The stairway inside a home is one of the prime points for accidents. Adding safety features is necessary, but you want to do it in a way that makes the stairway look good, not like something out of a hospital. The good news is that there are ways to decorate the staircase at the same time that you make it safer to use. Some of these tactics build on already present features, while others are new additions.
Carpet or Stairway Rug
Even if the rest of your home has hardwood or laminate floors, try installing plush carpet on the stairs, or attach a stairway rug securely to each step. The rug or carpet will act as treads, reducing the risk of slipping on slick hardwood. If you use a rug, ensure that no part of the rug is actually loose -- every inch of the rug has to be snugly installed so that it doesn't trip you up.
If you're not going to install carpet but will be adding some treads, also highlight the outlines of the edge of each step. These create better visibility, and if done with coordinated colors, can look very nice.
Balusters are the vertical posts that hold up the handrail. They also prevent people from falling off the stairway underneath the handrail, and most states have regulations concerning how close the balusters have to be. However, the permitted space can still be of concern if you have small pets or small children (who somehow manage to get their heads stuck between balusters at least once in their lives). You can find wrought iron balusters that form intricate patterns with each other, not leaving much open space at all. The balusters look beautiful, and no one can fit through any of the spaces.
Newell Post Placement
Newell posts are the posts at the very end of the staircase, where the handrail ends. Sometimes, designers decide the Newell posts must end early, so there are a couple of steps that don't have any sort of handrail at the bottom of the staircase. Have the balustrade and handrail extended down to the last step and add Newell posts. The staircase will look more complete, and users will have something to hold onto.
Even the most safety-feature-filled staircase still needs to be used carefully, but all of those extra features do help. Contact baluster makers and other contractors to arrange for evaluations now.