Is your home two stories? As you remodel your home, be sure to give your stairs some thought. The possibilities are endless when it comes to the design between one floor and the next, especially when you incorporate hardwood floors.
Combining Stairs & Hardwood Floors
When remodeling their home many homeowners say, “Just use the same wood on the stairway as the flooring.” However, if your goal is to combine your hardwood floors and your stairway into one continuous piece of beauty, you really need to do some research, talk to experts and plan ahead.
Here are a few considerations to keep in mind:
- Will your stairs and hardwood floors be stained and finished by the same person? If the answer is yes, then you have solved one of the bigger problems. If your hardwood is prefinished and your stairs are prefinished, get samples of each to be sure that the stain and sheen matches.
- What grade and color of wood are you planning to use for the hardwood floors and the stairway?
- Hickory can vary greatly in color; how much color variation will you accept? Jatoba tends to be either a deep rich red or a light brown – knowing which one your supplier is providing you with is important.
- Quartersawn white oak is stunning for a floor, but quartersawing loses some of its effect when it is turned on a lathe to make stair parts.
- If your floor is handscraped or distressed and you want the stairs to match, look to a custom stair manufacturer who has the skills to do this.
- Get the trades talking. If it you have separate people and companies installing your floors and your stairs, make sure they plan to work together. Otherwise, where the materials meet you may end up with filler and skinny strips of wood because the two trades are pointing fingers at who is responsible.
In general, you will get what you pay for in materials and installation costs. Ask detailed questions to be sure that you get the quality of work that matches your taste and budget.
Common Design Trends: Combining Stairs & Hardwood Floors
What are common designs for hardwood stairs? There are a lot of options! For example, if you don’t want your wood to match your floors perfectly, you can opt for complementary colors and species. Or, you can cover the wood with a carpet runner, or even stain or paint the stairs in an interesting color or pattern. Here are a few common trends we’ve seen in some of our projects:
- Combining carpeted stairs with wood flooring. As you can see, theneutral colorof the stairs goes quite nicely with the striking beauty of this bamboo flooring below, plus the carpet gives the stairs a comfortable feel.
- Matching wood stairs. Although these white oak stairs match the surrounding floors, the white risers mimic the surrounding walls. This makes the stairs naturally float up to the second floor.
- Dark wood stairs. Rather than matching the surrounding hardwood flooring, these walnut stairs were stained espresso to match the banister and kitchen cabinetry (which is right around the corner). The two woods contrast each other nicely, and the matching stain ties the home’s design together from one space to the next. The white risers on the walnut stairs provide an inspiring design element as well.
- Wood stairs with a carpet runner. These hickory stairs include matching risers and feature a Berber carpet runner. In addition to getting the benefit of the plush, comfortable carpet, the hickory in the stairs tie them nicely into the flooring design throughout the rest of the first floor.
How to Give Your Stairs Some Extra Personality
Whether you’re replacing carpeted stairs or building a wood staircase from scratch, remember that hardwood steps don’t need to be the “traditional” style built in most homes. Here are three ideas to give your stairs some personality:
- Decorate. Put tile on the hardwood staircase to create a unique look – plus it can help prevent scuffmarks. Or, if you want to be even more creative, paint them! You can use a solid color to match or contrast your walls, or you can create a fun design like a faux carpet, numbers or nature.
- Use the banister. Whether curvy and whimsical or straight with vertical and horizontal lines, an interesting banister can transform your wood staircase into a work of art. Although it’s generally best to pick a design that complements the staircase, some homeowners choose to be bold and contrast with their steps to create a stunning look. Don’t be afraid to add texture or incorporate different materials, too, such as glass, rope or steel.
- Make it freestanding. Although most hardwood staircases are up against a wall, there’s a lot of creativity you can let loose by putting your steps center stage. Consider different shapes like curved, spiral or switchback, and put them in the middle of the space to divide a large room while keeping an open feel.
As you can see, there are a lot of options for stairs that fit nicely into beautiful home design. Want ideas specific to your house? Come visit our showroom! Our flooring experts can provide helpful suggestions and advice based on your family’s lifestyle, preferences and budget. Remember to contact us for a free in-home estimate, too!