If you're lucky enough to have a beautiful, old staircase, chances are you want to preserve it and make it look it's best, but how?
Gorgeous Interior Design Solutions for your staircase
Which type of staircase do you prefer?
Do you own a tired staircase? Want Expert Advice?
As most of our projects involve the hallway (which not only has to be impactful and stylish but highly practical and on budget) over the years we've tackled staircases, landings and entryways of varying ages and conditions. Today we're offering you our five tips on how to beautify yours.
5 Ways to Design a Stunning Staircase
1. Where to tart when decorating your staircase
Establishing your budget is key as you need to know if you have £1,000 or £10,000. If it's the former you can hire a decorator to repaint the area but if it's the latter let's also get a top-end runner on those treads and risers.
2. How to hire tradespeople to renovate your stairs
Unless you're a particularly good decorator with plenty of time, you're going to need help. Recommendation is the best way to find a trusted painter or carpenter so ask around your friends and neighbours who've recently had work done. Alternatively we have clients who have successfully hired through Check a Trade, Rated People and Houzz where you can read genuine reviews of work.
3. What is the best material to use on stairs
Should you have an Oak staircase or your decor suits a more rustic/industrial/shabby look, you should get any repairs to dodgy steps, spindles and wobbly finials done and keep on top of the anti-slip, protective oil or vanish to show off the wood's true beauty. However, if you have a knackered pine staircase, with cold and slippery steps, carpet or a runner is needed. If fully carpeting only the banister and spindles need looking at but for a runner the treads and risers need either a full coverage of paint - a longer project OR you can just paint the sides, making sure to go a few cm into the carpeted area as the runner will cover the rest.
Then there's edging - whipped Vs Tape edge. Whipping is the process of wrapping the cut edges of a carpet to stop them from fraying. Tape is made of fabric which is adhered to the edges and gives a more expensive look, because it is more expensive, but looks incredibly smart.
4. How to choose pattern and colour for halls and staircases
If your walls have pattern on them a plain runner will keep the scheme in check. If a bolder look is your thing, then go for a clashing print in a neutral or harmonious colour. If the walls are bare, why? Stick a picture up at least! Then a patterned runner will give you the wow factor you're looking for. Pale colours make for a calm space whilst darker colours give you a richer and more impactful, chic entrance.
Then the woodwork - white is a popular choice as it's timeless but our advice is to always go for an off-white which is less harsh on the eyes yet does the same job and is more sophisticated in our opinion. However if you want colour for a stand-out hallway, always pick a muted shade such as French Grey or Cerullian Blue unless you're like the lovely Siobhan from Interior Design Masters in which case go for it!
5. The Environment & Where To Buy
Where possible choose natural fabrics for carpet such as wool or sisal and cotton tapes. Also use grippers and stair bars so that less adhesive is needed. For the walls look for low to no VOCs, water based paints such as Farrow and Ball and Little Greene, and with even stronger eco credentials Grafclean mid-sheen by Graphenstone which incorporates nano-technology for enhanced durability or Earthborn's Eggshell, just make sure to lightly sand and prime first.
The Open Plan would love to hear about your staircase projects should you not want to tackle the job on your own We can help with a colour consultation, bespoke design advice and project management, so just drop us a line now.
At The Open Plan we're worried about the environment, very worried and we want to tread more lightly on this planet. So, rather than jack it all in to go live off-grid we've been looking into what we can do to be more environmentally friendly, whilst still creating practical and good looking homes.
Here's our brief guide to some new materials that are finding their way into the mainstream of home interior design.
Sounds pretty artificial, but this silky, eco warrior is actually made from wood. The wood comes from sustainable sources and is fabricated to become a breathable and biodegradable fabric which was pioneered in Grimsby. Flooring made from Tencel has a lovely sheen and a silk/velvet feel without animal cruelty or emitting harmful plastic gasses. Check labels on items such as carpets, rugs, mattresses and bedding for guilt-free comfort.
Taking only 8-10 weeks to become fully grown from shoot, absorbing up to 62 tons of carbon a year and producing 35% more oxygen than trees, this humble material is becoming more prevalent in the UK. It's perfect as cheaper, cruelty free alternative to silk and on the flipped, a gorgeous hard flooring too. As with all of the materials listed here it's biodegradable too meaning that at the end of it's life you can happily place it into landfill knowing that it will return naturally to the earth unlike the trillions of metres of plastic laminate flooring that now exists on the planet.
