Jazz up your staircase

Jazz up your staircase

Elegant staircases add a unique look to the decor and can even define one’s style, says DBN Murthy.

In most houses, staircases are mainly functional, and hence not much attention is given to the aesthetics. They can, in fact, be made attractive in several ways.

The internal staircase is not merely a structure connecting two floors. It could define one’s style and enhance the interior décor. The design of a staircase could be unique with the use of attractive materials and design for railings. Proper utilisation of space is important as a staircase should not occupy too much space.

For smaller spaces, a straight or L-shaped staircase is preferred. Spiral or helical type saves space but steps could be too high. The internal staircase could be of several designs to suit the interior and enhance the aesthetics. Some prefer a wooden staircase for elegance while others like concrete ones enhanced by lightly polished, coloured granite stones for steps. A few like curved or elliptical shape for stairs for a unique and attractive look. The steps should be of standard height, neither too low nor too high.

Generally, a steel staircase is the last choice for any home owner unless it is leading up to a terrace. Suitable landings are desirable for ease of climbing and descending. Paintings and art work can be fixed along the walls adjacent to the staircase, enhancing aesthetics. Elegant lighting fixtures add to the look. Even a carpet fixed on the steps looks good. Built-in shelves under the staircase can be used to hold household items. A book shelf or knick-knack stand may be designed to fit into the available space. The approach to a staircase should be uncluttered.

Proper maintenance of staircase is necessary for safety and cleanliness. Clean it daily and use a wet cloth once a week. In case of stains, water with vinegar could be used and then a wet cloth followed by dry cloth. Any problem, such as loose steps and broken railing should be attended to promptly.

Painting the staircase railings and metal parts once in about five years should suffice. Wooden parts of a staircase need to be polished. Staircases on the outdoors need to withstand the vagaries of rain and sun and should last long. So, choose one of either concrete or steel depending on your needs.

There are several designs available for a steel staircase, like a spiral one. The important factors to consider are strength and durability. However, once a concrete structure is designed and built, it needs little maintenance except painting periodically. Adequate landings should be provided to make ascent and descent easier. Sidewalls of sufficient height on a staircase are not only for safety but also for providing support.

It is advisable to have an overhead cover over the stairs so that one could use the staircase during rainy days too.  However, this could hamper movement of heavy furniture and domestic equipments on the staircase, unless sufficient height is maintained for the overhead cover. The staircase, whether made of concrete or metal, needs painting to prevent deterioration, as well as for aesthetic reasons. Choose an eye-pleasing colour to enhance the looks. It is necessary to install lighting so that even during the night the staircase could be used without any problem.

A calling bell at the entrance gate would be useful. An entrance gate may be provided to the staircase with lock for safety. The landing area should be clear.