30+ Best Stair Trim Ideas and Designs (With Photos)

Last Updated on January 18, 2022 by Kimberly Crawford

When given thorough thought and design, the staircase could be one of the most dramatic focal points of a home no matter how long or short they may be.

If you think that you could not incorporate distinctive designs for your stair trims, you have to think again because there is virtually an endless list for stair trim ideas. 

If you are looking for one, you have come to the right post because we shall run down some of the notable stair trim ideas out there for you. From the simplest to the most distinctive, we feature them all in this list, so read on. 

Related: 31+ Best Basement Stairway Ideas and Designs

beautiful stair trim ideas designs

What is the trim on stairs called?

The trim on the stairs is also called the stair skirt board. It is described as that unbroken piece of trimming, made specifically for the stairs.

They are most likely seen in stairs with a closed end and installed against the wall. It is composed of risers and threads attached to the inner string. The trim can also continue up to the stairway.  

How do you put trim around the stairs?

There is really no generic way to put trims around your stairs given the array of trim designs available.

If you are not sure about the angling, the materials to be used and the design that you want to go for, it would be best to just consult and hire professionals to do it. But if you want to go DIY, here is a visual from Spencer Lewis to help you in getting around stair trims. 

35 Stair Trim Ideas and Designs

Now that we have covered the basic information about stair trim ideas, it is high time to dive into some of the best stair trim ideas out there which you should consider.

While you could easily pattern from any of the ideas in the list, at the end of the day, go for what suits your need and preference. 

1. Metal blue trim on curved stairs

1 stair trim ideas

Starting off with something unique would be this curved stair with metal blue trim. There is just something very fascinating and dramatic about curved staircases.

Adding a metal blue trim can evoke a lot of vibes from classy and elegant to trendy and funky. Whatever you want to go for, this one would never disappoint. 

2. Full-wall treated wood trim with thin railing

2 stair trim ideas

If you have a modern home with no kids and pets around, you would aesthetically benefit a lot from this full-wall treated wood trim with thin (almost no) railing.

The visual trick behind this one is that the eye would navigate immediately to the stair steps as they become more visible thanks to the full-wall trim. 

3. Rustic and antique

3 stair trim ideas

If you want to incorporate a traditional rustic feel, and an antique interior for that matter, go for polished wood for your stair trims and railing like this one here.

The old-fashioned glow of the wood railing and the wainscoted stair trims can give your staircase not just a warm and homey feel but also an unmatched classic vibe. 

4. Waterfall trim

4 stair trim ideas

This design is one of the most popular and go-to trim ideas of every homeowner and for good reasons. For one, it is easy to incorporate.

Another is that it adds depth and layer to the stairs without really going over the top. If you are looking for a low-cost stair revamp through trims, the waterfall trim should be on your priority list. 

5. Industrial shelf-rail trim

5 stair trim ideas

If you want a stair trim that would look inconspicuous in design, a simple shelf-rail trim would suffice.

In this idea, the wire railing is the focal point of the staircase. As such, the shelf molding can hardly be noticed to evoke an overall industrial vibe to the stairs. And does it work? Sure, it does. 

6. Classic wainscoting stair trim

6 stair trim ideas

This one is perhaps the king of classic stair trims. It is a popular design for Victorian, Georgian and Colonial interiors.

The trick to a great wainscoting stair trim is to paint it with a complementary color to the railing to give the whole stair space a polished view. This black and white staircase with wainscoting trim is a prime example. 

7. Thin trim and thick railing

7 stair trim ideas

If you want to add texture and angle to your short staircase, a combination of thin stair trim and thick railing would suffice, just like in this idea here.

Aside from giving a feeling of fullness, the overall look also gives the other spaces of the stairs flow seamlessly with the other elements in the room. The addition of the LED step lights by the thin trim also make it more standout. 

8. Free-standing stair design with glass stair trim

8 stair trim ideas

If you want minimalism and head-turning staircase in one, this idea is a good fit. This one is composed of a series of steps, individually and directly fixed to the wall.

Glass trims are installed where railings are supposed to be installed for an added whimsical and minimalist effect. 

9. Tile trim

9 stair trim ideas

This is not a popular idea nor material to go for, but it works. It is also very cost-effective, plus, all the scrap tiles to form the stair steps can be used to create a simple waterfall trim. Here is an idea which you can take inspiration from. 

