How to Make your Stairs a Feature

Stairs can take up a lot of space in a room, but they don’t have to be boring: you can make your stairs a feature space.

Stairs are a necessity and not really something we choose to put in our house. They’re a way of us getting from the downstairs to the upstairs. But rather than thinking of them as a useful-but-not-needed tool, make your stairs a feature and turn them into a statement.

Use a glass balustrade

I recently did a post about making your hallway appear bigger and lighter. A hallway is a long and narrow space that often doesn’t get much natural light thanks to all the doors that come off it. If you don’t want to stain your stairs for fear of making the space darker, you can install glass balustrades such as the ones from Cheshire Mouldings.

They can be used in such a way to make your staircase appear as if it’s floating. The glass will make the staircase blend in with the wall more seamlessly. The glass also lets much more light through and reflects it, making your hallway appear lighter too.

make your stairs a feature with a glass banister

Install a runner

This is the sort of task you can do yourself and can be reasonably cheap. If you have wooden stairs already, the runner can be stapled in place. Just remember that your stairs won’t be perfectly straight, so measure the width properly all the way down. Otherwise you’ll have a wonky runner.


stairs with runner


Runners draw the eye up the stairs, so they can create an illusion if you have a small narrow hallway of it being bigger than it really is.

Use wallpaper on the stairs

floral staircase with wallpaper

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Wallpaper is a fun and easy way of adding some colour and pattern to make your stairs a feature. It’s easy to apply, is relatively cheap and can look amazing. See how Sarah’s used the floral pattern in the stairs above which adds bright yellows and pinks to stairs that might otherwise be brown and white.

Use different colours and woods

Don’t just stick to one type of colour or wood. A deep mahogany looks lovely with white spindles, which is what Christine has done from Little House on the Corner

white and mahogany staircase

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They lovingly restored their falling apart staircase and made it look incredible.

There are so many ways you can change up your stairs. They don’t have to be plain, but can be seen as a piece of artwork that brightens up your house. Make them a statement!

How we got our free fireplace (really)

There aren’t many things that come free, so when they do you have to snap up the offer, like we did with our free fireplace.

It happened by accident: we didn’t mean to get a free fireplace, and we weren’t trying to barter the price down. It was made out of leftover and unwanted materials, paid for by other people.

Our original fireplace was in perfect working condition but a bit old-fashioned for our taste. We advertised it online as free, and someone came to pick it up. This was great, as there was no extra cost to dispose of it.

Jay chiselled out the hole for the fireplace himself. He managed to hit a water pipe that sent a stream flowing through the living room. Luckily, it was an old pipe that was no longer in use. It just hadn’t been emptied.

Our plasterers came in to do the whole of the downstairs, and also the landing. They had some leftover fireboard which they used to line the fireplace. At the moment, we have a little electric fire which doesn’t give off much heat. This was given to us for free by jay’s mum. We decided to install fireboard anyway in case we want to put in a log burner in the future. It saves ripping all the plaster off the wall and making a huge mess.

It was then all plastered and painted.

Next, was the hearth. We had some spare paving slabs from our driveway, which Jay thought to cut down and use as the base for the hearth. We wanted to buy some brick-looking tiles to put down on top of the paving slabs, but decided to wait until we could afford it.

The cable has now been run through the side of the wall, so it isn’t visible. The fire came with a remote control too, so we don’t have to turn it on manually via a side switch.

Then, as if the Gods were looking down on us, we got some free, brand new slate. A friend of ours had just had his driveway done, and had some leftover slate. He gave it to us for free. Jay then cut it down to size and cemented it in place.

free fireplace

Ignore the surrounding mess….

Voila! Our completely free fireplace.

We’re looking out for a solid wood beam to sit across as a mantelpiece to create this sort of effect:

I’d like a really chunky piece of oak, to go with the rest of our living room. That definitely won’t be free (even I would be amazed if it was) but might only cost £60-100. I’ll absolutely be getting inspiration from My Chic Living. This guest post offers three ways to style a mantelpiece. 

Have you ever got a great bargain by accident? (You can also view our eBay kitchen bargain here!)