Updating stairs

The homeowners opted to install this salvaged stair—found on Brownstoner, a neighborhood blog—when they designated the house's main staircase as tenants' access.

It fits neatly into a 5-foot-square area and gives them a way to move between floors without stepping into the hallway.

Bold wallpapers or paint colours can look stunning in a hallway, but choose carefully and bear in mind that dark colours will often make a space feel smaller than it really is.

A busy pattern can also dominate the room if you don’t have enough perspective to appreciate it from a distance – for this reason, a wallpaper will often look great on a wall with a staircase, rather than down a long, straight corridor.

Or build a niche into a windowed wall on a wide stair landing or in an upstairs hallway.

Tip: Got space under a window near the front entry?

If you live in a house, your front door has a role to play here, as glass panels in the door or at the side will allow light to pass through from outside.TOH Tip: Narrow doors make rooms look bigger by leaving more uninterrupted wall space.Stair restoration: DVS Iron & Aluminum Works, Brooklyn, NY; 646-573-5953 An under-the-stairs nook off the foyer is the kind of odd space old houses are prized for.A long run of surface-mount, low bookcases transforms the space at the top of the stairs into a library.The second-to-last one on the right (not shown) is set on casters, so it can be pulled out to access crawl-space storage.

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