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Bespoke Staircases

How to use staircase balustrade to create stylish looks within interior design

When designing staircases one consideration that can really add to the style of the interior design of the home or office space is the balustrade on the stair itself. The design of a staircase railing system can have a real impact enabling the diffusion of light between levels or creating privacy. How the balustrade design continues onto landings and balconies can also enhance a space.

Here we look at what balustrade is and what design options and materials are available.

Glass balustrade and leather clad handrails

So, what is balustrade?

The term balustrade refers to all the components (handrail, spindles, newels) which make up the railing system on both sides of a staircase and lead to the landing areas and balconies.

The impact of their design can vary significantly so here are a few examples of staircase designs using different types of balustrade to enhance the overall interior design of a property.

Glass balustrade on floating stairs

Enhancing light and airy interiors with glass

Glass balustrade is very popular at the moment, it helps keep interiors light and airy and works well in open plan living spaces. Currently we are finding that stainless steel handrails are popular with this type of balustrade.

Here it is used to enhance floating staircase designs in homes where keeping the light airy nature of the property was essential to the stair design.

One thing to bear in mind is that glass can show up sticky hand prints so if you have a young family you might be cleaning it a lot.

Using timber for contrast, subtle or otherwise.

Timber clad balustrade especially on spiral or curved staircases can be a striking staircase design feature. In the art-deco style helical staircase (pictured) the satin polished stainless-steel handrail was mounted to the walnut balustrade in a parapet style, adding a beautiful curve to the flow of this staircase design in a 1930s style inspired café.

Full height steel balustrade on stairs

Enclosing stairs in steel for a modern functional look

A popular contemporary balustrade design is full height sheet steel balustrade in a brightly coloured powder coat. We recently finished the blue spiral staircase (far right) for checkatrade. The outer balustrade had a special perforated sheet with an integrated stringer band. The unperforated margin at the bottom of the stair was designed to look like a decorative stringer.

The red stair pictured for a college in London had a beautiful an oak handrail to soften the stark red steel of the balustrade.

Sculptural fin on balustrade

The sculptural central fin on this helical staircase for Swansea University gave a practical stair a stylish finish that was enhanced by the modern look of the full height balustrade.

Spindle designs on stair balustrade

Using spindle shapes for traditional or contemporary interiors

There are a wide variety of spindle or upright (the posts) designs on the market. From traditional Georgian inspired designs to more cutting edges shapes in alternating patterns. The designs in these images have been power coated to suit the overall colour scheme of the interior design.

Helical entrance staircase

Combining materials for extra effect

Often, we design stairs with different materials for the inner and outer balustrade. A popular style is glass balustrade with white plaster but often this can be adding a parapet style handrail to one side, combining timber and glass or cantilevering out from a wall.

In the example picture for the entrance of the Link building in Falmouth University. Curved glass balustrade was installed to the outer balustrade with a white plaster inner balustrade. This was finished with a stainless-steel handrail to both sides.

Stainless steel handrail


Handrails are a great opportunity to add a finishing touch to staircase design and balustrade. They can be made bespoke to the client’s requirements and come in a wide range of materials including: stainless-steel, leather wrapped, timber and rope wrapped.

As Spiral UK specialise in bespoke staircases, we have focussed on balustrade within the design of the stairs, but our service also includes providing and installing matching balustrade to balconies, landings and mezzanine areas.

Find out more

See our gallery for more examples of balustrade.
Find out about the variety of materials and finishes we offer.
Download one of our staircase brochures.
Got a question about staircase design – get in touch.

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