Asked on Nov 11, 2017

HELP! Need a Solution to 'step down' in front entrance

by Marilyn
So my front outside porch entry has two steps up to front door that leads to the inside entry which is 18'x20' with 3 areas that have a step down. My front entrance (18'x20' hardwood floor)steps down to a large open family room also matter what I put in that area (area rugs, lights, chairs, plants, painting the edge) to draw attention to that 'step' people always fall off it ~ mostly because your eye is drawn up to the larger room. Is there anyway to level the entry which also has a staircase going to 2nd floor? Raising the rest of the first floor is not an option as it includes family room, kitchen, dining room and living room (also a step down here but not used as entrance) and an office (another step down). Or even a way to possibly make it a ramp vs. step?
  12 answers
  • Chubby58 Chubby58 on Nov 11, 2017

    Would you consider staining that edge , like picking up the darkest color in your present floor and using that. It might be more noticeable. You could always get a couple of pieces of test wood and try a stain and put up against them so you could make sure that is what you want.

    • Marilyn Marilyn on Nov 12, 2017

      Yes, we did try a darker stain, even a motion light but most folks are just not looking down. Think the suggestion to use a gate or railing may be the way to go! Thanks so much!!!

  • Phaedra Phaedra on Nov 11, 2017

    Is there a reason that the 18 x 20 area is raised. Would it be possible to lower that area. If not have you considered narrowing the entrance with railing and posts. Most would expect a step down .

    • Marilyn Marilyn on Nov 12, 2017

      No clue why the builder made the entry 'raised'? I would love to lower the area but not sure how to go about that or who to call to do it? Narrowing the area would be a great idea and probably cost effective ~ many thanks!

  • Kim Kim on Nov 11, 2017

    A fall could be very dangerous for some people, all it takes is to land wrong and you have a broken hip or arm, or a messed up shoulder. Injuries lead to potential lawsuits. I would paint or stain the step a rusty red color, and install gates. The unsuspecting person would have to open the gate (thereby looking down) to move to the next area, safely. Really, that is what I would do. I know people who suffered permanent disabilities from something that appears to be, but is not, as innocuous as these drop-offs. If you gate them, buy a style of gate that opens in both directions. Once you have them up for a week or two, the gates quickly lose the "inconvenience" factor because everyone will be accustomed to using them.

    • Marilyn Marilyn on Nov 12, 2017

      Thanks for the suggestion...the gate seems like the easier way to fix this!!!

  • Sharon Sharon on Nov 11, 2017

    How about making a faux entrance at the step with potted topiaries , one on top step and below step. Then I would paint or stain that vertical piece a darker color to make it stand out. If its not well lit you might also recess a couple step lights in that vertical piece.

    • Marilyn Marilyn on Nov 12, 2017

      Thank you! We have done the stain, lights above and at foot level and plants too. Think the gate suggestion or maybe some fake pillars is worth a try. Thanks again

  • Bijous Bijous on Nov 11, 2017

    You have a lovely home. The step down may be intensified if there is an overhead light that shines directly down on the step down. the light will draw people's attention to the step. Try it with just a lamp on the hip wall and see how it works.

    • Marilyn Marilyn on Nov 12, 2017

      Thanks! We do have an overhead light an we even put motion lights on both sides and folks still's just not normal to have a step down I guess? We will try the gate idea and see if that helps.

      Thank you.

  • 27524803 27524803 on Nov 11, 2017

    We had a step down into our living room and when we installed new tile in the whole house I had them put a very different pattern in the tile, in a border along that step so it was noticeable and call attention to the change in level.

    You could a darker border in that doorway to make the change noticeable. Choose one of the darkest colors in your flooring, and make the strip that runs crosswise to your flooring much wider... an LED light strip installed under the lip of the step would help you see it better too, when going to step up into the next room.

    • Marilyn Marilyn on Nov 12, 2017

      Don't think extending the step would solve anything, unless I'm not sure what you are suggesting? Tho I do like the wood you suggested.


  • Rhonda Rhonda on Nov 12, 2017

    you could just stain the trim where the drop off is darker. That would draw attention!

  • Bijous Bijous on Nov 12, 2017

    I just bought a radio for Halloween that not only lights up be also says things when someone comes close.

    Maybe you could install something like that that says, "Hey! Watch your Step!!

  • Cindy Darsey Chadwell Cindy Darsey Chadwell on Nov 12, 2017

    I really don’t have an answer but wow that really does blend in! Maybe put a darker stain on the lip of the step...

  • Chubby58 Chubby58 on Nov 12, 2017

    A railing of sorts sounds like the perfect answer!

  • Tcs Tcs on Nov 13, 2017

    What about creating a gradual ramp. Shouldn't be that expensive and you could try out a different floor covering may tile or reclaimed wood making it look like a little bridge. Could be really cute.

    • Marilyn Marilyn on Nov 13, 2017

      I love the ramp idea just not sure who does this type of work? Thanks!