20 Standout Stair Railings and Why They Work

Stair railings are a necessary part of the architecture of your home if you have stairs. They are important, even required, for safety purposes. But you don’t have to sacrifice your style for cookie-cutter stair railings!

Stair Railings

Here are ten fantastic stair railings that enhance the style and décor of the surrounding spaces while still fulfilling their functionality. That’s a win-win.

Charming Nautical Rope Railing.

Charming Nautical Rope Railing.View in gallery

This is a creative example of stair safety with style! A light monochromatic color palette helps the unique silhouette and shadows of the rope railing stand out.

There is a good choice of angular lines throughout the space – in the furniture, rug, and even in the “waterfall” effect of stair treads and risers. We also love the detail of the excess rope knotted and hanging on the wall as though it is, in and of itself, a piece of artwork.{found on Riley Architects}.

Traditional Closed Riser Stair with Clean, Contemporary Railing Lines.

Traditional Closed Riser Stair with Clean, Contemporary Railing Lines.View in gallery

Gorgeous woods are awesome on a staircase, because the wood is exposed from multiple angles. This particular staircase combines cherry (risers) and jatoba (treads), and it would be a shame to incorporate any railing that would detract from those beautiful materials.

The beauty of this stair railing, with its open sawtooth-style iron stringers, is that it uses simple design to enhance and showcase the stairs’ beautiful craftsmanship. Overall, the effect is stunning.{found on specializedstairs}.

Twisted, Torqued Wood Railing.

Twisted, Torqued Wood Railing DesignView in gallery

These stairs themselves look like they might be something out of a Dr. Seuss book (in the best way possible!), with their gentle twisted spiral effect. But the ultimate detail that puts this particular stair railing over the top is the twisted look of the wood at the center curve.

In a tall, narrow space that is all white and neutral, it’s this kind of architecture that makes the staircase space something special.

Easygoing Coastal Stair Railing.

Easygoing Coastal Stair Railing.View in gallery

This stair railing successfully intersects a laidback, beachystyle (greyed out wood looks like driftwood) with cottage, barn, or farmhouse appeal in the “X” design.

It’s a versatile statement, however, with its elements of modernity with slim cable safeguards running horizontally. The treads match the railing for continuity in the look, which is a good idea design-wise, because there is a lot going onwith all the criss-crosses and lines.

Modern Open Riser with Cable Steel Railing.

Modern Open Riser with Cable Steel RailingView in gallery

In a completely modern, minimal space, the stair railing should definitely reflect that style. This one accomplishes this to perfection. Open risers provide greater visual capacity through the space and keep the open, airy flow and feel.

We love that there is a clear view, not only through the stairs themselves, but also through the steel and cable stair railing. The metals are a great choice here in combination with the whites and medium tones of warmer wood. {found on theuncommonlaw}.

Industrial, Small-Space Shelving Railing.

Small-Space Shelving RailingView in gallery

This design is decidedly unique and quite thrilling! The railing is open without being, well,open. And it’s an excellent choice to pair a railing made out of wood with what appears to be concrete treads – a kind of urban chic, industrial vibe without feeling like a cave or a box.

This stair railing gives an interesting, almost honeycomb, feel to an otherwise enclosed space – it’s an illusion of windows, almost, while providing critical small-space functional and aesthetic architecture.

Contemporary One-Tone Stair with Metal and Wood Railing.

Contemporary One-Tone StairView in gallery

Whenever a staircase is long, or there are multiple staircases that come together, a visually lightweight stair railing is a good design choice so as to not weigh down the entire space.

These railings in particular remains true to the style of the home with its contemporary look, but even more than that, the railing appears to have an adjustable mechanical system, with its screws and fittings, which somehow brings presence to an otherwise architecturally simple space. {found on elementalarchitecture}.

Simple, Elegant Railing.

Simple and elegant railingView in gallery

Where the interior design of a space leans toward the simply elegant (such as this space does with its large glass and a brass pendant hanging from a high vaulted ceiling, and with tall detailed baseboards and door panels of a simple, whitish hue), a wrought iron railing with a simple, elegant design is the perfect complement.

The scale of this railing mimics the pendant in the same visual plane, which further adds cohesion to the scheme. This is an understated, sophisticated choice.

Balanced, Eclectic Staircase & Railing.

Balanced and Eclectic StaircaseView in gallery

When your staircase can be the focal point of a space, you’ve got a prime opportunity (and responsibility) to make it worthwhile. This particular example does this perfectly.

