Deciding on a custom railing for a staircase can be exciting and rewarding. It’s almost dizzying to think about the number of materials and designs that you could use. The process can be overwhelming as well. Sometimes, it’s hard having too many choices! After all, you have one goal. You just want to be happy with the end product.

You want it to fit your house and your sense of style. In the designing process, most likely, you will have the help of a professional designer, plus the builder and installer. But wouldn’t it be nice to be informed and have some opinions before you sit down with them? This article gives you some tips in knowing your own sense of style and your desire. Hopefully, it will help you be confident in making a decision.

  1. Discover your personal style. What is the style of your house or business? Can you summarize your look in one word?
    • Is your current look industrial? Do you use lots of metal fixtures? Is your house in suburbia? Or an urban penthouse?
    • Is it traditional? Do you value symmetry and order? Do you value historical styles?
    • Or is your style eclectic or contemporary? Simple, understated furnishings, using a variety of woods with natural fibers and neutral colors?
    • If you gravitated toward one description or another, that may be your style. Google some images of these styles. You would definitely want your staircase to fit with the style of your house. But remember, these styles can cross over. If your house is traditional, but you want some trendy, contemporary elements, these can be incorporated into your staircase.
  2. What materials do you love? Custom railings can be wood—stained or painted, simple or elaborate. Railings can be simple, straight steel and cable or could be swirled, curved wrought iron. Glass can be used and combinations of wood and iron. Which way do you lean? Eliminating some of the choices will help you to be able to choose.
  3. Identify what will last. Paint color on a wall is easy to change. Railings are much more difficult. No matter what your style is, you want a railing that you will not get tired of soon or that will go out of style. Hopefully the railing you choose will last for 20 years or more. No pressure, right? It can be the focal point of your house, but doesn’t have to be. Do you want your railing to stand out? Or blend into the background? Do you want something that won’t block views? In any case, love what you install. It will be there for a while.
  4. What is your budget for this project? It’s fun to dream of the possibilities but cost is an important consideration. Setting a reasonable budget early in your process will eliminate some of the choices available, making it easier for you to decide on a design.