There are a wide variety of looks that you can implement into your staircase that will make it appear contemporary. However, many homeowners find that a timeless design is the best route when it comes to statement-making staircases. After all, what's in one year with interior design could be a major faux-pas the next, and by sticking to a staircase model that has proven it can withstand the test of time, homeowners won't have to invest in a new set of steps whenever a fad rolls around.
If you are installing a new staircase - or even just a new balustrade - you should choose stair parts that don't fall under one particular school of architecture in terms of detail and ornamentation. For example, you won't want to use ultramodern box newels or overly sculpted turned balusters, so stick with simpler stair parts with minimal curvature to get this look.
Also, you should consider a color scheme that is simple but not boring. Plain hardwood is always a good look, but not every homeowner wants to go in that direction if they are looking for a stylistically neutral staircase. Consider painting the risers and balusters white and offsetting them with darker stair rails and treads. You can either paint them black or choose a very dark stain for your hardwood treads.
On the stair parts that you are whitewashing, you don't need to worry about buying pieces made out of expensive woods, as you will only be covering them up. You should, however, consider a premium variety of wood for the treads on your staircase if you choose to stain them. A dark cherry or mahogany stains beautifully and is without a doubt timeless.
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