How To Make a Statement Staircase for Your Home

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Statement Staircase Lighting Feature in Abu Dhabi Penthouse bu LUXXU

The staircase is often one of the most overlooked, unloved and underappreciated parts of the home. We simply don’t pay the staircase much attention because we tend to see it as this functional and practical transitory place. It takes us safely from one floor to the next and that’s about it. We don’t tend to spend much time on the staircase and consequently we don’t dedicate much thought to it when it comes to decorating. But this is a big mistake. There is so much potential to create a show-stopping statement staircase that will knock people’s socks off. Let’s explore some of the ways you can create a statement staircase in your home.  

15 Ways to Create a Statement Staircase

1. Install an Open Staircase

Open staircase with wooden stairs and balustrade and metal spindles

Benjamin Moore Colour Of The Year 2020 First Light 2102 70

Staircases usually look quite traditional, made from wood, with wooden spindles and reasonably ornate. That’s kind of what people expect from a standard staircase. But you could break the mound and go for something a lot more contemporary in the form of an open staircase. This statement staircase is where there are open risers and you can see beneath each stair into the space below.

The sleek, straight profile not only looks really modern and sophisticated, but it is also a good solution if you want to maximise as much natural light as possible. A staircase with open risers is a perfect solution for homes with an open floor plan as it will create a sense of openness and airiness.

2. Add Stair Runners

Tangier Carpet in Stone Cobble from Tapi Carpets and Floors Ltd

If you have wooden stairs, you could consider adding stair runners to create a statement staircase with a modern feel. A stair runner is a narrow piece of carpet that runs up the centre of the staircase providing comfort and sound insulation. You can be really playful with your stair runners and choose something a little more daring than you would if you were choosing regular carpet. You can choose any pattern or texture you like depending in the statement you want to make. Stripes are often popular or edging in a contrasting colour, but the choice really is yours.

3. Paint the Stair Risers

A statement staircase with white treads and red painted risers

Rosy Apple 2006 30 and White Heron OC 57 paint from Benjamin Moore

For a pop of unexpected colour on your statement staircase, you could always consider painting the stair risers. Choose a colour that matches the wall for a more cohesive look or choose a contrasting colour to really make the staircase stand out. Of course you don’t have to paint all the risers the same colour either. I’ve seen some really pretty staircases on Pinterest where the risers are painted in an ombre effect using varying shades of the same colour, or a rainbow effect using lots of different colours.

You might want to avoid white treads like the plague though, unless you intend to never, ever venture up your statement staircase. I made a similar mistake installing white tiles on my bathroom floor and I have regretted it every day since.

4. Paint or Tile the Stair Treads

Hallway Satin Paint In Pemberley Blue. Chalk Paint In Primer, Red And Original. All by Annie Sloan (affiliate link)

Painting the stair risers looks great but you must admit that this painted floor and matching stair treads make quite the statement. Painting squares that look like floor tiles from a distance is such a clever idea, but you could take this a step further. You could paint stripes or other shapes or even use a stencil to paint the treads. I love this idea for making a statement staircase because you can be as playful as you like.

5. Use Decoupage Paper

A close up of a staircase with decoupage paper glued onto the risers

Annie Sloan With The RHS Decoupage Paper Roundabouts Staircase (affiliate link)

If you’re looking for something somewhere between the last two ideas, why not consider trying out a bit of decoupage paper on the risers with painted treads. Decoupage simply means gluing something to another surface and in this case you can stick decoupage paper onto your stair risers. this allows you to get a bit more adventurous with your statement staircase and add slightly more visual interest than just painting the risers in a block colour.

6. Choose an Elaborate Newel Post

A natural wood staircase with carved newel post

Carnival Heston Vinyl Flooring from Tapi Carpets & Floors

Maybe paint and decoupage aren’t really your style and you would rather go au natural by leaving your statement staircase in raw wood. Letting the material speak for itself makes no less of a statement, especially when you incorporate an ornate newel post. The newel post is the upright post at the top and/or bottom of the balustrade. It supports the banister and secures the balustrade.

If your staircase is wood, you have an amazing opportunity to create something ornate and spectacular by carving something beautiful into the newel post. this could be flowers and foliage as seen above, but you could equally carve important dates or quotes into the wood.

7. Illuminate the Spindles

A staircase decorated for Christmas with a curtain of sparkly fairy lights

Bannister Lights from Lights4Fun

Ok, so this may be a Christmas image but why reserve twinkly lights just for December, eh? I think fairy lights are a great addition to your home all year round. They create a really soft, glowy and relaxing atmosphere and I love the idea of draping them down the banister to create a statement staircase.

You could either get the curtain fairy lights or simply wrap an extra long string around all the spindles. I suggest working out the best value for money and easiest to install.

