Newel Posts: More Than Just Focal Points

Newel posts have traditionally been the focus of staircases. These are the bigger posts located at the bottom of the stairs and the landing. Their primary function is to support the hand railing. In older homes, newel posts were the focal point of the stairway and were often elaborately decorated.

Staircases are an important part of architectural design because they serve both a functional and decorative purpose. The kind of staircase you choose to have in your home can speak loads about your character and serve to highlight the architectural theme of your home. Staircases are usually found in entrance ways, so these are often the first things guests see.

Before you happily start drawing up your new design, you have to understand the parts of the staircase first. We have the basic tread, which is the step of the staircase. Between each tread is the riser, which is responsible for the height. The normal height for risers is around 6 to 8 inches.

The next part is the balusters, which are the vertical posts that are attached to the banister and handrail. The posts sits at the beginning of the handrail. Spiral staircases have a central pole to stabilize them.

Remember that designing a staircase is not just about designing or selecting the focal point or the newel post. It is also about considering the needs of the people living in the house. Having children, pets, and elderly people can affect your decision. For example, if you have a lot of elderly people living at home, you may want to lower the rise to make it easier for them to go up and down.

If you are putting in a new staircase, then space is also a consideration. You may want to get slimmer balusters and a wide post or forgo the newel post at the top of the stairs and place the rail directly into the wall. There are a lot of design possibilities!

If replacing a broken banister or adding a handrail as a safety feature is your primary goal, then adding a newel post will give your handrail a longer life.

Keep quality and durability in mind when selecting a newel post. Think on whether you want a round (turned) one or a square post. Newel tops can also be rounded or carved. But their most important function is to provide sturdiness for the handrail and something to hold when going up or down the stairs.

There are a lot of different newel styles that can fit with your home, ranging from good quality Amish designs to expensive designer newels. You can choose to match the newel to balusters or put it in as a contrast to achieve a certain effect. Less expensive newels may need to be maintained using furniture polish and wood oil. Choosing the best kind of newel post for you will definitely pull your staircase design together and give your home a great look.