Our staircase railing was not on our list of projects to tackle right now but because we’re doing our floors, which involve the wood on our staircases, we also need to address the railings and fast. Because once they take off our existing railings to lay the new floors, it’s not a safe place for anyone–especially children–and we don’t want that lingering too long. This is a perfect example of project creep. Projects that creep into other projects because they’re connected. It’s like home version of the charming song from Mister Rogers, “Because we’re all one piece”
Everything grows together
Because you’re all one piece.
Your arms grow
As your ears grow
As your nose grows
As the rest of you grows
Because you’re all one piece.
Deciding on a railing took looking at a LOT of inspiration photos, and deciphering what we liked and equally important–what we didn’t like. We also had to work with our contractor closely because railings have so. many. codes.
Here are our current railings (and staircases) We have a main staircase that is in our front entry right when you walk in the house and we have a back staircase that leads into the living room/kitchen.
The stairs that lead into the living room/kitchen have a smaller railing that carries a lot of weight because it will be the backdrop to a major sitting area. In fact, we are going to have a couch floating a few feet in front of it which was definitely something that weighed heavily in our planning process.
Here are a few of the railing inspiration images that we mulled over.
1. This very traditional railing from one of my favorites, Katie Hackworth, (source) was the very first one I ever pinned and I was sure it was the direction I wanted to go. To be honest, every time I see it, my heart still skips a beat. I love mixing traditional elements with modern fixtures and furnishings so this traditional shape in a chic black finish was immediately a top contender. My only worry: it would feel too heavy and take center stage (especially in the living room).
2. So I started looking at other lighter traditional railings like this one (source). The white tapered spindles have clean lines and the I loved the darker handrail. I know looking at this, you might be thinking–I can’t imagine how you’d mix in modern pieces with this.
3. Boom! Very similar in a more modern setting. I love how quiet these railings are. But actually seeing them in this setting made me realize I wanted something with a little more warmth. (Source)
4. It always helps to see inspiration that feels like you and this one with the white balusters and walnut handrail (and the brass detail on top does NOT go unnoticed) mixed with brass finishes and black windows. Like, I could LIVE here for sure. It feels warm and modern with traditional touches. Check, check, check. (Source)
5. There was a brief time I tried to convince Chris that the railing leading into the living room should be more of a wall (Okay, I still kind of love this idea) so the background of a sofa would be a little more quiet/intentional. But I don’t really want the same thing as our main staircase and I don’t know if that would be weird or work and Chris isn’t a huge fan of the idea but JUST LOOK AT THIS MAGIC! (Source)
6. This brass handrail didn’t make it to our short list, but I had to share it because–brass handrail. In the end, we wanted something that incorporated wood. (Source)
7. Next we started looking at railings with black balusters and wood railings are started feeling more at home with those. This railing (both photos from here. ) stopped us in our tracks. The flooring color is very similar to what we’re doing so it was very easy to imagine a similar railing in our home. For a couple days THIS WAS IT. But the longer we looked at it, the more we felt like we were craving some softness. Some curves. (But seriously, I LOVE this one)
8. File this under “perfect railings: a study.” I love how Courtney Nye (source) mixed in traditional lines in such a simplistic way. Having those black rod balusters with no feet (SO often you’ll see little caps on the base of every rod going into the stairs and it was the one thing that was a deal breaker for me. I know I don’t want those! If you want to know what I’m talking about, scroll up and look at our current ones). This one is on our short list. Our floors are significantly lighter than these dark ones, but I think this newel style works best in a darker shade. I’m not opposed to mixing wood tones though.
9. This railing. I mean, this WHOLE situation! It works because it’s not the star and it’s not trying to be. The simplistic railing is supporting the beautiful trimmed out entry. It’s letting the furnishings be the star. It’s about the view outside. With a more ornate railing–would you miss all that? This one is also on our short list because restraint an exercise in restraint, with the perfect amount of wood tone, might be just what we need. (source)
10. This one, nearly identical, works for all the same reasons. (Source) This is when I also started noticed risers and we started asking ourselves–white or wood? The white looks so clean and crisp so we’re leaning that way.
11. And then we come across a perfect example with wood risers that we can’t ignore. The lighter floors and lighter, rounded wood handrail–we found our ideal in this inspiration! (I mean, I’ll take that runner, too, please!) (Source) I also thought it was interesting how the wood floors and the stairs don’t match in this example. These are the kinds of things I like to take note of–rules that can be broken.
So as you can see, we were all over the map when it came to deciding a railing. I love all of these examples but would say 11 is closest to what I’m envisioning with maybe white risers and a little bit of 5 thrown in for the back staircase. ;) Kidding, Chris!
Which is your favorite?