No more are the days of generic stairs clad with waist-high knobby railings or, gasp, completely enclosed staircases. Chip and Joanna (yes, I watch Fixer Upper and am bummed that the show is no more, despite the fact that most of the designs aren’t my style) would be demoing those walls before you had time to say stairwell, I mean, farewell.
The once closed-off or bulky / traditional staircase is slowly being replaced by a sleeker, more sophisticated design. And honestly, I can’t say I hate it. In fact, I actually really love it. Particularly, the wooden stair screen. Sounds a bit chard to picture, but if you’re into open spaces, natural light, and millwork that won’t bore, you might want to consider adding this concept to your “Dream Home” pinboard ASAP.
The stair screens that capture my attention most, blend mid century modern and asian minimalism, which I think are surprisingly well-suited for a variety of styles. I could really see this going well with boho and california coastal, mountain house, or minimal modern homes, could you? The vertically placed wooden “fins” provide a touch of room division without skimping on light and airflow, but they also create an incredible focal point in any room. Now, if I could just figure out how to DIY this in a rental space. Haha.
Here are some examples of the wooden stair screens I’ve been eyeing…
1. (above) For a light and airy Scandinavian option, this partial screen painted white is a subtle way to maintain usable wall space, while adding depth and dimension to the room. (Image via Hengky Decor)
2. Stair screens also work great for small spaces, surprisingly, like this Brooklyn apartment from General Assembly. Create an interesting desk nook, framed by stained wood fins that won’t close off the room too much, or feel too overwhelming. I’m also loving the gestural artwork peeking through the slats. (Image by Joe Fletcher for General Assembly)
3. Paint your screen and stairs black for a simple contrast against stark white walls. Mim Design took on this project wanting to give a family home a fun but modern twist, which I think they executed pretty well. Loads of drama in this design choice with the high contrast. (Image by Derek Swalwell via Mim Design)
4. If you’re a fan of HGTV’s Restored by the Fords, I’m sure you caught a glance at the custom millwork install they did that featured a curvier stair screen in raw wood. (Image by Alexandra Ribar via Leanne Ford)
5. I love how this staircase design from Williams Burton Leopardi takes an otherwise simple slatted screen and extends it into a feature ceiling piece in the adjacent dining room. It helps warm up the cement floors and black walls. I also feel like this wouldn’t be a terribly daunting project to complete. Maybe I’m crazy…(Image via Williams Burton Leopardi)
6. This home is obviously not lacking natural light (Can we please talk about the size of those skylights?), so it only seems right to keep the stairwell as bright and light-filled as the rest of the home. This asian modern design feels so simple, yet dramatic. I especially like how it draws the eye up toward the open loft space. (Image by Hey!Cheese via Behance)
7. And lastly, a slightly different take on the wood stair screen. This outdoor space from Kollaboratoriet has been turned into more of an art installation using slatted partitions, and I’m a big fan. Instead of closing off the stairs, they’re left completely open. Let’s just ignore whatever safety codes they’re breaking, and just enjoy the innovation of the project. (Image by Feileacan McCormick via Arch Daily)
What are your thoughts on this design trend? Too much modern, or just the right amount? I think you know my thoughts already, so I’m super curious to hear yours!