What is the difference between modern and traditional staircases?

Are you in the process of remodelling your stairs or installing a new staircase? If so, you’ll likely be considering the aesthetic you’d like to achieve.

Typically, staircases can either have a modern or traditional appearance. But what makes a stair set contemporary and another classical?

Within this blog, the stair parts specialists Stair Crazy, explain the main differences between the two styles and how you can achieve each aesthetic.

What does a modern staircase look like?

Modern stair parts are renowned for their clean-cut lines, use of non-traditional materials, and minimalistic looks.

Depending on your home, your stair case may be straight, L-shaped, or U-shaped –   all of which can be modern if you change some of the fixtures and fittings.

Modern stairs can be hugely beneficial for your home as they’re unlikely to go out of style, and can really brighten up your space while making your hall feel much more open.

So, if simplicity is desired, a modern staircase might be the ideal look for your home.

How to achieve a modern staircase

Depending on how minimalist you wish to be, there are different modern styles to consider.

There’s the incredibly popular Scandinavian design, categorised by minimalism, light colours and simple lines. Clean-look hardwood and simple rectangular balustrades are the way to go if you wish to achieve a beautiful Scandinavian look – a popular choice amongst those wanting contemporary décor.

Other modern architectural stair elements include floating steps, industrial metal railings and polished stainless-steel balustrades – all popular with industrial homes.

Modern stair parts also commonly incorporate glass panels rather than spindles, which increase the flow of light, brightening your rooms and opening up your home.

What makes a staircase traditional?

Decorative, classical, and elegant stair parts generally make a staircase look more traditional and can make a really eye-catching staircase if this style is for you.

Traditional staircases involve unique and intricately detailed balustrades paired with hardwearing oak materials – excellent for adding texture and warmth and creating a stunning feature that wows all who visit your home.

How can I make my staircase look traditional?

Moving towards a more classical look is simple, given the wide range of decorative stair parts available on the market.

Choosing turned and chamfered spindles and newel posts add a Georgian element to your space, helping to bring an ornamental feel.

Similarly, to complete your balustrade, consider a continuous curved handrail which creates an elegant, timeless aesthetic.

The most vital part of traditional stairs is its construction material, for example, stunning hardwoods and oak. Warm woods are the perfect materials for a traditional staircase, as they offer a luxurious finish whilst being incredibly durable and heavily resistant to impacts.


Ultimately, the difference between modern and traditional staircases comes down to simplicity and the materials used. Modern stairs are much more minimal and feature a range of materials, whereas classic staircase designs are more intricate and are usually made from oak.

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