Staircases often come with a variety of features, defining the functionality and appearance of the design.

Balustrades have a wide range of uses, from adding character to creating safe stairs with an appropriate barrier. They can take many forms but are often defined by adjoining spindles or material columns topped with a rail. While they’re usually a safety requirement for staircases and landings, balustrades can also produce a beautiful design feature.

Two of the most popular choices are wooden and glass balustrades. Both are highly durable materials, but which is better? We take a look.

Benefits of glass balustrades

Glass balustrades provide the perfect blend of both striking beauty with discreet design, produced in a variety of styles, from completely clear to patterned or etched. They can even come in a frameless design, creating minimal sightlines.

A staircase position can make a huge difference to the amount of natural light in your home, so you need to consider its design carefully. One of the benefits of glass balustrades is that they can be entirely transparent, letting natural sunlight flood through the space. This may also enhance views of other staircase features such as timber treads, especially if you’re choosing a glass balustrade as a safety feature for floating stairs.

Glass is often chosen over wooden balustrades if you’re looking for something unobtrusive that won’t detract from the aesthetics of the rest of the stairs.

Benefits of wooden balustrades

If you think a wooden balustrade may be more suitable than glass, here are a few benefits on offer.

Timber is a highly traditional material still used in modern staircase designs, bringing timeless beauty that other materials fail to exude. The natural look and feel of wood adds bucketloads of character while creating a sense of warmth. This is particularly effective for staircase features as it’s often the first area people see when entering a home.

Wood can also be more versatile than glass, coming in different varieties, stains, textures and shapes, softening the look of the stairs for a homely appeal.

Mixing staircase materials

When designing your new staircase, don’t feel you can’t mix materials if you love both glass and wooden stairs. For example, you could choose a glass balustrade to help enhance the view of a timber staircase.

Glass can also be used to create a contemporary feel for the rest of the space, including under stairs storage, such as a wine display. This can add a modern twist to traditional wood-based staircase designs.

Book a staircase design consultation

Are you looking for an experienced staircase design company for your home renovation project? Speak to DDC London. We offer staircase services across the South East, chosen for projects in locations such as Marylebone, Middlesex and Virginia Water.

To request a staircase design consultation and a free, no-obligation quote, call us now on 020 8004 9635. Alternatively, please send an email to, and we’ll get back to you as soon as possible.