Want some curtains with a beautifully natural patina and a heavy Hygge look? Then try Hemp. Approved by Jeremy Corbyn's son who's recently opened a Hemp only shop in north London, it's also affordable, soft and hard wearing. Unlike cotton, hemp needs little or no insecticides, no herbicides and produces a better quality fibre when grown organically while creating three times as much fibre, making it more environmentally friendly. Derived from fast growing Cannabis plants, this wonder plant seems to be able to do anything.
Other Materials to consider
Recycled Plastic - Soft or hard and spotted recently in rugs, bedding and worktops
Flax/Linen - A traditional and classic soft fabric for bedding, cushions and window dressing
Organic Fair-trade Cotton - Get it curtains, cushions, and duvet sets
Wool - Classically used for upholstery, carpets and curtains, a huggable, hypoallergenic and natural material
Sisal, Rush, Coir and Jute - Hard wearing, with tactile textures and Hygge inducing, naturally calm colours
Stone - If it has to be stone; sourced locally in Western Europe (most stone comes all the way from China nowadays), you can future-proof a beautiful bathroom, kitchen or hallway. Alternatively go one-step better and opt for reclaimed stone
Glass - Always choose this over petrochemical (AKA plastic) materials such as resin and perspex for tables and home accessories
Metal - For items that will last many lifetimes and can then be melted down to be used again in another form. For an even smaller environmental impact go for vintage.
CHUCK OUT THAT PAPER LAMPSHADE!
We've been looking at lighting - a lot of lighting. Not being the easiest part of the room to get right, as it should never be just the big light on (as Peter Kaye would say). Lighting should be layered, there can be more than one light source in a room and know that dim-able and even subtle coloured light can transform the ambience without it being seedy and it needn't be extortionate.
Use groups of lights together, light through coloured glass, show off your vintage bulb, chic up your desktop. Stick them on the floor in the corner of your living room for a classy uplight, add lamps to tables, fireplaces and walls and play with the combinations of light (including the big light but on a dimmer please). Treat yourself; buy an investment and conversation piece or buy two or three budget pieces which together will give a more considered and expensive look to your scheme.
Movable, delicate, glowing, sit down on-able, childlike and classic, here are our top shops which you might not have heard of before, for relevant and stylish pieces many of which you can plug in today.
And if you now need an extension lead this company will build one for you. Here's one I made earlier
Awesome walls! Yet again we've spotted something we just have to share. Tasteful, large scale murals for your home or business premises that'll make a statement without being cheesy which up until now has been very hard to do.
Start your project off the back of one of these designs, add a dynamic wall to an otherwise tame, neutral space, have fun in the kids rooms or add a unique back panel to your kitchen, cupboards or staircase.
Click here for more info
Thank God for the electrical department at John Lewis. When I need a new iron, dishwasher, juicer, etc, I go onto their website, where their team have done all the hard work for me, curating the best products and then adding a lovely warranty. I buy the best appliance in my budget, job done...
But not when it comes to kettles. Why are they all so ugly? Do they work well? Are they eco? Why do the half-decent looking ones cost £130!?! So, I have spent ages hunting one down and so that you don't have to, here are my tips on how to find your perfect pot.
Here are some of the better kettle designs I poured over*
1. Subscribe to Which - You can sign up for as little as £1 and for that the Which team will test all the kettles you need so that you know how fast your cuppa will be amongst other criteria.
2. Warning, there are over 250 kettles on here so, if you're like me you'll then procrastinate over the site for days as this appliance will be sitting in your brilliantly designed kitchen either cocking it up or blending seemlessly into the design so, colour, shape and material are annoyingly important.
3. Truth is, your choices are black, white or silver. DON'T LET ME CATCH YOU LOOKING AT COLOURED ONES - they're all foul and forget a glass kettle in London unless you have kettle cleaning time on your hands.
4. When you've chosen your kettle, check it's rating.
5. Go onto a shoping comparison site, find the best price - and buy.
6. Or do what I did and go onto Ebay and buy the stupidly priced one you wanted at the start at a fraction of the price because it has a damaged box - another interior design win!
So the wining kettle was the £80 (£39.99 on Ebay) Graef kettle - I'm not even hapy with this as it looks like a blowtorch possibly from the film 2001: A Space Oddysey - oh well.
*all but the Emma kettle can be found on Which
One of London's Best Interiors Bloggers (Ideal Home magazine), The Open Plan Interior Design, London produces contemporary interiors for homes and business' and this very useful home interiors blog