8. Decorate with Big, Bold Wallpaper

Bold floral wallpaper runs up the wall beside the stairs

Big Bouquet with Poppies Floral Wallpaper by Marina Stupakova at

Creating a statement staircase is of course about more than just the staircase itself. You can create quite the statement through the way that you decorate the area around the staircase. As you can see in the photo above, choosing a bold statement wallpaper will definitely do the trick. These large floral blooms in dark and dramatic colours make quite an impression.

The look is made infinitesimally better by the black stair treads, which, in my opinion, are much more practical than white stair treads.

9. Use Paint as a Bold Statement

A wall painted with thick diagonal violet stripes runs up next to a floating staircase

Emulsion paint from Yes Colours

Wallpaper isn’t for everyone though and some of you may just prefer to get the paint brush out and paint a bold statement wall. That could mean painting wide diagonally stripes like in the image about, but it could equally mean painting only a section of the wall. It could be painting large geometric patterns on the wall. Whatever you decide to paint, make it a bold addition to your statement staircase.

10. Install Wood Panelling

White wood panelled wall runs up beside the staircase

Luken Bliss Wall & Floor Tile from Tile Mountain

Maybe all these bold, attention-grabbing ideas are a tad too much for you? Perhaps you would prefer something a little more demure and traditional? If so, wall panelling could be your best bet. Whether you go for board and batten, traditional moulding or something more unusual, this is a surefire way to level-up your staircase and give it a more sophisticated look.

If you’d rather get the wooden panelling look without the hassle, why not consider wood panelling wallpaper instead. You can get some super realistic wallpapers that have that 3D effect so your guests might not even realise until they get up close.

11. Opt for a Wooden Slat Wall

Vertical wooden slat wall runs up beside the stairs

Trepanel XL® Walnut Brown Wide Acoustic Wood Slat Panels from Walls and Floors

For a more modern take on wooden panelling, you could jump on the trend for wooden slat walls. These vertical panels look sleek and minimalist and are a great way to bring that feel of nature into the staircase area. The slat wall panels usually come in a range of colours from lighter woods right through the darker woods and even include black. There are many ways to make a statement that you can be proud of.

12. Add Artwork or Photos

A bright yellow statement staircase in a modern white home. A gallery wall runs up the stairs

Harlow Sofa from Furniture and Choice

Another technique is to add a family photo wall that goes through the generations as you climb the stairs. These help to tell the history of your family and release your photos from where they are being held captive on your devices and in the cloud. If you don’t want to include images of parents, children, nephews, and nieces, you don’t have to. Dogs, cats, and vacation photos can also generate a similar sense of nostalgia and longing. 

You’ll find lots of articles online that say gallery walls are out of fashion and it’s really untrendy to have family photos on the wall. However, I call bullsh*t on that. It’s your home so it’s your choice. If a gallery wall full of your kids’ smiling little faces and your best wedding memories is what will make you happy, then get it on the wall. Don’t let anyone dictate to you what you can and can’t do in your own home when it comes to something as simple and transitory as what photos you put on your walls.

If you’d rather steer clear of family photos, for a reason of your own choosing, you could go with artwork instead. This enables you to express yourself and communicate something interesting about yourself to any visitors. Artwork can also be a great talking point. Again just make sure it is something that speaks to you and lights you up!

You could even take inspiration from the photo above and add an extra bold element by painting the staircase in a bright colour.

13. Add Statement Lighting

A view up at the ceiling in a stairwell. Fluted glass pedant lights in varying lengths hang down from the ceiling

Bespoke clear glass hand-blown glass chandelier pendant from Glow Lighting

Statement lighting is a great way to get your staircase noticed. It’s the perfect place to suspend those larger lighting pieces that may not work in the rest of the house. But don’t go all out on the looks of the lighting and sacrifice practicality. the stairs still need to be really well lit so that you can navigate them safely. This is even more important for anyone with mobility issues or who needs to use a stairlift. Good lighting is required to make it less likely you’ll misstep and means you can always see what you’re doing. If necessary, consider installing some LED lights that run up the stairs or are embedded in the wall.

14. Create A Living Wall

A living wall installed on white tiles walls next to a fireplace

Indoor living wall kit from Chalk & Moss 

If you’re a nature-loving person, you might also want to create a living wall. See the opening image to get an idea of how this might look. However, if you don’t live in a penthouse in Abu Dhabi and have a smaller budget you might be working with, fear not! You can use the power of plants and moss to transform how the staircase feels and bring the outside in on a budget too. You don’t even necessarily need to be green-fingered to pull this off as you can get preserved moss or even use faux plants in your living wall.  

15. Use the Space Under the Stairs

Built-in home office under the stairs

Home Office range from the Home Collection at Sharps

Maybe the statement isn’t the staircase itself, but the space beneath the stairs. Instead of having redundant, unused space below the stairs, why not make the most of it by creating a study or a home office. Built-in furniture can make a great style statement, but if you can’t afford that you can still create a useable space with freestanding furniture.

So there you go, 15 ways to create a statement staircase in your home. Which one is your favourite? Have you ever tried any of these? Are there any I have missed? Let me know in the comments below!

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