Stunning Stair Railings

By Kate Riley January 25, 2016

Exciting news, we’re in contract to purchase another fixer upper house. Of course it’s never a done deal until escrow closes so I won’t blog about the house until the keys are in my hand but this one is a single story home. For months I’d been looking at two story homes and saving images of beautiful staircases assuming we’d buy a two story and as it turns out this time we’re not, so I thought I’d just get my love affair for stunning stair railings out of my system and spotlight a few staircase balustrades that I adore.

The pieces between the hand rail and stair tread are formally called a balustrade and the individual vertical posts are called balusters. We all know a stair railing has its functional use: to protect people and pets from falling and as a hand support for traveling up and down stories. But all of us who love design we want more than just function, we want beautiful form too. While a classic look with vertical balusters will always be timeless, I’m admiring the horizontal lines and geometric designs in many of these systems, a modern detour from the traditional look of all vertical balusters.

iron balustrade wood treadsclayton & little

geometric metal balustradesingle point design build

 geometric metal stair railing

stacey cohen interiors

 modern cable stair railing

mf architecture

 geometric staircase balusters

leo designs

 contemporary wire stair railing

  rume home

 iron contemporary balustrade

specialized stairs


 wave staircase railing

john k anderson architect

 steel balustrade

synthesis design build

 custom modern balusters

jeff king & co


vertical wire balustrade

heritage collection


hgtv dream home

A staircase railing remodel is a pricey undertaking, those beautiful balustrades are custom work by a local craftsman or builder. Any build or remodel should meet local codes, so a permit is often required. That last image is my favorite, what’s yours among these modern designs?


  1. I die for beautiful staircases and balustrades. May fave is a tie between the Leo Designs and Jeff King & Co.

    Do you buy fixer uppers to flip them? My husband and I are about to start flipping houses ourselves!

    • Hi Sonja, yes that’s what we have done in the past, although our last remodel will be a rental. I love your staircase choices :)

  2. I love the John K Anderson staircase. They are all beautiful, but I would be nervous to have any horizontal pieces as they are an invitation for children to climb up and over.

    I love your blog!

  3. The Jeff King – definitely!

    I am working up my courage to flip a house. For now, I get to watch you (and Joanna Gaines, of course!)

  4. Wow, great choices. The Heritage Collection looks a tad scary, but breathtaking. When we did an addition, my vision was a metal fire escape inside the house…rustic meets industrial….the contractor thought I was nuts, but it is now the focal point of the space! Such fun!

  5. mf architecture is my favorite, though I also love the way the brown wood of the rume home railing and balusters echo the treads and flooring, while the wires in between keep it light and airy. I have a 2-story townhouse that has plain painted wood handrails with drywall below, nothing decorative at all. It’s fun to look a these and imagine what it could be….if I had a ton of money!

  6. The Heritage Designs one is indeed breathtaking! Of all the designs, that’s the one that is really a wow for me. But it unfortunately doesn’t fulfill one of the requirements you mention, which is to provide support for your hand should you need it! I wonder if they could put a railing against the wall in the same color as the wall so as not to draw attention to it.

  7. Seeing the pictures you have of these railings makes me want to rip out the one I have and replace it. Sigh, maybe I will be able to in the next couple of years. Also, thanks for the definition of balustrade. I have read this word a couple of times but had no idea what it meant. I thought it was just another word for a railing and was too lazy to look it up.

  8. Hi Kate

    Great choices to be made upon.
    I love the – Stacey Cohen interiors
    The framed photos always add an extra spark to whatever it’s being done innovative, regarding our house.
    You have come up with some beautiful stair railings.

    Wish you could add up with some wall craft textures besides the railings. That would be a great thing to add up.

    Have a good week

    Shantanu sinha

  9. Kate, each of these metal stair railings are stunning. I would have never thought that stair railings could be considered a work of art until I saw this. I agree that classic balusters are timeless, these modern designs are amazing.

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