Flooring in areas surrounding staircases should be practical and hardwearing, be able to shrug off dirt brought into the house, and be safe. But at the same time, flooring also offers a chance to make a statement about the whole house.



Slattery & Acquroff. Source: Slattery & Acquroff

A floor particularly in the stairwell positioned in a homes entrance area should be warm, welcoming and in keeping with the style and decoration of the surrounding rooms. Stairways can often have the best floors in the house. The trick is to appreciate them.

Pale carpets are not always recommended for staircases as they get dirty very quickly and cleaning won’t bring out some stains. Carpet may not be a good option if you want to add to the light as carpet trends not to the reflective. If carpet is to be installed in a stairwell where you are required to add light, don’t be tempted to carpet a staircase in a shade that is already dirt coloured such as muds and coffees.

The fact that staircases are a high traffic area means to a carpeted staircase requires consideration. The edge of a tread of a carpeted staircase needs to be round to prevent premature wearing of the carpet on the nosing line. Wear and tare is the menace of a carpeted staircase.

Stairs can benefit from changes of pace, colour and texture. Simple or plain carpets are better because wild patterns can be deceptive and cause you to trip, although they can be as decorative and distinctive as a wooden or stone floors. For example, you can put a different coloured strip of carpet from the rest down the middle that follows the direction of the walls or stair. Neutral colours set off brighter colours on the walls.

Flooring and a staircase can be brought together. The floor can be divided into chunks that has width and depth similar to a stair tread. A handrail can divide the stair and similar flooring like an abstract painting. Like wise the gentle curve of a geometric stair and the simplicity of the construction makes it perfect contrast for a very busy, colourful floor – this can be done with tiles, timber or carpet finish.

With multi-patterned carolina wood flooring such as with encaustic tiles, the simplicity of the stair can be increased by picking just one or two shades from the floor and repeating them on the stair. If the size of a tile in proportion to the floor space is carefully considered the ever popular black and white tile never fails to look elegant.

A floor covering that is a contrast to the staircase helps make to stair safe. Any contrast between the materials or in the case of timber, direction of the grain aids the eye in distinguishing between the steps of the staircase and the staircase entry and exit points.

When considering timber flooring the wealth of choice is endless. A stairwell’s floor can be individual design and styled to site a staircase. In the case of parquetry before you start selecting timbers, the possible styles you can consider are Lineal: “straight lines”, Herringbone: “angled blocks”, Double herringbone: “two blocks next to each other in same pattern as herringbone”, Basket Weave or a Square on Square. All these designs can be altered by laying them in 45° angle or 90° angle having a stunning effect. Then you can consider Borders to add a decorative feature to the parquetry floor. The border could also use contrasting timber give greater effect.

Often it can be best to keep floor treatments as simple as possible particularly in smaller areas, if a floor gets over complicated, the space will be spoiled. Therefore, if you have natural, good looking floors, don’t bother to carpet them unless the noise is too much. If you must have carpet, go for a plain version in a strong wearing weave or in smaller houses a striped runner is good. If you leave the floors relatively plain, you can go crazy on the walls with colour and the stairwells lighting.

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