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Many homes have a stairway near the entry area. This high visibility makes a stairway an excellent candidate for updating.

Stair Rail and Balusters

The typical stair or hand rail is ornate. So too are the posts and balusters. It is worth considering something more modern.

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Example: Our wall mounted hand rail is near our front door. We searched unsuccessfully for a modern alternative for it. At the end, we designed a replacement system ourselves.

We used off-the-shelf solid, stainless steel balusters and shoes. All the other parts – wooden hand rail, stair rails and posts, as well as stainless steel stair rail mounting brackets – were fabricated for us.

A bit less expensive, but also less sturdy, hollow stainless steel balusters could also have been used.


If your stairs are wooden and in fairly good shape, consider refinishing them.

Example: Our stairs were covered with unattractive carpeting that we removed. We then had the oak stairs refinished.

Should that not be an option, think about recarpeting with a modern looking carpet.


While the look of all wood stairs is nice, they can be slippery and pose a safety hazard. That is why we decided to use a runner on our stairs. Best to go with all wool here. Stairs are a heavy traffic area and wool will show less wear than other materials.

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If you have a fireplace, it probably has a traditional look. Update it to make it the highlight of the space.