The juxtaposition of a thick, chunky wood tread (and discernable wood grain) with slender, vertical cables as the “railing” is spot-on: both elements play off of and enhance each other. The accent wallpapered wall with its slim black-and-white print is a nice combination with the slim cables as well. A lovely blend of yin and yang here, where it all comes together.

“Invisible” Glass Modern Staircase.

Invisible Glass Modern StaircaseView in gallery

This elegant, completely modern glass staircase is a stunner visually, but it’s also impressive architecturally. Each stair is supported on one side only, cantilevering out of the solid wall. On the other side of the tread are two floor-to-ceiling rectangular sheets of glass.

The effect of the thick glass stair treads “floating” in space and the glass railing installed as an invisible support is brilliant and minimalist, and this setup makes the entire space.

Minimalist wood railing with built-in handrail

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You can actually see this staircase if you’re ever in the Bloomberg office from Hong Kong. It was designed by studio Neri&Hu and it’s very interesting because it’s super simple but at the same time it stands out in a really great way.

The detail which makes this staircase so special is the built-in handrail design which becomes part of the wall on one side and part of the wooden railing on the other.

Unique staircase railing made of Lego pieces

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You may have heard other saying that you can pretty much build anything out of Legos given the wide variety of pieces that they offer. Looking at this amazing staircase designed by studio I-Beam Architecture we tend to agree.

This entire stair railing is made out of Lego pieces. It has these little windows that you can see out of and little bits of color sprinkled throughout. There’s even an integrated handrail.

Built-in handrail with hidden lighting

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It’s the little details that often make designs stand out and in the case of this wooden staircase designed by Fraher Architects that comes in the form of hidden accent lighting.

The warm LED lights put an emphasis on the built-in handrail making it more visible at night and also giving the entire staircase a modern and sophisticated appearance.

Spiral staircase with glass railings and lights

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Quite often the staircase becomes a focal point for the space that it’s a part of so why not build on that idea and use it on our favor? That seems to be the idea that this beautiful design by studio Archways is based on.

The staircase in this case has a spiraling and sculptural shape and sits on a pedestal with built-in LED lights. As it curves and twists the transparent glass railing follows its shape, being accentuated by the sleek attached handrail.

Classic staircase with modern glass railing

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The staircase is simple and has a classic, fairly traditional design. What helps it stand out and gives it a modern appearance is actually the railing which is made of glass.

The clean and transparent glass and its subtle blue tint contrast with the wooden stairs and helps to keep the staircase looking bright and airy. This is a design by US Glass Fence.

Wood, glass and stainless steel staircase

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The staircase is definitely a prominent feature in this beautiful interior designed by Amanda Martocchio Architecture and that’s partially due to the palette of materials chosen for its design.

The combination of wood, glass and stainless steel gives the staircase a robust but at the same time lightweight and airy appearance. The glass railings and the slender handrails work hand in hand to frame it without obstructing its sculptural design.

Cantilevered stairs with backlit handrail

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It’s definitely unusual to see a staircase without a safety railing which is one of the reasons why this exquisite design is so special. Created by studio Paulo Martins Arquitectura & Design, this staircase takes minimalism to a new level.

It’s composed of floating cantilevered stairs which make their way up alongside the wall accompanied by a handrail which almost completely blends into the wall during the day. At night the handrail is illuminated and highlighted with a soft and elegant glow.

Floating staircase with desk and glass railing

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The staircase design that you see here was created in response to a limited amount of space and a desire to combine multiple functions into one spot.

Studio Swisterski Design came up with the idea of a wooden staircase that has a solid and sturdy base then transitions into a series of floating stairs with an almost invisible glass safety railing. But that’s not all. They also integrated a minimalist desk underneath the stairs.

Staircase makeover featuring a curved metal railing

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Originally, this staircase has a very traditional design including a classic railing with ornate wood posts and white pickets. When studio Odami was called to help transform this entire entryway, they chose a more clean and modern aesthetic which meant the staircase no longer suited the surroundings.

The railing was replaced with a minimalist solid white wall which curves gently as it reaches the landing and a short metal railing with a very sleek and lightweight design.

Coastal staircase with rope handrail

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The rope handrail has become a staple of coastal and beach-style interiors and for good reason. It fits perfectly and it adds texture and style to the staircase and the space around it.

Here’s a beautiful coastal cottage entryway by studio Kate Jackson Design which showcases a nautical rope handrail which twists and curves as it follows the stairs. It’s absolutely perfect for this space and it also stands out by having this rather unusual shape.