What staircase detail features do you need?

Balustrade, handrails, lighting etc.

Once you have finalised place shape and style, you can knuckle down on the detailing. This includes balustrade, handrail, general materials throughout such as the steps, lighting, and finishes to either timber or metal work. Some of these decisions may have been ticked off whilst signing off on all the the above. If you are having a central spine you may have already established timber or steel for example, but there will usually still be details to confirm. Look at your options. A good staircase designer should make you aware of all the options available to you, or you may see some of your own ideas on the net or at a show.


This is the stuff that stops you falling off the staircase, so pretty important! Often the consideration of kids, the elderly or disabled affect decision here, so too does the overall effect/look and cleaning! Balustrade options are as follows;

  1. Wrought iron spindles – These are cast iron or steel traditional spindles, with traditional detailing perhaps tapering top and bottom with a moulding in the middle, classic and elegant but with limitations on finish, most are painted.
  2. Sculptural balustrades in metal or timber or both – Unique to Zigzag a large range of decorative solid hand made metal spindles, various designs from Art Deco to Nature, to Heritage. Finishes are varied, polished metals antique bronzes and beautiful colours, very different that create the wow factor.
  3. Traditional wooden spindles – What you might see on most staircases in most family homes, can be painted or stained. Traditional in shape with various mouldings and styles available.
  4. Glass – Does what it says on the tin, visually light, very contemporary, lets light into your stairwell or onto your landing, but can be a pain to keep clean especially with kids!
  5. Bespoke work – Could include laser cut panels, wrought iron decoration, this would be down to a creative staircase company to take on and come up with solutions for, Could make your staircase into a work of art but will cost!

This sits on top of what ever you decide to use for your balustrade. Handrails come in all shapes sizes and materials. Timber is perhaps most common and feels warm and comfortable to the touch, it can also match the steps on your staircase if they are in timber giving your staircase important design continuity. Timber rails can be clad in leather which is very nice, very high end but can be expensive.
Handrails can also be made in metal and corian. If you choose glass balustrade there are some rules when it comes to handrails. You must have a handrail sat on top of thinner glass balustrade, if you want frameless glass with no handrail you have to specify thick laminated glass, usually 18/19mm thick, which can be costly and heavy.


You will need to consider all the options for finishing the materials you choose. These may be straight forward for example timber is usually stained, oiled or painted, but always ask what the options and the products available are. Metal finishing options can often be more varied including enamels, paint, powder coated, polished etc. Again, speak to your designer about what you like the look of, and ask them what is best for cleaning and keeping nice for future years etc.


Other design details might include things like lighting, which could be set in a wall or into the staircase itself. This will need to be decided on before you finish walls as the electrician will need to run wires to the general area, also you may need to decide where to house transformers. Decorative riser infills, handrail end caps, wall mounted handrail brackets, are a few other details that can be considered towards the end of your design journey.

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