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Any project where the end goal is revamping your space’s look, or you’re creating a look for the first time, the initial step should always be coming up with a solid plan, and that applies to stair design projects too. Only then will you have a solid idea of what you want and how it will look.

There are several factors to take under consideration for this before you can know what the final result will look like. In the case of spiral stair designs, those factors are automatically unique in form. But then again, that’s part of what you’re going with a spiral stair for your space—to have that unique shape define your space.

Once you know the basic shape of the addition and potential centerpiece, you can move on to the finer details. But before all that, perform the simple act of drawing it out, literally, on a piece of paper. Let your creative side flow during this phase. Where things will go, how they’ll be oriented around the centerpiece that is your spiral stair, everything that drawing entails. You’ll be much more pleased with the final product if you take the time.

One of the first questions you may want to ask yourself is what material you want to go with for your spiral stair. If this is an interior stair design, you have considerably more options. But you also have considerably more elements to figure out how they’ll all go together to form a thematic whole.

The simple choice between an industrial looking metal or a traditional looking wood immediately sets the tone for this space. Or maybe you want something that’s a hybrid of both and gives a more subtle note of both worlds. Or maybe you want an extreme version of one—all steel or all wood.

Work through that initial decision and the look your overall stair design creates, as a general tone and feel, before getting into finer points such as wood species or paint colors for the metal.

After an overall material has been decided upon, you can move on to specific pieces of the stair. Do you want simple or ornate spindles? Open or closed tread risers? Maybe a couple of cutout patterns in these different pieces will be in order for your overall stair designs.

One thing you may not want to do, though, is make each component ornate. Play up some parts and down play others to create some striking focal points and contrast. Making every piece as ornate as possible might just be too much. Plus, it would make it much more difficult to match your stair to anything else that might be occupying this space.

So keep the ornateness to a simple level. This broadens your options and the scope of your theme.

While on the topic of theme, this is a good time to consider the one you’re creating through your material selection and the design of the individual components you’re selecting. Then there’s also the collection of décor and other furnishings that will surround this stair. And the addition or subtraction of individual components can change that overall effect dramatically. This goes back to the idea of drawing everything out first.

And stairs typically thought of as outdoors stairs don’t necessarily have to be—an indoor galvanized steel stair would be great for emphasizing that nautical theme indoors.

An all wood stair, made with the right species, sets a great rustic cabin theme. These are the possibilities to consider with the different kinds of stairs.

Keeping with your theme and the level of “openness” or “closeness” you may want to create with it, remember that color also affects that. Bright colors will create much more of a bright and open feel. Just like having white or otherwise bright walls in a room as opposed to dark walls. So high-polish elements, like a brass handrail, may also be worth considering to achieve your desired effect.

If you’d like things to feel a little closed off, or “cozy” as you may be considering it, then opt for those darker colors.

Too dark may make your space look cluttered, which defeats part of the purpose behind getting a spiral staircase. Remember, one of the distinct advantages of a spiral staircase is that it has a minimal footprint, just the vertical, which is what makes it so desirable for more urban settings where space conservation is always an issue.

So keep in mind the power and effect of a color beyond simple looks when it comes to designing your stair and the room around it.

Remember, you’re not restricted by the color of the metal. That can, and should, be painted. Or powder coated. So really, besides the natural appeal of raw wood, your options are really more defined by the available finishes than by the material surface itself. Metal will have that more modern industrial look by merit of the silhouette it creates. But that modern industrial look will be enhanced by a strategic finish.

Besides color, there’s the idea of a matte finish versus a glossy finish, which goes back to the idea of opening up your room or closing it off. Something with more shine, just like the bright polished brass, will lend the room a more open feel. So the use of several reflective surfaces on your spiral stair may be an overall neat trick if you’re dealing with a smaller space. Plus, having several reflective surfaces on your spiral stair, and introducing strategically located light sources in the room with the spiral stair, will generate a really intriguing look.

If the standard options at your chosen spiral stair manufacturer don’t quite match your envisioned them and look, then it might be worth doing a little research to see if they offer completely custom options. If your stair manufacturer has this capability then the design options are limited only by your vision.

You may even benefit further from those plans you drew up in the initial step by showing them to a representative of your chosen manufacturer and seeing what they can do as far as suggestions to add to or augment your design. It never hurts to get help or tips from a professional that’s willing to take the time.

At the end of the day your final design is essentially an equation where each chosen component adds up to a cost. So make sure the end of that equation is equal to a budget you take the time to create early on in the process or you’ll have to backtrack and redo several aspects.

A design element with such permanency and daily practical use as a spiral stair is worth the investment. It’s a permanent fixture of your home. That type of purchase warrants every consideration you can give financially. Once you give that due consideration, the resulting stair design is sure to offer a lasting beauty that reflects your personality and invigorates your space for a long time.

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