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Why We Opened Up our Basement Staircase and Installed Iron Balusters

Today I am sharing why we opened up our basement staircase and installed iron balusters. An open staircase in your basement will transform a narrow dark staircase to a bright open space. Opening up your basement staircase one of the most affordable ways you can make your basement feel custom, open and airy. If you missed our basement makeover post, check it out here.

This post contains affiliate links for your shopping convenience.

Why You Should Open Staircase To Basement

open staircase in a basement with iron balusters, harvest oak vinyl plank flooring, blue walls

One of the first things Jim said to me when we were designing the new basement plan was, “your basement stairway needs to be open and not have a wall.” So we decided to open our staircase to the basement creating a more “open” feel. 

The biggest challenge when finishing a basement is making it feel like it’s not a basement.

I searched google and pinterest for open basement staircase ideas and was overwhelmed with the amount of stair rail ideas!

We wanted a space that was open, airy and felt like the rest of the house.

Open Staircase Ideas – Why I love our stairs!

Open basement staircase in a basement with white ceiling and driftwood floor planks

Basement stairs framing project started where the previous owner of the house left off. 

Our existing basement staircase was framed from the previous owner in preparation for a wall so Jim removed the existing 2×4’s and created an opening for a handrail and balusters to finish off the basement stairs renovation process.

Basement Staircase before.

opening up a basement staircase and unfinished basement stairs

open basement stairway before balusters installed

You can see below how we framed the staircase to a slanted opening to follow the staircase leaving an open space for the handrail and balusters.

opening up a basement staircase before balusters are installed

Opening a stairway wall is one of the biggest things you can do in your home to make an open basement feel custom and open.

Staircases that are enclosed with walls create a dark and narrow space.

Once the staircase was framed, Jim added sheetrock to the wall portion, installed the handrail and drilled holes for the iron balusters.

basement stairs with cutout for handrail and drilled baluster holes and sheetrock wall

Installing iron balusters on an angle is a little tricky and a bit involved but maybe I can get Jim to explain in another post dedicated specifically to installing balusters on an angle at a later date.

How do you secure iron balusters

Open basement staircase with drilled holes for installing balusters

Jim used Premium Loctite Construction Adhesive to secure the iron balusters in place.

baluster holes filled with Loctite construction adhesive to hold balusters in place

We opted to use black iron balusters (shipped from Amazon in a day!) and baluster shoes (the black piece at the bottom of the iron rail) and added an adjustable square knuckle to create a custom look.

My single knuckle seems to be sold out but you can buy the balusters and knuckles as a set here on Amazon. 

The balusters, shoes and knuckles were so cheap but look expensive! Not sure what kind of knuckle you want?

Be sure to read our blog post, how to make balusters look expensive for under $2.

Opening Stairway Walls

So many of you emailed and asked how to figure out what color baluster to use.

We opened up our basement staircase and installed iron balusters  because the rest of the basement has black sliding barn door hardware and I felt like the black iron balusters would pop against the white trim and coordinate nicely with the door hardware.

Be sure to check out our basement reveal post to see the door hardware.

If you are not a fan of the black iron balusters, you can opt for wood balusters. I personally like white wood balusters as well.

black iron balusters with square knuckle

Open basement stairs with black iron balusters Installation

This picture below shows the balusters, handrail and the oak treads (more on the treads and staining the stairway soon) installed.

Securing the iron balusters in place takes a little time and patience but well worth it!

What a difference the open staircase wall made in our basement.

open basement staircase with black iron balusters and custom lally column

To create a cohesive look, the  stair treads are stained the same color (Cognac by Valspar) the hardwood floor throughout the house and the risers are painted Extra White color by Sherwin-Williams.

The wall color is lullaby by Sherwin-Williams.

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

If your basement stairway has a traditional wall, consider carving out an opening so the stairway is not a dark path that leads to the basement. You will be amazed at what this small change will do for your basement stairway.

Disclosure The post contains affiliate links for the balusters and adhesive.

 

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7 Comments

  1. Chris Pecherzewski says:

    beautiful transformation!!

  2. What are the boards on either side of the stairs at the bottom? Mine looks like your rough opening right now and I canโ€™t figure out how to make it look complete.

    1. We had cement showing (the foundation) so we covered them. Is that what you talking about when you say boards?

  3. Hi! We are attempting to do something very similar right now (but opening staircase on BOTH sides!) so I was very happy to find our post. My question is about the length of the balusters (spindles). Did you have to cut as you got to the top, or do they come standard that way? Also, are those 36″ balusters? Thanks in advance and good luck with the rest of the reno!!

    1. Hi, yes we had to cut them on an angle as we went up (b/c of the angle) but not all of them. We used a chop saw to cut the angles ๐Ÿ™‚

  4. How do you install (make) the molding boards on either side of the stairs. They are the white ones that appear to be 1 x 10’s?

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