railings

Forged railing on the stairs will get additional charm if you use the finish in the form of gold, silver or platinum

This lavish and ostentatious interior features a grand stone staircase with forged metal railing that refuses to be ignored. The dramatic design features layers of patterning: the simple gilded base layer, a curlicued centre with intricate floral details topped by a waving design that holds up the thick gold hand rail. The end post is where the real statements is made however. A huge golden ram’s head sits atop an ostentatious amalgamation of silver and swirls and layers of leaves that makes sure you know that this place is holding nothing back when it comes to luxury.

7. Invisible Railing On Floating Staircase

Glass fencing looks very stylish

This really sleek and modern staircase has a railing made of a glass wall that runs through the whole stairwell from the ground floor all the way to the first floor, which adds to the illusion of the magically floating staircase. This design lets the chunky, floating treads and landing stand out uninterrupted while still remaining safe.

8. Modern Glass Balustrade

Glass fencing will help to visually increase the room

This glass railing has used a similar technique to the last example that lets the modern floating timber staircase have its moment in the spotlight. The shorter glass panels are bolted to the outside of the wooden treads with big silver bolts that make a feature of the connections which is a classic feature of this design style. Instead of having a railing on the other side the blank wall has been used to incorporate some fun shelving to decorate the otherwise minimalistic look.

9. Glowing Blue Swirl Staircase Railings

High tech staircase with metal railing

This futuristic helical staircase glows like something alien inside this bright white room. The glowing frosted blue stair treads are wrapped in a pair of parallel twisting ribbons of metal that wrap around the column that twists elegantly at its centre. A delicate handrail sits on top to guide you up this out of this world staircase.

10. Simplistic Industrial Design

Loft Railing

This industrial style design uses steel and timber together to beautiful effect. The stringer that runs down the centre has supports welded along its length to hold up the timber treads with the simple steel balustrade welded to the outside. The metal framework is made up of thin vertical and horizontal elements rotated to match the angle of the stairs. Its minimalism fits the aesthetic down to a T and allows the staircase to become part of your room décor.

11. Striped Stairwell

Metal railing in a country style interior

This stair railing is a really simple design of thin horizontal stripes that look elegant and add a pattern through this plain white paneled stairwell. The shape of the dogleg stairs makes the stripes overlap and create a pattern in this otherwise stark space. This is a great example of how three simple parts: white paint, polished timber and basic metal can be brought together to create something beautiful while remaining understated.

12. Simple Railing On Dramatic Staircase

Metal railings are very popular.

This surreal staircase uses really simple horizontal elements as a stair railing is there purely to highlight the gorgeous shape of the gently spiraling staircase. The unique structure sits within this circular double volume space and uses the curve of the wall to dictate its snaking path to the mezzanine level. The balcony balustrade is the same design as the railing, which makes that and the staircase one fluid piece.

13. Sculptural Timber Spirals

Railing can become a central figure in the interior

This is more than just another timber spiral staircase. This gorgeous piece of usable sculpture consists of two layers of railings. The first is the handrail itself, which consists of five layers of apparently continuous pieces of timber that flow all the way up the stairs. This whole structure is wrapped the second layer, a sculptural swirl of gorgeous thin timber creating a tornado of wood running between the two floors. The staircase rises to the second storey through a massive hole cut in the middle of the ceiling. Through the stairwell you can see that the same balustrade as the first layer has been used around the hole in the floor and gives you a peak at the exposed beams of the ceiling above.

14. Black Netted Stairwell

Railing must comply with the style and comply with safety requirements.

This gorgeous stacked three storey stairwell is an elegant space saving stair design that also provides you with a super unique design feature that runs vertically through the whole space. The staircase itself is made of simple timber treads with no riser and two black stringers on each side. Since the staircase sits flush against the wall the balustrade on the other side can be something less sturdy but still safe. This permeable balustrade is made of one sheet of black mesh that falls down from the ceiling of the third floor all the way down to the ground floor, secured along each stringer to keep it taught.

15. Chunky Timber And Iron Balustrade

Rustic style wooden railing

This exposed stone stairwell with its chunky timber staircase is very medieval inspired, an aesthetic that is helped along by the medieval wall sconces and runs up through all three whole floors. The solid timber balustrade surrounds a panel of vertical iron bars that are sturdy and fit into the look perfectly. This design may take up more space and be really large but it is all worth it because it helps drive the aesthetic home and becomes a feature that you can use to design around.

16. Wrought Iron Decorative Staircase

Shod elements of a handrail look gracefully and subtly

This conservatory style dining room with a pitched glazed roof rendered in all white is a very modern room with a classic wrought iron helical staircase at its centre in a stark but beautiful contrast. The blue hued metal steps themselves are made of densely patterned treads and risers with a coordinated railing. The vertical elements that hold up the slim handrail sit two to a step alternating between decorative pieces with S shaped curlicues and one plain that breaks up the pattern and makes it beautifully delicate.

17. Helical Exterior Staircase Balustrade

Spiral staircase in a modern style.

