You may go up and down them dozens of times a day , but stairs rarely get the attention that the rest of the house does. Los Angeles–based interior designer Betsy Burnham , for instance , knows that stairs can be the perfect place to add a hit of pattern and personality , or play up original architectural elements. With all the foot traffic a staircase gets , it's a place where a great design idea is sure to get plenty of attention. Here , are some ways Burnham has used a stairwell as an opportunity to step up a home’s design.
This contemporary Los Angeles home is rich with Moroccan accents , and the stairway offered yet another area to explore the exotic. Instead of standard white risers , Burnham chose mosaics from Country Floors; sconces and a lantern by Paul Ferrante continue the graphic , high-contrast theme.
This seaside house has a reverse layout , with bedrooms downstairs and the main living spaces upstairs , so the staircase played a pivotal design role. “It was important to me that guests experienced something decorative on the way up that also told the story of the house ,” says Burnham. Wainscoted walls , oiled natural wood steps , and artwork and objects on each landing establish the breezy coastal vibe.
Even though this house went through an extensive remodel , Burnham and her team left many of the original details intact. In the entry , a grayish-lavender wall , crisp white trim , and nearly black floors draw attention to the stair’s gingerbread molding and the black wrought-iron rail.
Even though the stairway off of this mudroom is rarely seen by guests , Burnham didn’t want the space to feel like an afterthought. “The family walks in and out of this back entry all the time ,” she says. “If they’re seeing it that much , it may as well be really cute.” Black-and-white-striped indoor-outdoor carpeting on the stairs and a tiled floor are both practical and upbeat; a simple chair and dog-themed artwork near the landing add a laid-back decorative touch.