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Form And Function: Why Handrails Can Provide Both

» Home Improvement


Overview

Published: 03/31/2014 by Francesca Holmes

Photos

The space around us is extremely important for a number of reasons. Not only can a space be suited to particular activities, but it can also have a sizeable impact on our mood. When it comes to our homes, then, it's no surprise that most of us invest a good deal of time and money in interior design.

From the colours that we use in our homes and the furnishings we choose, to the core features like staircases and windows, there are a huge number of factors which combine to make a great home. In each and every one of these factors, we often consider two things: form and function. We need each item in our home both to do a job of some kind and fit into our overall aesthetic.

Here, we take a closer look at one of the most important design elements of our home – the staircase and handrail. As a central part of the home, this is a part of the design upon which a good deal of the overall feel relies. Both form and function are as important in the design of the handrail as they are anywhere else in the home. Let's take a look at both of these criteria and how handrails can go about getting these boxes ticked.

Form

The staircase may seem to be one of the most fundamentally utilitarian aspects of a home, but that's not to say it is completely devoid of art. The London Design Festival of 2013 saw the staircase feature as one of the most prominent and exciting installations. Of course, the handrail is an integral part of staircase design and even its absence can have a considerable impact on the overall aesthetic appeal of a staircase.

It's not only abstract and purely artistic design ideas which allow the staircase and handrail to show off its form in a new and interesting light. Many modern homes are making the handrail and balustrade a central design element.

One common way in which the balustrade can have a big impact on the feel of the home sees the use of glass. Glass balustrades allow light to flow down from one level to the next, creating an open and spacious atmosphere throughout the home. More adventurous ideas include staircases which are made almost exclusively from strong glass. This takes the design idea to its most extreme.

Whether you're keen on the idea of using glass to get the most from the light in your home or you'd rather opt for a more traditional wooden handrail, it's essential that you look into the breadth of options from handrail manufacturers when considering making a change to your staircase and handrail.

In addition to making changes to the staircase itself, it can be important to complement this design with decorative elements in the same area. Using a large number of smaller artworks to decorate the wall adjacent to your staircase can be really effective if done tastefully.

Function

While there's a great deal of design which can go into making a staircase and handrail look great, the function of each is just as important. Particularly for households which include young children and older people, the handrail can make a real difference.

Ultimately, the handrail is a functional item which is designed to make travel on the stairs both easier and safer for people in your home. As such, it's important that you consider what your needs might be when looking into a new handrail.

In the workplace, there are of course a variety of regulations in place to ensure that handrails are designed and installed with safety in mind. Guard rails are a matter of particular importance when it comes to working at a height. While the legal requirements are not always the same at home as in the workplace, it's worth bearing these safety consideration in mind at home as well as at work.