If you look around your neighborhood, chances are most of the homes are multilevel. It’s what we’re used to here in Colorado. Without a lot of space here in the Metro area, we choose to build up rather than out.
And there are a lot of benefits to having multi levels of living.
- It’s the easiest way to gain more square footage in your home.
- You can separate out living space from sleeping quarters.
- It gives you more storage space.
- It keeps you healthy, running up and down the stairs all day.
Chances are you have stairs in your home too. And while you might not think much about them on an average day, when it comes time to add new flooring, they can be one of your top concerns.
Staircases have always presented a challenge to homeowners when designing their decor. Do you match the stairs with the flooring from the first story? Do you use the flooring from the second story and carry it down? Is it important for the upstairs and downstairs flooring to transition well? What if there is carpet on one floor and hardwood on another? Is there a right choice to make when selecting new flooring?
The goal of good flooring is to improve flow. For staircases, that means having the flooring perfectly transition from one to another. If you do it right, all you’ll notice is the beauty of your home – not how out of place the flooring really looks.
Start with the stairs
Before we talk about the perfect flooring to use on your staircase, take a moment to think about how your family uses the staircase. Also, consider the placement of the stairs within your home.
- How much of the staircase is visible from each level?
- Does the staircase make a dramatic visual impact in your home?
- Is safety a big concern?
- How much use do the stairs receive each day?
Some staircases make a grand entrance as you walk into the home. Look and style might be everything in that situation.
While other staircases are more hidden, and play an important role in daily function. You’re up and down dozens of times each day, often with your hands full as you transport things from one floor to the next. Safety would be one of your biggest concerns.
With purpose in mind, it’s easier to make the right choice for transitioning your upstairs and downstairs flooring.
Two separate levels, two separate flooring choices
In most cases, when you’re adding new flooring to a level of your home, you don’t consider other levels.
If you’ve recently renovated the basement, for example, you probably selected flooring based on what’s the best choice for your basement. Hardwood doesn’t work well in a basement environment; it’s damp and runs the risk of moisture. Homeowners often select carpet or even laminate out of necessity. As much as you love your hardwood on the main living floor, it never entered into consideration because you knew it wasn’t the right choice for your situation.
And that’s typically how we approach flooring. We consider the purpose, and choose the right flooring material for the job.
Bedrooms often use carpet because it’s soft, warm, and creates a cozy environment conducive for sleeping. It works.
It’s also the best place to start.
Once you have your ideal flooring in place on each level, only then should you think about transitions. This is how you connect the two to create harmonious living.
Hardwood flooring on both levels
This is one of the easiest choices when deciding on flooring. If both levels use the same flooring, by all means, carry the look onto the staircase too. If both levels use hardwood, for example, carpeted stairs would look a little out of place.
However, that doesn’t mean you can’t change things up a bit. How about using a runner for visual appeal? It’s a great way to connect the two, soften things up, and add a pop of color to break up the monotony of everything being the same.
If you don’t want to use a runner, and the thought of any type of carpeting leaves you saying, “no,” try painting a runner in place instead. A painted runner is easy to apply, and if you don’t like the color, repaint it. It’s a great way to be able to freshen up the surroundings with little investment.
Of course, you can always choose to leave them bare. Because you have hardwood up and down, carrying that look to the staircase is one of the easiest decisions you can make. With the finish matching the flooring on both levels, it creates a minimalist, cohesive look.
But even if you’re going with bare wood, consider adding special touches along the way. Landings can always use a different material or painted/stained a different hue. Consider adding a pop of color to the risers to give a different look to your staircase.
Carpeting on one level, hardwood on another
If you have hardwood floors on one level and carpet on another, one of the most common approaches is to carpet the stairs to match. Using the same carpet creates a visual link to what lies above, and gives you a safe way to travel between the two levels.
If carpet on the stairs really isn’t your thing, there are other approaches. Instead of using fully carpeted stairs, consider using a runner in a matching hue. This gives you lead-in lines to connect hardwood to carpet, yet does so in a more sophisticated way. It keeps things crisp and nudges the eye upward and beyond.
If you want to change it up even more, just add more color to the runner. Make sure it coordinates well with the stain from the hardwood, and the hue of the carpet. This can give insight into your personality, and let it shine.
And if you have a staircase with multiple landings, you can choose to play up how you add flooring to the staircase. Maybe you can transition with carpet down to the first landing, then continue with hardwood to match with the different levels.
Options, options, options.
That truly is the name of the game when selecting upstairs and downstairs flooring, and creating the link in between.
How you choose to decorate your staircase is all up to you. And with a little bit of imagination, you can make a beautiful and grand entrance.