While a staircase is a major feature in any house, its potential for design impact is often overlooked in older properties. With so many clever ideas and stylish solutions now available it’s worth considering an update during a renovation or hallway redecoration.

Prices start from around £200, depending on the materials and configuration, but you can spend as much as £30,000 on a bespoke design in luxurious finishes. As long as the staircase is structurally sound, it is usually more cost-effective to makeover the existing steps and balustrading.

Recladding the stairs in wood costs from around £500, while new spindles are as little as £3 each. Hiring a firm for a full refurbishment service costs from around £2,000.

DIY staircase

Complement timber flooring in a classic interior by cladding your old staircase in natural oak. This kit allows you to transform the steps and risers by lightly sanding the surface, then glueing and screwing 20mm thick wooden strips on top. You can finish and seal the oak to match the floors, walls or furniture in your home.

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Oak step and riser kit, £41 per pack of step, (W)26x(L)90cm, and riser, (H)18x(W)90cm, The Natural Wood Floor Company

 Adding a light staircase

If your hallway is narrow with few openings, or your staircase is part of an open-plan living space, dark wood steps and spindles will block the flow of light, making the area feel gloomier than it needs to be.

With glass panels that will let the light shine through, combined with white oak for a bright and contemporary feel, this staircase is perfect to replace a heavy, dated design.

Oak and glass Radiance staircase, from £1,800 for a 13-step flight, Jeld-Wen

Matching materials

Create a cohesive look throughout your interior by updating the staircase with timber elements to match doors and floors. This staircase features solid oak, while other options are walnut, maple, ash and sapele.

There’s a choice of classic and contemporary rails and spindles, or glazed options including bracketed glass and smaller embedded glass spindles.

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Solid oak newel posts and rails with 10mm toughened embedded glass, strings and aprons clad in 6mm oak veneer, plus feature oak curtail step, £7,800, Abbott Wade

Floating staircse

Make a dramatic impact with a cantilevered staircase, where the treads look as if they are defying gravity but are actually fully supported by the wall on one side.

This style of staircase can be fitted into an older home during a renovation and needs a structurally sound wall to conceal the support framework; alternatively, a steel wall can be built to anchor the treads. Finishes for the steps include timber, stone, Corian or even glass, for an awe-inspiring minimalist look.

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cantilevered staircase with wall-anchored walnut treads and glass balustrade, £42,000, Bisca

Stair refurbishment

If your staircase is looking dated but there are no structural issues, consider refurbishing it. The work can be carried out over a weekend, and you can swap every non-structural element to create a bespoke design.

Choose between carpet and timbers such as oak and walnut for the treads and, for posts and balustrades, select from glass, wood and cast iron.

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Staircase refurbishment with
oak handrails and newel posts, and glass panels, from £2,000, Neville Johnson

Statement details

Give your staircase a contemporary twist by swapping the balustrade for panels featuring fabric. Sandwiching strands of chiffon between sheets of laminated glass, this unique design creates a more fluid effect than a traditional baluster, and lets the light through to brighten the space.

Other fabrics can be used, as well as metal foils for a more glamorous effect, and the panels can be fitted to any staircase.

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Laminated glass panels with fabric inserts, £600 per m², Keir Townsend

Spiral staircase

The flowing arc of a helical staircase makes it a real showstopper as the treads curve upwards, leading the eye. Perfect as the centrepiece of a grand hallway, it will also look beautiful in more compact spaces.

This is a bespoke design with iroko treads, but there are plenty of other options for materials, including stainless steel, glass and stone, to create exactly the finish you want.

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Helical staircase with hidden mild steel carcass clad in iroko, with stainless-steel handrail and painted timber board, from £42,000, EeStairs

Staircase storage

Turn your staircase into a stylish and practical feature with a contemporary storage solution underneath. These pull-out designs allow you to use – and access – the full width of the space below the stairs.

As well as purpose-made shoe storage units, there are coat racks and shelving options. The units are made from melamine-faced chipboard, and you can choose from veneered MDF or solid oak doors.

Stairs renovated in
Dust Oak, clear and coloured glass with understairs LED lighting and StairStore pull-out units, from £2,000, James Grace

Traditional style

Invest in an architectural feature with timeless appeal by choosing a stone staircase in a classic design.

This stunning curved creation is made from Combe Brune, a creamy limestone from France, while the balustrading is cast iron with a powder-coated paint finish. Portland limestone and Clipsham stone from the UK, or Anstrude or Burgundy limestone from France could also be used, along with many other stone options.

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Staircase in Combe Brune stone, £27,600, with cast-iron balustrading, £14,400, both per 15-step flight, The Stonemasonry Company

Bespoke staircase

Go all-new with a design tailor-made to suit its surroundings. A good company can create a contemporary or traditional style, or work with your architect if you’re building, renovating or extending.

This staircase complements a loft look with walnut treads, stainless-steel handrails and posts, and tinted iron-free glass spindles. Oak, Dust Oak, Lava Oak, Walnut and Wenge finishes are also on offer, as well as clear glass balustrades.

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Walnut staircase with glass and
steel balustrading, price on application, James Grace

Period staircase

Modern stair parts can look out of place in a traditional home. For a more sympathetic update, lose uniform chunky spindles and try characterful black metal designs that will work perfectly with cast-iron door and window furniture. Slimmer spindles are a great solution for a compact home, too, as they will help to create a light and spacious effect.

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Elements balustrading, including single-rake and double-rake powder-coated mild steel spindles, and newel posts, handrail and base rail in white oak, from £700 for an average staircase of 13 treads including brackets and fittings, Richard Burbidge

Tactile finish

Combine classic and contemporary elements to create a feature that is sympathetic to the architecture of an older property, yet works with a more modern interior scheme. This design uses Portuguese limestone with chrome balustrading and has a handrail with a leather wrap that can be removed to change the look.

Alternatively, a glass baluster with a timber handrail could be chosen for an ultra-modern effect. There is a wide range of limestones on offer for the stairs, as well as many different balustrade and handrail options.

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Rosal limestone, with chrome and leather balustrading, from £32,400 per 15-step flight, Ian Knapper