A staircase can be the focal point of any room, which is why they feature so prominently anywhere that a grand entrance is required. While the architectural elements of the banisters and railings, whether they be of wood, glass, or wrought iron, draw the eye, the actual staircase treads, risers, and stringers are just as vital to the design.

Wood can be just the thing to make a statement, whether it’s used on its own or with other materials, such as wrought iron or glass. The following guide can help you choose the right wood to make your statement.


Design Goal: Quiet Sophistication

The sophisticated staircase fits well into the idea of the grand entry. Whether it’s a highlight in a hotel lobby or the sight to greet your guests in your home’s entryway, this staircase provides a traditional view. The wooden treads are sometimes left bare, but are often covered in plush carpeting to help cushion footfalls.

Wood options

For the sophisticated staircase, there are a few options that really stand out:

Carpet grade. Knotty pine is the least expensive wood option, but it is only suitable if you plan to have the treads and risers completely covered in carpet. You will need to choose a more attractive wood for the visible risers.
Mixed grade. A hardwood, poplar takes stain well due to its visually interesting grain pattern. This makes it a good choice if you plant to run a carpet runner down the stairs, which leaves some of the treads and risers visible.
Stain grade. The hardwoods, including cherry, oak, and maple, are too beautiful to be hidden beneath carpeting. These make an excellent choice for the visible stringers on a carpeted staircase, or as the treads […]