Stairs: The Functional Focal Point

Stairs are an often-overlooked but hardworking feature of your home. They take you from A to B, they're the stage of that adorable video you shot of your puppy learning to climb them and they've endured endless feet running down and then back up when something has been forgotten in a bedroom. “Upstairs” even pulls overtime shifts as an adverb, adjective and noun.


Remember, the stairs are often the first thing you notice when you walk into a house. Let's turn this often more utilitarian construction into the beautiful focal point your home deserves.

A big personality

Looking up a palatial staircase

A good staircase can do a lot to add new flow to your home and even change its personality; from traditional to contemporary, unassuming to head-turning, busy to breezy. If your home is feeling a little ho-hum, why not consider elevating your stair game?


Be sure to do your research before you start tearing things up; a staircase transformation can be costly and time-consuming, especially if you want to move your stairs from one side of your house to the other. Remember, you won't be able to easily access your second floor during these renos so plan ahead—you might need to camp out on the main floor for a night.

Stand in Scarlet O'Hara's shoes

Luxurious staircase with wood rails and cast iron detailing

A Scarlet O'Hara staircase, or split staircase, is the height of luxury to many. Those sweeping bannisters curling up into a second-level balcony are the scene of many prom and bridal photoshoots. If you have the room to spare in your home's foyer and love a grand entrance, a split staircase can do wonders to open up your space.

Multipurpose, but make it fashion

Custom under-stair drawers and cabinetry

Utilitarian design still has its place here—just jazz it up. Rather than a classic cupboard under the stairs, transform that storage space with sleek drawers and cabinet doors to hide away winter gear in the summer, your old DVD collection, luggage or whatever else always finds its way under the steps.


If your straight staircase is closed in, that blank wall can feel detached; you can't put much against it since that area is often a thoroughfare. A photo gallery will fill it up, but why not warm up to new ideas? This custom-built fireplace is a great use of space and makes the stairs the focal point for the room.

Staircase with a wood fireplace underneath

Loft life

Spiral iron staircase

A spiral staircase might give off loft vibes but there's no rule book when it comes to adding stairs to your home, big or small. In some cases, a smaller space might benefit the most from a flashy spiral staircase. This highly decorative wrought iron staircase is a work of art in its own right and ties the room together by matching with the granite countertop of the kitchen.  


Of course, a spiral staircase isn't for everyone, especially if you have mobility issues, small children or even pets. To help decide whether a spiral staircase is the right move for you, your family and even your home, consider asking your friends, family and REALTOR® for their opinion and insight.

Imitation is the most sincere form of flattery

Wood floating staircase with glass and wood rail

Marry the wow-factor of unique show-stopping stairs with the harmony of your home's décor and colour palette by matching your treads, railing, balustrades or risers to the motif of your home. Choose the same wood for your staircase as your hardwood floors—it's a great look if you're going with floating-style stairs.


The black countertops and backsplash in the kitchen below perfectly match and compliment the black railing and balustrades of the staircase and make the oak of the flooring, cupboards and stair treads seriously pop.

Wood and black iron staircase descending to a kitchen.

Don't forget the frills

Staircase with rail under-lighting.Photo by Alessia Cocconi on Unsplash


Ambient lighting can happen along the stairway, as well, especially if you backlight the railing. Not only can it help prevent any nasty spills in the night, but it's also a seriously polished look. For added effect, you could light up the risers or use LED strips as runners à la the movie theatre.

Looking for a stairway to inspiration? Take a look through our Pinterest board. We're always adding new eye-catching staircase pins. 


With a bit of creativity and a construction budget to boot, put your stairs to even better use as the breakout star of your home's interior design. But before you get building, check out these reno tips for more information on building codes and materials that might work best.


Source: realtor.ca

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