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  • Writer's pictureDesigner James Treble

The Floating Staircase

Choosing the right staircase for your home can be a difficult and daunting exercise depending upon your house design, personal taste and of course your budget. There are so many styles to consider, such as solid wooden or marble stairs which can be very elegant and will create a feeling of grandeur and add great value to your home. Maybe modern lines may be required for your contemporary home, or an architectural statement is what you may be looking for.

Whichever design you end up selecting, the staircase is in most cases the first thing you see when you enter the home, and a tell-tale of your taste and design talents. You must choose what’s right for your home based upon its characteristics and style, as no matter how large your home or budget not all of those fancy designs will work, and if space is tight and light flow is an issue, then clever options such as a floating staircase may be well worth including, regardless of the higher price tag.

Let's start from the beginning. First we have the treads, the parts we walk on when we go up and down the stairs. The risers are the parts we see when we look at the staircase front on, and they sit in between the treads. On the sides are the structural components of the staircase, called the stringers, the treads and the risers are usually engaged into these. Next are the vertical posts, and they hold the handrail on top, and between the posts are the balusters. Each of these components come with many options varying the look, feel and cost of your staircase.

The floating staircase design is called so because the treads just ‘appear’ to float, as they are not connected on either side into a stringer and there are no risers. The floating staircase is perfect for smaller spaces as it less intrusive visually and allows light to flood through and into the home.

The impression of a floating staircases can be partial or total, where the stringer is positioned in the middle (known as a spine) or it may not be visible, meaning the treads are connected into the wall. This option looks amazing but comes at a higher cost due to the engineering required as well as the structural steel imbedded into the wall itself. This can be an expensive exercise, but one that will also add a real WOW factor to your home, so for the right property and location it's well worth the cost and will add a great amount of value.

To help make the room appear more spacious, the railing can also be made less visible by choosing thin reflective steel or glass. Stainless steel reflects light and may help add a little bling, while glass offers the lightest appearance and a cutting edge look, but it's your budget that will have the final word about this choice as well as the property style.

Due to the fact that a new staircase for your home comes with so many possible styles and materials, choosing one you will be happy with, requires you to do your homework. I always recommend visiting Display Home Village to see the latest designs up close and and in person, and it's well worth getting inspired by images in magazines or online. There are many different types of staircases, all designed to suit different budgets, but all of them also have a purpose which will help you decide what it is you require from your staircase design as it's not only about getting from one floor to the next.

Talk to the experts and don't rush in, wether you are building from scratch or renovating your family home, selecting the right staircase design can have a huge impact on how you feel inside your home. affecting light, airflow and storage. Remember they are also a structural component of the home, and therefore difficult to change later, so getting it right means your home not only looks good, but it will perform well too.

James Treble is an ambassador for Planet Ark and firmly believes in sensible purchasing, recycling and creative re-purposing. James Treble has more than 25 years of experience in the Building Industry and Interior Design. His knowledge and experience in adding value to homes, through clever design & styling, is now published for all to learn and benefit from. Interior Design For Profit is now available online.


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