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Design a Timber Frame Stairway That Blends Design + Function

Create and build your stairway to complement your home's design and function

Ever since Cinderella rushed down the palace steps and lost her glass slipper, stairways have held a certain spirit of magic. From sweeping balustrades to corkscrew spirals, stairs can be custom-made to be as unique as their owners and can quickly become a home’s central showpiece.

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Straight stairs are the simplest to design, but because of their bulkiness, they can sometimes be hard to fit into a home’s layout without intruding on surrounding areas. To reduce the imposition of such a big piece, install a bathroom or closet underneath the stairs, or leave it entirely open for an airy feeling of weightlessness. To jazz up the plainness of a simple flight, consider incorporating elegant balusters or custom newel posts into your staircase’s design.

Stairs with landings can limit the stairwell’s overall footprint on the home to a more contained area, and they offer built-in room for mid-level storage or home appliances. They’re also a good option in homes with older people, as their shorter flights help reduce injury in the event of a fall. However, they cost a bit more to build and take up slightly more area than a straight flight. If you choose a design with any sort of turn, be sure to consider that when planning your stairwell’s headroom.

Spiral or curved staircases add visual interest to a room, but they’re not always realistic, particularly if there is only one stairwell in the entire home. Moving bed frames and mattresses up a tightly wound spiral is a nightmare, but a curved flight with a wider arc is a more feasible option if your home can spare the space. Save the spirals for rooms or outdoor areas where they can add a decorative touch without being a hindrance to practicality.

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