Updating Your Stair

On Point | The Stair Makeover

One of the questions we are most frequently asked is, “how do I update my stair?”  The first thing to consider is that styles are constantly changing and with the constant and furious barrage of media we consume and fad can come and go in one “click” or “swipe.”  It is interesting as we look at home décor how things evolve and modernize.  I was speaking with someone not long ago and one thing we had a chuckle about was had to do with furniture.  She was saying that she remembered mid-century modern with such a distain.  Her comment was, “you could see all of the dust and dirt under the furniture.  I never thought people would go back to that look.  Here we are – present day and it is very stylish again.”

Styles are always linked to so many things.  For instance every year we are given the “hot color of the year” and then textiles, paint, and other household items suddenly hit the market. Now focus on wall coverings and floor coverings.  When wallpaper lost popularity in the 90’s people were drawn to bold, bright colored paints.  When they clashed with carpets and wood flooring became affordable - carpets were removed.  The change in flooring started a demand for engineered more cost effective prefinished flooring. 

When the housing market declined in the late 2000’s realtors and national homebuilders everywhere shuttered at the bold paint colors people painted the inside of their homes.  Designers went beige, tan, taupe and even white.  Today, grey is the hottest interior paint them on the market.  These conditions were determined because everyone was focused on resale and neutrality.  Mouldings and millwork shifted to painted white trim which was easy to install and was cheap and all of the same color.  

Today, we look to kitchen remodeling for inspiration.  The trend for 2019 in kitchen cabinetry is painted wood.  White, navy, “greyish”, and now even black is making its’ way into the color pallets of kitchen cabinets.  So why the shift? In simple terms it is not in fad to see wood grain. Take a look at DIY furniture kits.  They come in dark expresso, black, white, and “light wood” which is usually a non-descript wide grain light wood.  The reason for this is that solid wood is expensive.  Also, like automobiles people tend to change and or upgrade more frequently than other areas of their lives. So how does this translate to the staircase?

The one thing that we have seen is that white is “in”.  As floor plans continue to shrink in the United States so too does the feeling of openness in the home.  Light colors – especially white create a light and airy feel and also add a modern vibe to the stair rails.  Paint the newel and balusters or paint the newel handrail and balusters and this will give the stair an entirely different look.  If you are unsure of a bold statement and are afraid to commit – try a little trick.  Take some white paper towel and wrap it around the rail.  Step back and see how it changes the look.  People might think you are crazy, but it can show how the white color opens up the area. Pinterest is also a great place to seek out ideas and see examples of this.

If you are entirely daring you can jump right into the pool and go for the stair remodel.  Stair remodels are a big undertaking and it is important if you are not well skilled to seek out the help of a licensed contractor. Also be aware that modifications to stairs may need to be inspected and codes have changed with regard to balusters spacing, rail heights, etc.  Baluster replacement can also be an option, but in most scenarios the handrail must be replaced as well.   One thing we always warn our clients is “go-cheap = look cheap.”  No one likes to waste money.  Often time we spend too much time trying to cheapen the project we cut corners and the outcome is less than desirable.  That being said, the options for stair upgrades can be inexpensive and the outcome of the project can drastically and positively impact the desirability of your home.

The one recommendation we would also give is to not go too far out of your comfort zone and make a change that you will regret.  Trends will go full circle and traditional style is just that – traditional.  The one things that reigns true is that quality is far more important than styleLess is usually moreMost importantly your home is a reflection of you and should make you proud.

Oh, and wall paper is cool again. Stay on point…