Staircases are awesome focal points and important interior design features which have a big impact on the overall decor and ambiance of a home or building. At the same time, they’re permanent features which means once a staircase is installed it’s there to stay.
You can still give it makeovers every once in a while or give it more character with a new stair handrail design. In fact, the handrails are full of potential and can truly change the look of a staircase and the space around it. Check out ten of our top favorite handrail systems.
Different types of handrails
There’s a lot of differences that can be found between various handrails. They can be made from different materials, have different shapes or finishes and they can also differ in all sorts of other ways. Generally speaking, there’s three main types of handrails.
This type handrail is designed to be mounted to the guardrail and to extend inwards, providing a support for the user to grab onto as they go up and down the stairs. They can be installed on either side of the staircase, depending on preference.
As you can easily tell, these handrails are designed to be mounted onto the wall. They’re useful when staircases don’t have railings but they can also come as an addition. They can be made from a variety of different materials, the most common ones being wood and metal. They can also be installed in several different ways, with or without brackets and there’s a variety of styles to choose from.
Another common type of handrails is the integrated kind. These handrails are placed on top of the stair railing and form a portion of the balustrade. They’re supported by newel posts at either end and they can be made from a variety of materials, the most common one being wood. The posts are often decorated and the handrails can be placed on either one or on both sides of a staircase.
Stair handrail design ideas
A minimalistic, built-in design
A built-in handrail has the advantage of looking minimalist which is a core attribute of a lot of modern and contemporary designs. One of the best concepts in this sense was applied by studioNeri&Huwhich created this gorgeous wooden staircase for the Bloomberg office located in Hong Kong.
Accent lighting for a cool and stylish touch
Another cool concept is that of a stair handrail with built-in accent lighting. A great example is the design created byhamhuis architectenin collaboration withEeStairsfor a home in The Netherlands. The handrail is neatly inserted into an alcove built into the wall and the accent lighting gives it a very cool look plus it’s very useful at night.
Built-in handrails made of timeless marble
The built-in handrail trend also influenced the design created byQuinn Architectsfor a house in Los Angeles. The staircase wall containing the handrails was clad in marble and gives a very elegant and sophisticated look to an otherwise very simple and basic staircase design.
Wood, glass and metal in perfect harmony
The combination of wood, glass and metal is exquisite and gives this staircase a sturdy yet at the same time lightweight appearance. This is a design adopted by MU Architecture for a home located in Quebec, Canada. The handrails match the steps of the staircase which in turn coordinate perfectly with the wooden floors.
An abstract and artistic design with lots of flair
A more sculptural and eye-catching handrail/guardrail design such as this one can definitely steal all the attention from the actual staircase. That’s actually a great strategy you can use if the goal is to keep the staircase as simple and as minimal as possible. This particular design is the work of designer Marc Fornes/THEVERYMANY.
Sleek and made of metal for a lightweight look
Sometimes the most obvious and simple of choices is also the best one. Take this staircase for example, in a home designed by CR2 Arquitetura in São Paulo, Brazil. The metal rod handrail is so simple and so elegant. At the same time the handrail gives the staircase a lightweight and graphical look, a perfect complement for the floating concrete structure and wooden steps.
A distinct lack of dedicated handrails for a minimal aesthetic
For an even cleaner and more open look, glass staircase railings which implicitly double as handrails are perfect because they don’t obstruct the views in any way and they let the light freely travel through them. The soft accent lighting makes this particular design look even more exquisite.
A sculptural design based on simplicity
The floating staircase and the metal pipe handrail are independent from one another in this beautiful design created byASWA for an artist’s studio/ gallery located in Bangkok, Thailand. This gives them a graceful and fluid appearance and an artistic vibe.
Gentle curves and wavy patterns
The staircase built by studio Atmoss has one of the most amazing designs you’ll ever see. This is the main staircase of the Hide restaurant in London and it looks gorgeous. It’s a spiral staircase which branches out seamlessly and has wavy stairs and handrails that perfectly capture the magical vibe of the design.
Simple yet glamorous
Speaking of beautiful spiral staircases, check out this stylish design created by Powerhouse Company for office space in Dublin. The whole interior design features glamorous, timeless lines and carefully-selected accessories and the staircase is the main focal point of the space. Everything about it is just right, including the curving handrails.
A design that blends in and yet stands out
Sometimes you can make a big impression through something rather simple. Take this beautiful handrail and these floating stairs for example. The interior design created here by studio Paulo Martins Arquitectura & Design tells a story, one of elegance, sophistication, light and shadow.
Warm lighting with amber tones
The dark walnut wood that this staircase is built out of gives it such an elegant and somber look. However, it wouldn’t look as rich and as beautiful if not for the beautiful amber tones of the accent lights. The handrail is very subtle but stands out nevertheless. This interior and the staircase included were designed by studio Fraher Architects.
Double the handrails, double the beauty
This staircase has not just one set of handrail but two and of two different types. There’s two handrails on each side of the staircase. One set is integrated and the other is wall-mounted. You might be wondering why Gayet-Roger Architects chose to double them in this manner. Well, it’s because this is a daycare center and they wanted everyone, both children and adults, to be safe when walking up and down the stairs.
A seamless railing and handrail combo
Spiral staircases are magnificent by definition so it’s fairly easy to make them stand out. Architect Tommy Rand went with a simple design, one that brings out the natural beauty of the wood and adds a really interesting dynamic twist to this spiraling shape. The soft and gentle curves are complemented by the intricacy of this staircase’s design which was made from 630 pieces of plywood.
A simple pattern can change everything
This beautiful staircase designed by R2 Studio just wouldn’t be the same without this beautiful pattern of circular holes and perforations and without the inset handrail that follows it along the wall. It’s a simple little detail but it makes all the difference.
A classic mix of wood and glass
Classic materials such as wood and glass always go well together and there’s so many different ways to combine them and to allow them to complement one another. In the context of this elegant staircase designed by studio Zackride Vito Architecture the glass was used to allow transparency for the railing and to inspire a lightweight aesthetic and the wood allows the handrail to stand out while also blending into the design.