Stair Balustrades Explained

Staircases need a barrier to prevent you from falling from a height, here’s how to make it look not just functional but also pretty.

Balusters are sticks or shafts, made of timber, stone, metal or plastic, that support a handrail on a stair, or the coping on a parapet. They started life in the balconies and palaces of Venice and Verona in the fifteenth century when each one originally looked like one bulbous vase-shape over another.

As they developed over the centuries they were eventually turned on a lathe, which made the form very particular. It’s now possible to date furniture and certain types of architecture from the style of these turned balusters. Once turned on a lathe, a wooden baluster could be split down the middle and the two halves applied to a flat surface – a feature popular in the Arts and Crafts movement.

Andrew Stanway

Written by Andrew Stanway

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