7 Traditional Staircase Ideas That Will Stand the Test of Time

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There's a lot to love about traditional decor. The timeless aesthetic is known for classic patterns, a muted color palette, uncompromising attention to detail, and metallic finishes.

You might not realize it, but the staircases that often grace traditional interiors have distinguishing characteristics associated with the design style as well, and are another opportunity to add character and personality to your home. If you're not convinced that this central element can make a true visual impact in your abode (or even if you are) check out these seven traditional staircase ideas for inspiration.

1. It's all in the details.

If you've got the time (and money), a bespoke railing featuring perfectly proportioned beaded details might be the answer to your traditional staircase dreams. We wouldn't expect anything less from Jessica Helgerson who decorated the entryway in this Portland home with a refined stairway that manages to add texture and depth without distracting from the gorg chevron floors and patchwork runner.

2. Introduce a rustic note.

Elevate rustic steps with a one-of-a-kind carved banister for a traditional staircase that's equal parts approachable and eye-catching. Hunter green walls anchor the passageway and add a masculine note that stands up to the heft of the posts.

3. Create a wow moment.

It's true that many traditional staircases feature rich wood tones and rounded banisters. But you can forge your own path, and create a wow moment that you'll never tire of, by juxtaposing a vintage-inspired railing in moody black with a backdrop of feminine floral wallpaper. This sophisticated look from Zoffany exudes old world elegance — from the herringbone floors to the pronounced door frames — and we like it all.

4. Stick with the classics.

Looking to make a subtle statement? A hand-turned newel post (the big guy at the front) makes for the ultimate elegant introduction to a traditional staircase, particularly when it's stained with a deep finish and highly polished. Phillip Mitchell Design installed salvaged floors, a tongue and groove wall treatment, and framed artwork, for an understated look with farmhouse vibes.

5. Make it spiral.

Spiral staircases are steeped in history — the first one is believed to date back to 133 AD! If you're looking to gain access to an upper floor, but don't have much space for a grand entrance, a traditional staircase of the spiral variety, like this stunner by Ach Design LLC, will do the trick.

6. Opt for clean lines.

Take a less-is-more approach to your steps with a minimal design, like this one by Chango & Co., that unites barely-there metal posts with a bleached wood handrail. Accents like a colorful vintage rug, embossed ceiling motifs, and a Moroccan-inspired pendant infuse eclectic details that stand out in the muted space.

7. Consider a curve.

A curved traditional staircase makes a dramatic stand-in for the more ubiquitous straight flight. The team over at Studio McGee paired a wooden handrail with slim-profile balustrades — the neutral color combo and simple design allow the detailed wall-paneling, crown molding, and curated accessories in this foyer to take center stage. A handsome tweed runner softens the steps.


Jaclyn Schatzow is a freelance writer living in Santa Monica, CA

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