The best contemporary interior designers are those that transform the functional into something beautiful, and blend the structural elements of a living space into the aesthetics of its design. As a linking point between floors, staircases have a unifying quality, which a great designer will capitalise on to create a feeling of seamlessness and harmony between the upper and lower floors.

The team at Callender Howorth, Interior designers in the UK, have long acknowledged the centrality of a well-fashioned staircase. They offered their advice on the number of ways in which staircases can work to transform a home’s style.

John Dowd bookcase staircase @Elle Decor

Exhibition Space | If the stairs take up a significant proportion of a well-used and compact room, they can create a point of interest. American Painter, John Dowd, makes artistic use of the staircase in his Provincetown cottage by hanging a collection of his paintings on the ascent. In a larger, more open space, such as an entrance hall, the staircase can become a focal point in its own right.


Modern Materials | In minimalist designs, the use of spiralling glass and steel can create an ultra-modern, chic feature, and can act as another opening through which light can enter both floors. In these cases, the staircase can act like a large, light reflecting sculpture.


Characterful Railings | Alternatively, your staircase can make a statement simply by incorporating and mirroring the style of the overarching design. The components don’t necessarily have to be too obvious (particularly in a cosier setting as this runs the risk of becoming overbearing), but details such as an exquisite cast iron stair rail can turn an ordinary hallway into an enchanting feature. Intricate railings are particularly appealing in interiors where the stairs are positioned in front of a window, and the sunlight shadows they create can contribute to a Mediterranean feel.


Traditional Wood | Of course, in some homes, a sense of organised chaos and carefully considered “clutter” can create a feeling of irresistibly eccentric charm. In these cases, a traditional, sweeping wooden staircase, particularly in a dark, polished wood, can provide a luxurious, antique feel. They can be practical, too: built-in bookcases, with space to display artefacts of interest such as vases and artworks, are a terrific use of space when executed well.

A luxury interior designer will be able to help you make the best use of your staircase to make it the feature it deserves to be. This may mean rethinking how it is used and changing details, such as the floor covering and railings, or completely starting afresh and redesigning the shape and structure of your stairway.