Balustrades and Traditional Style Properties: How to Make Railings Look More Rustic

rustic wooden staircaseIf you are fitting balustrades in a rustic-style property, not all materials and styles would look in keeping. Check out our guide on how to make balustrades and railings look more traditional and rustic.

What is the Rustic Style?

Before we plunge into discussing making railings and balustrades look more rustic in style, we need to consider what the rustic look actually is, what its main components are and the materials to use.

Most people confuse rustic with rural and assume that anything with a farmhouse twist is rustic. But in essence, rustic is something more than this. Rustic is not as refined, nor as finished or polished as other styles. It has a charm and an elegance all of its own, but there is something raw, unfinished or even distressed about its final appearance.

The rustic style is popular in the home because it suits most homes, whether they are in the heart of the city of deep in the countryside. And with the staircase and the balcony being staples of many homes, the balustrade and its railing need to match the rustic style too. But how?

#1 Painted wood spindles

Wood is the material of choice in a rustic design, although you add your own dash of character by teaming it with either metal or glass (or both!). On interior staircases, if you have a wooden balustrade, painting the spindles in white leaving the handrail and the stair treads in their natural wood appearance.

#2 Black-stained handrail

The rustic style can also enjoy a sense of formality to it as well, especially in a more traditional household. To add a sense of formality, use a very dark stain, almost black, for the handrail. Don’t be frightened to go too dark especially if the stair treads are made from a dark wood. Contrast this with chalky white painted spindles.

#3 Opt for iron

Iron is a metal that is commonly associated with the rustic style, mainly because it was once affordable and therefore in abundance in homes across towns and cities. It doesn’t warp and is able to withstand high heat and low temperatures so perfect for outdoor rustic railings. Keep the iron railings dark in colour with a few twists, turns and details but don’t go too over the top with decoration.

#4 Curves and Climb

However, if you do have a curving or spiral staircase – lucky you! – then the rustic interior design style is ideal. Spacing saving, this style of staircase suits the rustic style completely, mainly because the original spiral staircases were all about loft living. Iron works well on curvy stairs and within the rustic style, using flouncy curves and smooth circles is ideal for adding detail and rustic appeal. But keep the railing dark in colour so they stay close to their rustic roots.

#5 Unfussy

You may think plain jane, but the one thing about the rustic style that many people fall in love with is the way that it is unfussy. They like the simplicity of a block staircase, the handrail firm but without décor and the spindles satisfying simple. For a simple, block look, paint the staircase, the bannister and the spindles bright white, using a light coloured carpet on the stair treads and upper landing.

#6 Unpainted, unvarnished, unadorned

If you want to pay true homage to the rustic style, you will need to be bold in your choice of raw material – and that means leaving it in its raw state. A staircase or balcony, anywhere where there is a drop or potential for injury will need a balustrade – and in the truly rustic interior, this will be a requirement too. So why not opt for the super-simple, almost-not-quite-finished look? Choose strong buy rough sawn timbers, only lightly sanded to give a smooth, splinter-free finish. Forget the paint and the varnish, forget the small ornate details and instead, just let the wood and the style speak for itself.

#7 Rugged edges

If you do have railings already in place – whether that is painted iron railings or wooden ones – remove the paint but don’t quite bring it all off. Remove the top layer using a heat gun for painted or varnished wood, or by carefully using chemical peeler suitable for use on painted metals, and bring the uppermost layer of paint or varnish off. But don’t be too diligent, leave faint marks or traces of paint here and there. The rustic style is not perfect; thus, the pursuit of perfection is not needed. Enjoy the dents, the dings, the scrapes and the imperfections.

At Balustrade Components, we create stunning balustrades and railings in a range of styles and finishes, including a rustic finish. What is there not to love?


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