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Design Dilemma
Design Dilemma

Help with WOOD BALUSTERS - what to do?

brookewood11February 17, 2013
We want to give this staircase a new look with out doing a total renovation. It seems easy to be able to take out the wood balusters, but new ones would leave holes in the wood and not match up properly. How could we give this staircase a fresh new look?
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It seems a shame to cover the nice wood. Have you considered adding some interest to it with incorporating additional design within the baluster? Or some paint can freshen them up; black and white is classic. Good luck.
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    Bookmark   February 17, 2013 at 10:39AM
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To bring this staircase into this century I suggest painting them black and replacing the carpet with a light tan after adding boards to them.
    Bookmark   February 17, 2013 at 10:52AM
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Thank you for the ideas. I never thought of painting them. I think we want to change out the newels from wood to iron, but our dilemma is how to attach them since the current newels are attached to the outside. We are stuck, because we really don't want to paint over the wood, painting it wouldn't really go with our style of home, unfortunately.
    Bookmark   February 17, 2013 at 11:04AM
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Laura Stermer
try www.cheapstairparts.com they have install video and info, on updating your stairs and great prices on newels. You would end up drilling into the riser and handrail, and it looks like the handrail is directly vertical of the riser, so it should work. I've been making plans for the 1979 short sale we made an offer on and this is my favorite so far, but check out local options. our staircase will be out of code, and we have young kids... see attached
    Bookmark   February 17, 2013 at 11:15AM
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Laura Stermer
I went fishing through some photos... ideas to ponder, with open staircase

adding glass - no visual impact to space
keeping select wood balusters and incorporating iron and new molding
keeping wood handrail and doing simple iron design

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3 Likes    Bookmark   February 17, 2013 at 11:30AM
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Love the pictures. Have you thought about brightening up the wood with a stain or polyurethane and definitely taking the carpet off the stairs; making the wood of the stairs a showpiece.
    Bookmark   February 17, 2013 at 2:18PM
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Some good ideas here. Be cautious removing the carpeting, since it is an open staircase, the stair treads may not be an attractive wood.

I like the floating glass idea since it is an open staircase. I think it will simplify the design. Keep the wood handrail...add glass panels and hold them in place with wood molding.
1 Like    Bookmark   February 17, 2013 at 2:51PM
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(I know I have some crazy ideas but ...) looking at this, I would consider partially painting the balusters. Each upright baluster has four sides. Let the part facing the staircase, and the part facing out remain wood. Then paint the left and right faces some accent color. It would change the shadow lines that are accentuating the regular verticals. Or take it farther - choose three gradients of blue for example. Layout two wavy horizontal lines, and paint the left and right sides of the balusters as above, but use the darkest color below the lines, the lightest color above, and the last in the middle. You haven't spent a lot, haven't changed much, but can add a beautiful artistic accent that way, and add a softer line that de-emphasizes the regular bars.
2 Likes    Bookmark   February 17, 2013 at 3:01PM
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(me again) or for something completely different, pick your favorite small cabinet knob, get a bunch, and attach them to the balusters, just for decoration. They can form new lines, curves, or align with your current shapes. I would mount them facing sideways, and then if you get tired of them change them out. You could use hooks or pulls or almost any little piece of hardware that takes your fancy.
    Bookmark   February 17, 2013 at 3:09PM
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Thank you for all the ideas! My question still stands... If we changed out the newels, how would we replace the holes where the base of the newels is attached? We could change the railing for the newels to attach to, but what about the base, it would have holes on the outside.
    Bookmark   February 17, 2013 at 4:25PM
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Marlene Oliphant Designs LLC
I have redesigned several staircases for clients. In the case of too much wood, I'll have the individual spindles painted an off-white color to contrast with the wood posts and bannisters. Or you could use a dark stain on the bannister and posts, and a very light stain on the spindles for contrast. As far as the holes from removing the newel posts, i would check with your contractor. Perhaps you can fill the holes with a decorative metal piece of hardware.
1 Like    Bookmark   February 17, 2013 at 4:33PM
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Marlene that is a great idea to fill the holes! Thank you
    Bookmark   February 18, 2013 at 6:05PM
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I'm wondering if you ever figured out a solution? I am thinking of updating mine but I don't know what to do about the holes. . .
    Bookmark   January 22, 2015 at 2:19PM
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We are in the process of updating our stairs too. We don't have the dilemma you have but through my online searches I know I have seen black iron balusters attached to the outside of stairs, just can't remember where I saw them. If I run across them again, I will send the pic. Good luck.
1 Like    Bookmark   January 23, 2015 at 6:40PM
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