Design ideas for staircases include a lush, spiral staircase with lacy wrought iron balustrade and sweeping rails made of dark wood that are echoed on stair treads whose centers are covered with a light-colored runner that matches the color of the walls. Simple staircases can take advantage of the space beneath the stairs as storage.
The space beneath a staircase can also be used as the secret entrance to another part of the house such as the basement.
Staircases should complement the space around them. A sweeping, formal staircase with tall, slender balusters looks stunning near a wall with equally classical molding and paneling. A staircase with risers made of plain wood planks looks good in a contemporary setting. A stairway can be set to the side of the front door for visitors to get an unimpeded view of the house's first floor, with dark wood treads and rails matching the dark wood of the floor.
Windows near a staircase let in natural, inviting light. A runner full of bright colors or interesting patterns can turn an otherwise ordinary staircase into an area of interest. Some people do away with traditional balustrades or banisters altogether, replacing them with kiln-dried birch bark, ceiling-high rods or even nautical rope.