Letting the light in

Using glass as a feature is one of the best ways to create the illusion of space in the home, and the perfect place to do this is on the staircase, according to Jackson Woodturners. By replacing heavy wooden balustrades with sleek glass panels, the area is instantly opened up, as is the design potential for this new, airier space.

Integrating contemporary materials into a traditionally conventional space can be refreshing and can make a huge difference to the ambience of a home. However, it can be difficult to know where to start.

To discover more about styling a glass panelled staircase, Jackson Woodturners spoke to four experts in the field of interior design: Rebecca Dupere from Dupere Interior Design, Steph Briggs from La Di Da Interiors, Elaine Penhaul from Lemon and Lime Interiors and Emile Azan from Chameleon Designs. Here are their top tips and advice.

Mix it up. While the designers agreed that glass panelling is well suited to more contemporary properties, they also found that glass can have a striking effect when integrated into a period property.

“A glass-panelled staircase looks great in a modern property or a barn conversion,” Elaine said. “The glass lets the light flood through, creating the feeling of openness. A modern staircase like this would also really update a period house brilliantly.

“I think a glass-panelled staircase can be made to work with any space. It depends on how it fits with the look of the house. The right furniture and accessories will bring it all together.”

Let light in. Light – from whatever source – can make a big difference to any space, and interior designers often treat it as a feature in itself.

“Glass panelling gives a feeling of space and opulence that is not possible with traditional balustrades,” Steph said. “Light is allowed to move through the space, and the hallway can become a statement feature far more easily.”

Showcase your surroundings. Hallways can sometimes be difficult to style due to the limited space and the need to keep decor to a minimum so as not to compete with a heavy wooden staircase. Glass, however, instantly removes this issue and opens up limitless design opportunities.

“Glass maintains the visibility and flow of light, especially where you wish to display artwork or a feature wall,” Emile said. “Panels can also be used where you may want to display antique furniture underneath or to the side, and this will give a sight line straight through.”

Open it up. Glass panelling works particularly well in open-plan layouts, allowing the staircase to serve as a feature without dominating the space.

“Contemporary, open-plan buildings often incorporate a bespoke staircase at the design stage and use larger windows which make the living area a lot lighter and airier than older, traditional houses,” Rebecca said. “Converted barns and other buildings that have spacious, open-plan living accommodation can also lend themselves to using glass-panelled staircases.”

High style, low maintenance. One of the many benefits of glass is that aside from a quick polish, it is incredibly low‑maintenance and easy to refresh.

“Glass offers a fabulous base from which to work—the colour scheme and feel of a hallway can be changed quickly and easily if you have glass panels without worrying about hours of painting woodwork,” Steph said. “If you like to update your interiors on a regular basis then I’d recommend a glass-panelled staircase as part of the fabric of the building.”