This contemporary exterior is beautifully rich in texture using timber, glass and black steel in its façade. One of the stand out features to the black steel helical staircase that leads from ground floor to first floor and up onto the roof space. The stair railing is super simple with very thin vertical elements set far apart so the thicker tubing hand rail appears to hover and create a gently spiraling ribbon around the open stairwell.

18. Elegant Curving Metal Tubing

Stainless steel railings blend harmoniously into a modern interior

This iconic staircase takes pride of place in this lavish double volume space. A thick white stringer has notches cut into its bulk to hold up the thick timber treads that ascend in a gentle curve. The handrail is just as beautiful the silver metal tubing runs in a gentle arc from the floor up onto the first vertical post on both sides creating a dramatic entranceway to the staircase.

19. Elegant Intertwined Twists

staircase must harmoniously and naturally fit into the overall stylistic concept of the room

This startling helical staircase sits within a modern, brutalist space like a gorgeous timber sculpture. The central column is made of one stunning piece of twisted timber that the triangular treads radiate from. All of this timber finery is wrapped by one thick stringer of timber that the balustrade attaches itself to out of sight. The railing is incredibly simple, constructed out of black tubing with very sparse vertical elements holding up handrail so all the focus remains on the staircase itself.

20. Delicate Metal Lattice Work

Staircase with elegant art deco railing

This is the perfect example of how to make dated carpeted stairs more contemporary. The elegant steel balustrade is made of two elements; the black handrail and fence post and the grey lopping pattern that sits beneath it. The overlapping grey curves oppose one another to create this simple lattice that flows gently up the uniquely shaped staircase. The cylindrical balustrade post is made of vertical pieces around a thicker tubing ring that grounds the lightweight design in place. The balustrade has a similar pattern to that of the hallway and staircase carpet to tie the room together.

21. Black Exterior Helix

The presence of aggregates significantly increases the safety of movement on the stairs

Like example 17 this sea view property has a slack helical staircase attached to the outside of the house that leads you to the roof deck. The railing is a very simple design of closely spaced vertical rods with an elegant handrail that hovers above it. Using a design that is so pared back morphs into something beautiful and chic when placed around a central points without overwhelming the eye with detail. The black metal balustrade continues around the edge of the roof slab to make the exterior elegantly cohesive.

22. An Optical Illusion

Unusual staircase with glass railings in a modern interior

This gorgeous dogleg stair uses the classic combination of white and timber to achieve this contemporary aesthetic. The stairs have been stripped of a riser which allows the light that illuminates the staircase from above to cast rays of light into the dining room. This strategic lighting also plays a part is creating the optical illusion that the stair has no railing when, in fact, is it surrounded by sheets of thick beveled glass the disappears against white walls.

23. Weird Sci Fi Inspired Metal Balustrade

Very stylish railing in the form of spreading mercury

This unique balustrade resembles a molten metal rib cage that wraps around the stairs like a supernatural being out of a 70s sci fi movie. The oval stair treads are wedged into the spine with the ribs wrapping around their glossy surface to form the balustrade. As you get higher up the stairs curved glass panels have been set within the chrome metalwork for an added layer of safety.

24. Nautical Timber Staircase and Balustrade

Wooden railings will fit perfectly into the marine style.

This beautiful nautical room has two different types of handrails that are useful and enhance the aesthetic. On the wall side a thick draped rope has been hung against weathered looking timber paneling in a kitsch but cute way. The balustrade on the other side is a simple, white timber but placing the timber rods so close together makes the look more impactful and works with the woven treads on a white timber frame, all essential to the nautical look that this room pulls off effortlessly.

25. Wrought Iron Austere Glamour

Wrought iron railings perfectly emphasize the Mediterranean style

This curved floor to ceiling staircase features a show stopping detailed black wrought iron railing that curves around in this beautiful double volume space. The whole room is covered in marble, oozing glamour, so to have any chance of standing out in this austere space the balustrade has to really make a statement. To do this they have taken advantage of the delicate swoops and curls that this material brings to the party and lined both side of the staircase with it to break up the cream interior. The intricate wrought iron pattern runs onto the walkway of the mezzanine to pull this ostentatious space together.

26. Victorian Inspired Wrought Iron Railing

Wrought Victorian Stacked Staircase

Like the previous example, this large stairwell has used wrought iron to uplift this Victorian inspired space. The triplet of horizontal pieces frames the vertical elements that are where the magic happens. The vertical space is made up of three different features: plain straight rods are alternated with those with twisting centres and panels of gorgeous curlicues to break up the monotony. The balustrade post is made up of a column of curling iron pieces sitting on top of a timber base that anchors the design in place. Timber accents from furniture and stair edging that sits underneath the Victorian railing brings the space together from floor to ceiling..

Conclusion

As you can see, staircase railings really can make or break the style of your stairs. A simple set of wooden or carpeted steps can be jazzed up by the right choice of balustrade and enhance your interior design overall.

From timber to metal to thin sheets of glass, just about any material can be used to create the most beautiful staircase railings that kick your aesthetic up a notch. So the next time you’re out and about spare a moment to notice the railings to the staircase you’re ascending and appreciate the art behind the humble everyday feature.

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