Need Advice on House to Remodel Staircase?


Hi All,

We are about to move into our new home and want to remodel the stair case.

Would be great to get some advice on makng the staircase minimal, modern and removing the bulk - it really eats into the living room space visually!


q need advice on house to remodel staircase
q need advice on house to remodel staircase
  18 answers
  • Robyn Garner Robyn Garner on Aug 16, 2020

    Changing stairs is really tricky. You have to match the risers and steps in order to keep it to code, keep in mind stairs to the basement and proper headroom everywhere. The easiest thing for you would be to swap out the section of ponywall for a glass piece. You could open the bottom section of stairs to the underside by removing the drywall near the sliding glass door. Just making that visibly open could help. You can measure (but I don't think there's room) the bottom section of stairs to make it continue straight down along the outside wall where the sliding glass door is.

  • Chloe Crabtree Chloe Crabtree on Aug 16, 2020

    I don't' know if the wall (the one where the handrail is) is supporting, but to change that out to glass would certainly open up the space visually. Can the wall beneath the small landing and the bottom set of risers be opened up? Opening that up and adding green plants there might give it more visual space.

  • You will want to check with a qualified engineer/architect/contractor before remodeling the stairs. There are codes to be followed for safety. Actually, I'm surprised you don't have a railing on the landing/coming down the last 5 steps.

  • Vimarhonor Vimarhonor on Aug 16, 2020

    Probably removing the walls and adding glass safety rails could be an option. Unless you wish to reclaim the space and install a spiral staircase and improve your floor plan square footage that way. Consulting an architect or designer might be recommended. Thoughtful color choice in wall paint might help the walls disappear as well.

    Have you thought about searching the visuals on Pinterest or Houzz for inspiration? There is a wealth of ideas and visual inspiration there for your consideration. That might lead you to decide on an idea or plans.

  • Janice Janice on Aug 16, 2020

    I agree with others about insuring you get a professional to assess the safety aspects. Your new home is beautiul and though you feel the staircase blocks the liviving room visually, you may be able to incorporate bookcases, etc. into the area so the area becomes more useful. I would certainly look forward seeing what you decide to do. Thanks!

  • Ken Erickson Ken Erickson on Aug 16, 2020

    It looks like you have 2 staircases with 1 tucked under the other. I think that is a minimal use of space - as is. The thing I would worry about is the lack of rail at the landing going upstairs. I can envision somebody falling off that landing. It may not be OSHA approved.

  • Patty Patty on Aug 16, 2020

    What an odd staircase. What I have seen designers do is to knock out stair "walls" and put in spindles to visually open up the staircase. I would ask a contractor about doing that. I personally like the rounded wrought iron look for spindles but a) expensive, and b) not everyone's style. What style are you going for?

  • Oliva Oliva on Aug 16, 2020

    Your home appears more contemporary. What about cable style wiring between top and bottom rails, or inserts of plexi glass to open the view? I'd changethe other handrail to a more contemporary one, as well.

  • Simple Nature Decor Simple Nature Decor on Aug 16, 2020

    Is this a picture of what you want or is this a picture of what you have, You can add rope and railing for contemporary feel. This one on pinterest is my favorite

  • Sharon Sharon on Aug 16, 2020

    I would knock out that space saving stairs, and put in a beautiful spiral staircase... there are companies who make pre-fab ones. I have many a spiral staircase and always liked them, very popular in NYC.

  • Cynthia H Cynthia H on Aug 17, 2020

    Hi! Altering the structure of a staircase can be complicated. Codes change over the years, and an altered or replaced staircase has to meet current code. There are also structural issues as others have mentioned. There will be a permit and most likely an inspection for rebuilding or changing it physically. I found that out when I wanted to rebuild an old staircase. You can paint it, create openings in sheetrock to give a more open feel, and other non-structural changes (it is the framing that is structural in the walls), if there is load bearing. Best case scenario? No load bearing.

    I wouldn't recommend a spiral staircase for a couple of reasons. A family member has a lovely one, but, I hate walking up and down it as I get older. Some older relatives can't use it at all. There have been falls, too. The other reason is that they are planning on selling, and although they are in a nice neighborhood where houses sell very quickly (2 weeks or less even these days). When it was shown, although people love the house, no one wants the staircase. You can't carry furniture up and down it, either. They, fortunately, have an outside staircase that goes up to the deck outside the master suite. Result? They are getting a wood, traditional staircase put in, at a great deal of cost, since they break ground on a new house next year. So keep in mind that you may sell in the future. Painting an accent wall would give you a totally different look, as would wallpaper. Good luck and stay safe!

  • Flipturn Flipturn on Aug 18, 2020

    If you want to integrate this stairwell and/or make it more serviceable as a living space, my idea is to not take away from it, but to add to it.

    Add to the bottom portion of the landing in between the two areas of stairs so that the landing is expanded into a little sitting area/reading corner. Under neath this platform can be closed in storage.

    Moving the hand rail to the right side of the bottom portion of the stairs would 'free up' the wall for a large piece of artwork, mirror with floating shelf, or similar visual interest enhancement.

  • Morgan McBride Morgan McBride on Aug 18, 2020

    Be careful, most codes have strict requirements.

  • Oana Oana on Aug 20, 2020

    I see what you mean, all those walls and full stair steps block the view. The walls between and around the stairs don't seem to be load bearing. I would ask an architect if they can go down and replace the middle wall with a continuous railing. Perhaps replace the full steps with open steps (only the board), again to be checked with an architect. You do have a cheaper option though, to add a bench next to the stairs wall in the first picture and a nice carpet. This way you would delimit the space, make it like a small area where people can talk or kids play without being in the living room with everybody yet never far away. In no way would I recommend a spiral staircase as I have not bought several gorgeous houses because of the stairs. I even had a friend slip on one and break his shoulder. Those only look good in pictures.

  • Kathy Gunter Law Kathy Gunter Law on Aug 21, 2020

    If you want to go extreme, replace with a spiral metal staircase.

  • Seth Seth on Aug 21, 2020

    Keep in mind the ability to move furniture and mattresses up and down if you consider a major change.

  • Kmdreamer Kmdreamer on Aug 22, 2020

    You could put up railings half a wall

  • Jeremy Hoffpauir Jeremy Hoffpauir on Sep 30, 2020

    Maybe do this the same as your flooring:

    Hope this Helps! Jeremy -