When it comes to elements of design that are the perfect marriage of form and function, nothing comes to mind quicker than a staircase. Over the centuries, residential staircases have transformed beyond their functional appeal into a true design powerhouse, providing pros and homeowners alike a chance to bring architectural interest, personality, and fun to spaces big and small.
Whether you’re tackling a home build from the ground up or are undertaking a remodel and looking to inject some visual interest into your staircase, there are endless ways to do so—and a few important pieces of lingo to understand before you start dreaming up ideas. Below, we’re recapping the basic anatomy of a staircase, plus all the ways in which you can show your personality through the design. Because building codes can vary greatly depending on the project and location, we haven’t really covered that here—but that doesn’t mean you can turn a blind eye. It’s always a good idea to touch base with a pro in your area (be that a contractor, inspector, or architect) ahead of starting a project to make sure whatever staircase changes you’re envisioning will be both stylish and safe.
Staircase Anatomy 101
Perhaps one of the most intricate designs and architectural details in a home, staircases have a surprising number of components. Learn the lingo below to talk the talk with contractors and design pros alike.
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A stringer is the support board that runs along each side of a staircase. It provides necessary structural support to the entire staircase and acts as a point of attachment for other elements, like the treads and risers. In most cases, one side (the inner stringer)