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How to Make Iron Balusters Look Expensive for under $2

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Today I am sharing how to make iron balusters look expensive for under $2. If you have a stairway wall that you want to open up in your house, I am going to show you how to save money using black iron stair balusters with decorative baluster stair knuckles and shoes to make it look expensive. Whether you are looking for a modern farmhouse look or a transitional feel, updating your staircase is one of the best investments you can make in your home.

Iron Baluster knuckles are the decorative element that is fastened to the center of a stair baluster which make the baluster look expensive. The wood handrail with iron balusters look is an easy way to update a staircase.

how to make balusters look expensive for under

How much do iron stair balusters cost?

Did you know that you can install iron balusters (which are very affordable) and make them look expensive for less than $2 each?  I searched google and pinterest for pictures of staircases with iron balusters before we started this project and ultimately decided on this simple clean look. The price was right for the hollow iron balusters and it was cheaper to add the decorative elements than purchasing already made solid wrought iron decorative balusters. 

Yes, installing iron balusters and adding a simple stair knuckle (which are usually under $2 each) takes a boring iron baluster from ugly to pretty in seconds!

Are iron balusters cheaper than wood balusters? In many cases yes however, it depends on which type of iron or metal baluster you pick. Many solid wrought iron balusters with ornate designs can be very expensive. We wanted to create a custom staircase and stair railing look on a budget so we opted for hollow iron balusters. 

An iron stair baluster design can vary in price (depending on if you pick square or an ornate design)  but plain hollow black ones like we picked, are under $12 for a box of 5. You can see them here on Amazon.

black iron baluster with black shoes and stair knuckle

You can buy the modern looking  baluster shoe and knuckles as a set on Amazon.

Just make sure if you buy a 1/2″ baluster, you buy 1/2″ shoes and knuckles. 

Installing iron balusters on an angle can be a little tricky so be sure to read this post, how to install iron balusters for more information.

Installing wrought iron balusters is very simple and you can do it yourself.  The black baluster shoes (like these) sit at the top and bottom and the adjustable knuckle (like this one) is the middle piece in the center of the black iron baluster.

Here is a link to a box of 15  black satin balusters.

If you are looking for a modern farmhouse look, there is not a such thing as “farmhouse iron stair spindles” but the straight satin hollow balusters with no knuckle will get you that look!

basement stairway with black baluster and knuckles

Iron Baluster Installation

Wondering how to install iron balusters? 

Click through this blog post, “why we opened up our basement staircase and installed balusters”  to get the step by step guide on how to install the balusters. 

Installing black iron balusters, in my opinion, can add value to your home as they give a modern look and many home buyers are looking for a modern take on a variety of designs. For example, modern farmhouse, modern cottage and modern traditional are just a handful of designs that have evolved over the years. 

basement stairs with iron balusters and black knuckles, harvest oak vinyl plank flooring, blue walls

Modern Iron Balusters

Balusters without a shoe is also a very popular stair look and provides a clean contemporary or modern design. We recently installed new black iron balusters in the split level flip house which completely transformed the stairway in that home. We opted for no baluster knuckles and wow, it looked amazing! Click through this post, “split level stairway remodel” to see that stairway makeover. 

Here is an up close image of the split level stairway with no baluster knuckle. 

open split level stairway with black metal balusters, blue walls, vaulted ceiling

The split level remodel turned modern farmhouse was an amazing renovation project and if you haven’t seen a full tour from start to finish of that home, click through this post to start the tour. 

For our basement and look, the balusters with shoes looked the best. 

Here is what balusters look like with no shoe.

Unique iron balusters like the one shown below, has a large decorative design in the center of your baluster. The no shoe look below is very simple, clean and pretty which is indicative of modern iron balusters.  

marquis baluster

Stairway Baluster Shown by Stairway House

You can see below that we alternated every other stair baluster with a knuckle to create an expensive baluster look. 

how to make cheap balusters look expensive with a knuckle

Want to see what the rest of our finished basement looks like? Click here to see the full basement reveal post and gorgeous barn doors.

Hollow Iron Balusters (with shoe and knuckle)

We also also opted for an adjustable knuckle verses a snap on knuckle. The knuckles are very easy to loosen and tighten making this project diy friendly. 

Adjustable baluster knuckles have a small screw that you loosen to slide the knuckle up and down. 

Once you get the baluster knuckle in the middle or wherever you want it, just tighten the screw. 

black adjustable baluster knuckle

Look closely and you can see the small screw hole (where you tighten) above in the knuckle. 

This designer tip on how to make cheap iron balusters look expensive, is so simple and anyone can do it.  Our staircase makeover was just one project in our basement remodel. Want to see more of our basement? Click through this post for a tour, “basement remodel and how much it cost.” 

If you are looking for baluster installation instructions, click through this post “why we opened up our basement stairway and installed iron balusters.”

Where to buy staircase remodel supplies?

I’ve created a brand new list on our Amazon Storefront named “staircase supplies” where you can buy all the materials needed to update an outdated staircase.

Meet Jessica

What started as a hobby, Jessica’s blog now has millions of people visit yearly and while many of the projects and posts look and sound perfect, life hasn’t always been easy. Read Jessica’s story and how overcoming death, divorce and dementia was one of her biggest life lessons to date.

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