How to Choose Balustrades for your Staircase

Whether you have a grand entry hall, or minimal design, balustrades will be required for the safety and functionality of your stairs. Balustrade systems refer to the entire staircase fencing, including the handrails you hold on to for balance as you make your way up and down the steps. Balustrades can be simple or they can be ornate, and range in materials from polished hardwood, to steel, to glass. So long as your balustrades maintain your safety and comfort, they can be as inventive or as traditional as you like, which is why they’re often the focal point of homes in NZ.

Like light fixtures and paint colours, balustrades have a big visual impact. So how do you choose which material to use, when each material has advantages? While a lot comes down to your personal preferences, it is also helpful to take note of the materials already at play in your home. From there you can decide: do you want balustrades to compliment or contrast with what your home says about you? Do you have limitations such as heritage features to preserve, or do you have free reign to create?

Like putting a pop of colour in an otherwise neutral room, balustrades can be used to grab attention or elegantly blend in. Let’s take a closer look at the most common balustrade materials, and how each material can be used to their best advantage.

Glass Balustrades

Glass balustrades have an airy, modern and minimal appearance and are frequently used in open-plan spaces. Glass balustrades don’t obstruct your view or hinder the light passing through your space, so they’re frequently seen with floating staircases for maximal effect.

In our opinion, glass balustrades provide the perfect balance between function and form. Glass has the appearance of being dainty while actually being incredibly robust and long-lasting. Ackworth house glass balustrades can withstand a high level of stress, suitable to homes that will see a lot of foot traffic, kids and pets!

Internal clamps and steel reinforcement ensure that glass balustrades are perfectly secure, while still giving the impression of open unobstructed space.

Because glass is smooth and transparent, it provides balance against heavier materials such as stone, wood and concrete. Glass ensures that your space doesn’t become “weighed down” and can help if you need to “lift” a traditional atmosphere or want to maintain a strictly modern aesthetic.

In New Zealand, we frequently see heritage buildings being updated with glass balustrades (the Auckland Art Gallery is a case in point) but we also see glass balustrades being used effectively in new builds, particularly as an eco-friendly gesture, since glass can be recycled.

Timer Balustrades

Timber is the older, more traditional cousin of glass, and yet wooden balustrades can still be designed in ways that surprise and inspire.

The colours and natural marks in wood add warmth and character to your home, by bringing an element of the outside world indoors.

Wood is common in character-filled heritage homes, but also used to great effect in minimal builds and eco-friendly retreats.

Wood can be used in straight minimal lines, or be shaped into ornate balusters, newels and handrails that form the hallmark of your décor.

Timber is also cost-effective and can be locally sourced, meaning that it is often an economical and efficient choice.

Wood also has the benefit of being robust and of high-quality, without demanding cleaning requirements or expensive upkeep.

NZ is renowned for its beautiful use of wood in architecture and interior design, from the traditional sweeping staircases with curved balustrades in our public heritage buildings, to the unique style of our modern timber staircases in social housing projects.

Depending on your home, wooden balustrades can foreground its organic material or add a stately element.

Wood can also be paired with glass and steel to create unique design plans that deliver imaginative results.

While wood can be used in creative and unusual ways, timber is most frequently chosen for its traditional character, rich colours and even its acoustic properties and scent. If you are drawn to the timeless qualities of wooden interiors, then our timber balustrades can be designed to suit your particular vision.

Ackworth House timber balustrades offer the beauty of timber with the security of safety compliant standards.

Steel Balustrades

Steel balustrades offer a durable alternative to both glass and timber. Steel has a uniquely robust appearance that ranges from “warehouse style”, to sleek contemporary lines, to sculptural curves and cut-outs.

Straight, clean lines are common when working with steel, but the possibilities of curves shouldn’t be overlooked.

Ackworth House provides customisable steel balustrades, including eye-catching motifs such as wrought iron scrolls, geometric designs and patterns that play on light.

Since steel balustrades can be open and airy, or arranged close together to create a screen effect, steel can be used to suit both open plan and secluded interiors.

There is also the option of adding wrought iron screens with intricate designs, or making a statement with the choice of colour, which ranges from metal grey to sleek black.

Steel is a particularly welcome choice when structural stability and product longevity is an important factor.

Ackworth House steel balustrades are sourced from vetted artisans and built from the highest quality steel made to last for decades.

Steel also has the benefit of being low maintenance and able to withstand frequent use. Its durability is enhanced by the artisans and experience of our staff here at Ackworth House.

Regular cleaning is all it takes to keep steel balustrades looking good as new.

Steel can complement both old properties and new, due to its interesting mix of grandeur and simplicity.

We see steel balustrades being used in every kind of space, with customised adjustments being used to strike the perfect note.

Steel can be expertly used together with wood and glass or used all on its own, depending on your property and sense of style.

If you enjoy craftsmanship combined with sturdy materials, then steel balustrades will be an excellent choice for your staircase.