10. Carpeted stairs with plain wood trim

10 stair trim ideas

A plain stair design and stair trim would become standout and chic at an instant with partial carpeting. The neutral color of this carpet and its texture give the space an illusion of width and depth.

Other than that, it also enhances the color of the stairs and the entire room for that matter. If you want your stair trim to be visible, give it a carpeting contrast. 

11. Beadboard stair trim

11 stair trim ideas

And if you want something simple yet definitely out of the box, you can always go for some beadboard paneling and extend it to your stair trim like this one here.

The traditional and plain color of the beadboard gives it a nautical vibe and given the right materials and decorative elements, you can create that right beach house feel. 

12. Textured beadboard

12 stair trim ideas

We are still on the row of beadboard stair trims. For this next idea, the homeowner made use of thicker beadboard panels.

The half-wall effect of the rich brown beadboard is already captivating but the floral wallpaper surrounding it makes it classier and more attractive. Let us just let this idea speak for itself. 

13. Shiplap trims

13 stair trim ideas

If you want to highlight the staircase without overdoing it, you can always go for a black and white shiplap trim.

Instead of opting for the usual vertical beadboard panels, this one made use of horizontal wood planks directly installed on the stair wall.

A complementing black tile waterfall trim on the inner trim is installed for more aesthetic appeal and cohesive look. 

14. Coffered stair trim

14 stair trim ideas

This one is another traditional look to give your stairs. Just as grand as wainscoting, you can give your staircase an opulent makeover by giving it a coffered stair trim like this one here.

The sunken panels give the space the needed depth and it just looks classy and traditional, overall. 

15. Recessed light as trim

15 stair trim ideas

And who said that you cannot use recessed light as stair trim? In this modern home, a row of recessed light is cascaded by the staircase not only to act as illumination and to accentuate the stair path but also to act as trim for the entire staircase.

Using light for stair trims is becoming more popular by the day and this idea here is enough reason as to why. 

16. Scalloped trim

16 stair trim ideas
Credit: Helen Norman

If you want to infuse a unique trim in your stairway, this scalloped stair trim idea is one of the best choices for you.

The whole idea is a showstopper as it incorporates both traditional and contemporary vibe. But what makes it personal and elegant would be the engraving by the trim. The overall color of it all is also very delicate and upend looking. 

17. Monochromatic stair trim

17 stair trim ideas

It is evident in this idea that the highlight of the staircase would be the rich wood baluster and the complementing treads. As such, it was just the right case to infuse a white monochromatic stair trim by the stair wall.

The crisp lines of the white wall are a good idea in creating this home gallery right here and the monochromatic stair trim is inconspicuously complementing. 

18. Angled and geometric stair trim

18 stair trim ideas

It is one thing to have a waterfall trim by the stairs but over-angling it, turning it into a more geometric looking stair trim has a phenomenal effect on your staircase too, just like this one here.

The white look of this stair trim is made more prominent by that blonde railing. Overall, this gives you a neat mid-century look. 

19. Wood strip trim

19 stair trim ideas

If you want to make your staircase evoke an organic, nature vibe, all you have to do is customize your railing into a twig or branch design and complement it with a plain wood strip trim like this one here.

It is whimsical and playful at the same time. You cannot simply go wrong with this idea here. 

20. Charcoal gray wood stair trim

20 stair trim ideas

This idea is for those who love the sleek look of modern minimalism. Aside from the hollow railing, this one also incorporates a charcoal gray painted wood stair trim.

It is just made of inexpensive lumber but the even staining of the wood trim for the stairs gives off a lot of sophistication. This is something to be really considered. 

21. Detailed stair trim

21 stair trim ideas

This one is anything but ordinary. The light balusters are traditional looking but the black railing keeps it popping out. What we particularly love about this staircase is the details in its stair trim.

The individual rectangles by the trim, cascading from the peak, is just on point and phenomenal to look at. This is easily one for the book’s look. 

22. Natural stone stair trim

22 stair trim ideas

We have seen the magic of tile but there is just something more attractive and extraordinary when we get to see natural stone as stair trim.

If you think it is not possible, think again because this idea here just really took natural stone to another level.

The contrast of the natural stones is on point and the waterfall trim for this staircase was the right choice to go for. It is polished, neat, and timeless, all at the same time. 

23. Pastel colored stair trim

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If you are on the funky side of things, going for a color-popping stair trim would be a good idea just like this apple green inner trim right here.

