Interior Obsessions – the Staircase

Last week on Interior Obsessions with FormFire Glassworks, we took a brief look at a necessity of the house that is often given short shrift in terms of home decor, the lavatory. Today we shift over to another necessity , the staircase. Many of us have them, either inside or outside our homes. Some are quaint, some are merely practical, but some staircases are truly stunning pieces of sculpture. They range from bare-bones minimal to those that do double duty as drawer or book storage. A wide opening can allow room for a stair to shift from steps to platforms to display podia, while the addition of an adjacent slide can hasten a measured descent. You can choose to make either the treads and risers or the railing system the focal point, either way can produce a beautiful interior.

Although removing your current stairs to insert a sculptural metal and wood structure may be a bit outside your budget, you can certainly spruce up an existing set of stairs by simple material changes – swapping out an existing traditional bullnose tread for a new walnut flush tread and riser might be a more complex direction, while simply adding a graphic wallpaper to the riser of each step might be a more economical route. If you’re thinking of reworking your stairs, and you are perusing magazines and the web for exciting images, it’s important to remember that the majority of the stunning staircase images you see are not allowed by building codes. Stairs more than 2 steps high without guardrails are forbidden in the US, and those gorgeous thin minimalist treads can’t be used according to California codes, which allow only a 4″ distance between each tread. Check with your local building authority to verify local requirements before installing that lovely sculptural centerpiece!

(above) Built-up Wood Spiral

Simple Stair with Ornate Screen + Minimalist Decorative Treads

Stair Becomes Display Platforms

Wallpapered Risers + Staggered Bookshelves

Step and Slide

14 comments | Click here to reply

whoa…my husband and I just spent several minutes ogling all the staircases here. He just couldn’t figure out the book case stairwell, and we both loved the “step and slide” idea. Fun post!


Makes me want a two story home so bad! Thanks for another great roundup Amy!


There is something about glass bottles and stairways that just make me want to collect them. I was pointing out an amazing stair way in the latest issue of Better Homes and Gardens to my husband the other day telling him how I want that…

Perhaps it is because my old stair way needs a major overhaul or because it climbs up right in the middle of my only shower leaving about 2 feet to actually stand upright in… sigh!

Anyway, I love the wallpaper stairway idea. We will be doing something shortly similar to that. Also, my husband wants to put the actual steps on hinges to add extra storage. We have limited storage in my 950 square foot farm house without a basement. I think that he should go for it! I am inspired.


Oh? Which staircase in BHG? I just got the new issue but haven’t read it yet… I love the wallpaper stairway as well Lauren, but I have to say built-up wood spiral is my favorite. Such a statement!


I really, really like the wallpaper staircase. That is just totally different. Adds alot of character I think.


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I think I’m in love!

Karen T

That first staircase is just breathtaking- so rich! I also love the step and slide- my sister and I used to carry sleeping bags to the top of our stairs when our parents weren’t paying attention and slide our way down- this seems like a much safer and more enjoyable alternative (although, head first?? That kid must have a death wish…)


Ooh, I love the stairs with the wallpaper on them, what a great idea! A nice way to add some life to what could be a dull space.

Julia @ Boredom Abounds

I love it. I just posted about finishing up a stair re-do on my blog and I’m starting to look at what I can do to go beyond the basics. This is such a great post for inspiration! I’m going to link to you if that’s ok.


Hi Lindsey. Of course you can link to us thank you. I just took a look at your blog, and that staircase is quite the transformation. You did a wonderful job with it! Clean and simple.



That step and slide staircase reminds of something the 9 by Design designer couple would come up with. Awesome!

I could use a designer with a great eye for color to give me a (free!) consultation on what I should paint my own staircase. I did it two years ago – painting over the late ’80s pickled/whitwashed stain on wood look – and I used a sort of ochre with black accents…but it’s not quite there; it didn’t hit the mark that I had in my mind’s eye. To the casual observer I suppose it’s fine. Most people just “paint it over in white” (blech) who have the sort of contemporary styled bannisters the homes in our neighborhood have. Mine needs more *punch*. I love looking at interiors/staircases – – whatever it is!

Jeannie of Atlantic Beachlife

Jeannie. I love 9 by Design!!! And you are so right. They would totally come up with something like that. So fun and funky! I hope that show gets picked up for another season. Fingers crossed.


[…] day. Last week on Interior Obsessions with FormFire Glassworks, we took a look at some gorgeous staircase options. This week, we look at adding a splash of orange to your interiors to either liven up a […]

Interior Obsessions – A Splash of Orange | papernstitch
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