One step ahead

Lee Hunt of Canal architectural explains how housebuilders and specifiers can get one step ahead with the latest staircase trends.

Staircase design, as with all interior design, is constantly evolving, and new design trends are continually emerging. The staircase is a centrepiece of a property, and the visual connection between levels of an interior. Sometimes curved, sometimes straight, there is nothing quite like an impressive staircase to draw attention. Staircases are making a much bigger statement than ever before as the demand for unique and personalised structures grows.

Over the past year there’s been a shift towards ‘urban’ design and fashionable choices such as earthy tones and textures. Contemporary homes are opting for much richer, more pronounced metals with many variations such as brass and antique bronze finishes, as well as glass panels and dark glossy wood. Traditional homes are also searching for bespoke staircase features and brave new designs to blend into their property. As well as considering bespoke, engaging design, it’s important to ensure that all staircases are manufactured in line with current Building Regulations Approved Document K as well as BS5395: Part 2, 1984 (spiral and helical staircases).

The most current and on trend design is the cantilever floating staircase, for a contemporary and slender solution. This ingenious piece of engineering anchors at only one end allowing the protruding construction to overhang without any external bracing. The design is also applied to a wide range of staircase designs includ- ing straight, quarter turn, half turn, helical and curved designs. The design trend is popular due to its minimalist design, and ability to create more space in a property. The tasteful lines produced have become a contemporary staple for new developments as well as adding that modern twist to an aged property.

Looser, open stairs with thin bespoke handrails make for a light, refreshing take on the modern staircase. The design world is trending towards minimal, Scandinavian styles as the open riser staircase soars in popularity. Also, the versatility of the open riser design can work with almost any style of staircase such as helical, spiral and straight. The shallow depth of materials, thin bespoke handrails and open stairs allow for a light and spacious feature.

The permanent structure is not one that’s likely to change that often, and the helical staircase with its delicate, soft curve is a popular staple due to its timeless elegance. The lack of supporting column means the staircase can be freestanding or attached to the wall. Most staircases usually feature a handrail on each side, giving the specifier an opportunity to further personalise the design, using a variety of materials such as timber, stainless steel and leather handrails.

Zig zag designs are a great installation piece for properties with multiple floors or high rise buildings. The solid structure can be customised at all levels with beautiful, intricate details added for decorative features. Timber treads along with glass balustrades provide a modern, contemporary solution. In addition, the mild, exposed steel can be incorporated to blend with the natural aesthetics of the steel.

Balustrades are also an important stylish feature in staircase specification, as well as acting as a key safety component – offering an extra opportunity to add a unique style and individuality to the staircase. Key materials such as glass, metal and wood are on trend due to their aesthetic and durable properties.

Glass is an increasingly popular choice due to its admittance of natural light, and the fact it creates the illusion of space. Glass adds the wow factor to a property, creating a fascinating, reflective and visual look. It is also moisture friendly and easy to keep clean for a longer staircase lifespan.

Mixing metals has becoming increasingly fashionable, in particular the use of combining matte and polished textures. It’s also a popular choice with specifiers to ensure the metals used in the balustrade blend and match.

Personalised design has become a big trend in 2019, with laser cut balustrades adding individuality to staircase designs. The laser cut design enables the specifier’s imagination to run wild, and creates a unique, personal statement. The use of subtle patterns, from twisted spindles to adding a family crest into the design, is a unique way to incorporate personalisation into the balustrade.

Whether it’s a ‘vision’ or one of the trend ideas listed above, devoting some attention to the style and appearance of a staircase can transform a property into a structural masterpiece.

Lee Hunt is sales director at Canal architectural