Staircase Design

By | November 15, 2012

Staircase design is a relatively simple concept especially if you don’t really put a lot of thought into it.  If do want to truly maximize the potential of this wonder architectural design space then you  will quickly realize that it may not be as simple as it seems.  As you dig a little deeper into stair design you will very soon discover the seemingly endless array of components available.  Honestly, most people stick with very basic, standard designs, virtually indistiniguishable from their neighbors’.

This is why you only see a handful of iron balusters, for example, on most stair parts websites.  Let’s break this architectural feature down a little to see what we have to work with.  You have two components, the stair and the balustrade.  The balustrade itself can be broken down into the five categories of treads or shoe rails, skirt boards, balusters, handrails and newel posts.  So at most you are probably dealing with six separate design elements.  While stair design, handrail profiles, treads and shoe rails, and skirt board options are not black and white, they are often the more simple considerations than balusters and newel posts.  Not only are these two items among the most visually prominent in the staircase, but they are available in unlimited materials, styles patterns and designs begin to become overwhelming for some.  For some these possibilities are exciting and allow us the opportunity to create our perfect space.

So, I’m not really here today to give you tips on staircase design, because I think often such little pointers can actually demean the process.  Your staircase and balustrade is a significant architectural feature in your home.  An entry stair is often the most important feature that creates the first and last impression of your homes’ interior to anyone who enters.  The great thing about this aspect of home building and design is that you don’t have to have any special skills, education or degrees, just your imagination and determination.  Scour the internet for pictures of designs that you like that compliment the overall style of your home.  It is amazing how often people find a picture then simply try to duplicate it.  Now it may be that you just happened to find that perfect design, but is it really yours if you copy it?  I think it is far more exciting and rewarding to use these pictures as a starting point then infuse my design with my own creativity and personality.  So, the true reason for this post today. has just completed the test version of our new StairBuilder.  Check out the screenshots to the left.  If you have designed staircases in the past or are currently working on a project you will know that there are many stair design tools online.  Of course, as one of the oldest and most trusted online suppliers of stairparts (with more than a handful of iron balusters, I would add :) ) we set out to create a design tool that far exceeds what is currently available.  As I mentioned above, Balusters and Newel Posts are the most versatile features of most balustrades but they are not the only components, despite the fact that most so-called stair designers only allow these two items to be manipulated.  Our StairDesigner is not a cheesy drag and drop but a full-fledged visual design tool that lets you define stringers, skirtboards, handrails, balusters, newel posts, wall and wood colors with realistic images.  It will give you a very clear picture of what your finished components will look like in your home.  So, if you want to create something that is your own, take your time, do your research and start using our StairDesigner today.  One more note, we added this to our site to get some feedback and to work out some of the initial bugs.  The final version with all of our components will be available on our site by January 1st.  We hope you enjoy our StairBuilder and that it helps you bring your dream staircase to a reality.  Give us a call any time at 888-390-7245 or email us at