Joanna Washington. Staircase Understairs. September 26th , 2018.
Depending on the pitch of the stairs, there may be enough room at one end to stand, in which case the space can be put to many uses. If the water supply and drain lines are close, you could install a shower or toilet, or even turn the area into a mini-utility room, fitted with a washing machine and dryer.
If your budget won't stretch to a whole new staircase, there are some simple updates you can do that are quicker and cheaper. Consider removing the understairs cupboard to give a more open-plan feel. Replace solid risers with glass to allow light to filter through to the space below. Swap solid balustrades or dated spindles for a more modern equivalent. Sheet glass creates a minimal look and allows light to flow more freely. Or choose a beautiful wooden balustrade for timeless style.
Spiral staircases wind around a central pole and have a handrail on the outer side only. Helical stairs do not have a central pole and there is a handrail on both sides. If a spiral staircase is being used to access a single room, it must be at least 1500mm in diameter. But if the spiral goes up to more than one room, it is classed as a main staircase and needs to be at least 1900mm. 'Bear in mind that the opening in which your spiral fits needs to be 100mm wider than the spiral itself,' says Sally Noseda, director of Oakleaf Industries. Many spiral staircases are available in kit form from about £800, but only go up to 1600mm wide. A bespoke spiral would start at £3,000. It can be difficult to get furniture up and down, so move large items in before you install the stairs.
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