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Ways to Dress Stairs

Don’t underestimate the importance of spaces that link other important areas. We often design buildings from concept to completion and the way people move around a building is fundamental. Stairs present us with an opportunity to link levels in an imaginative way. Let’s look at some examples as we share our tips on how to dress stairs…

Kit at The Whitby Hotel

Stair Runner…

Consider a runner to add warmth and texture to your staircase. You can make a bespoke runner from a rug you love as we have done here. Even if the rug is old and worn you can reshape and reuse certain parts, giving a much loved item a new lease of life!

For this residential project, we created a bespoke colourway of our ‘Flower & Berry’ design for Wilton Carpets. Each made-to-order carpet is woven with a blend of rich British wool and a durable nylon mix allowing a varsity of colours which you can customise yourself here.


A staircase often provides the longest, tallest blank wall or surface in a building and can act as a gallery for artwork. Here at The Soho Hotel, we have played with vibrant paint colours on the walls, balanced by a neutral colour. Groups of vertically hung 3D artworks by Charlie Wells are displayed on the landing that links the lobby area to our private events spaces and screening rooms.


We are captivated by chandeliers and love to hang them beside staircases and in atriums. This creates an opportunity to view and admire every aspect of a chandelier’s multiple tiers.

Consider lighting the tops of stair treads with wall mounted down-lights as pictured here. This is useful for not only safety, but also to create a heightened sense of drama. Hidden strips of LED lights are another way to create drama. Check out our Guide to Strip Lighting to see some more ways to use hidden lights.

Utilise landing spaces & consider wallpapers…

Make the landing space somewhere you want to stop. If your stairwell is large enough, add books along the side. It can look spectacular. In Room 109 at Charlotte Street Hotel, our Tall Trees wallpaper creates a cosy cocoon with birds, mythical creatures, towering trees and rolling hills. It makes our guests feel as though they are entering the treetops when heading up to the bedroom.

Enhance the staircase railing…

Consider adding decorative elements such as balusters. A lick of paint on the railing and handrails as seen in this stairwell, adds a juicy pop of colour to a space that could have easily been left forgotten. We love this glossy grass green railing, atop our vibrant Wychwood wallpaper for Andrew Martin.

Additionally, elements such as blown glass can be added into the balustrade for an extra touch of pizazz and unexpected fun as seen here at Ham Yard Hotel.

We hope you’ve found these examples useful and remember, the key is to balance aesthetics with functionality. Your dressed up staircase should not only look appealing but also provide a comfortable and safe passage between different levels of your home.

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