It complements the hodgepodge of color in the living room so it generates an energetic, playful and funky look overall. 

24. Baseboard trim

24 stair trim ideas

This is the classic design for stair trims. As a matter of fact, baseboard or stair skirt is the technical term given to stair trims.

The main idea is for the skirt to follow the height of the tread and the riser, running along the length of the staircase. Installation wise, it takes time to install. But its classic, polished look is worth all the effort. 

25. Handrail stair trim

25 stair trim ideas

For a unique sense of style for the stairs, you can always extend the railing and make it into a trim like this one here.

The end of the railing is stylistically clamped in the edges of every stair step, giving off a very stair trim full of character and distinctiveness. You can also have it customized to your preference to make it more personal and homier. 

26. Baluster and newel stair trim

26 stair trim ideas

This is another classic stair trim idea which never goes out of style. If you do not want to think about going more intricate or incorporating new styles that might not work in the end, it is still a good choice to stick with some traditional stair trims like this one here. 

27. Finial stair trim

27 stair trim ideas

Most people think that newels and finials are only there as a decorative accent to the stairs. But really, they can work as stair trims too.

For one, this homeowner made a point to emphasize the finial by using the rich tone of the wood railing and step stairs. It looks exquisitely antique and as if made of expensive wood. For a standout staircase, this is something to take inspiration from. 

28. Bullnose stair trim

28 stair trim ideas

To be fair, the bullnose is technically one of the parts of a stair. It is the first step whose shape is taken by the next stair steps.

Speaking of the shape of the first step, this is basically what this bullnose stair trim is all about. This grand staircase is made grander by that symmetry and cohesion. Plus, the classic colors used for the space also adds to its grandeur. 

29. Trim but no rails

29 stair trim ideas

You would love the rustic appeal of this rail-less wood stairs. The skirting is very on point. The curved wood on the inner trimming and the edgy, traditional look on the other side give it an interesting view even without railings.

It looks refreshing, modern, yet warm and rustic at the same time. 

30. Slide stair trim

30 stair trim ideas

If you have a wide space between the railing and the stair steps, you can always opt to extend your stair trim and make it look as if it was a tiny slide like this one.

This is strategic for long, angled staircases. The separation that it provides gives the stairs the aesthetic value it needs for that revamp. 


Aside from the list of stair trims that we have just covered here, there are also other FAQs which you should be aware of as they might come in handy once you start with your staircase revamping project or the stairs in general. As such, here are some FAQs about stair trims and stair remodeling which you should know about. 

Are stair trims required? 

If by required we mean stair trims as a matter of need, the answer is no. Stair trims only become essential if you have baseboards in the house.

The reason behind this is that stair trims aesthetically connect all the baseboards on either ends of each stair step. Note that stair trimming is time consuming so opt for one, unbroken board if you are thinking of having one. 

When are stair skirts not applicable? 

Stair skirts, while visually pleasing, are not always applicable to incorporate in the staircase. The following are the instances in which a stair skirt should not be installed. 

  • Floating steps: Stair skirts can only exist if they have a wall to attach to. If you are planning on having floating steps, inserting a stair skirt would not make sense, at all. 
  • No baseboard or trim: If the home does not have a baseboard or trim, having stair skirts would just look out of place. What you can replace it with would be a finished stair tread to keep the aesthetics up. 
  • If the stairs are permanently fixed: The needed time, effort and craftsmanship in fitting stair skirts over an existing set of stairs should be at the maximum. If you are not sure about how to go around this job, better consult a trusted contractor to do the job for you. 

Factors to consider in remodeling a staircase

Be it in terms of stair trim revamping, remodeling, or installing stair skirts, the following are the factors to consider when it comes to staircase remodeling. 

  • Budget: The upfront cost of remodeling is always the prime consideration to think of. This does not only include the materials to be used based on the design but also in terms of the labor costs and even cost of permits if necessary. You have to account for all of these before embarking on a remodeling project for your staircase. 
  • Space: The list of ideas for stair trims and other remodeling steps are virtually endless. But at the end of the day, does the stair space have the capacity to accommodate all your inclusions? You have to consider the available space around the stair steps for you to come up with the right decision when it comes to railings, balusters, trims, and more. 
  • Layout: Your home’s layout is also a very important factor to consider when it comes to remodeling as it would affect the final design that you shall go for and of course the materials that you will have to consider. Make sure that everything is cohesive and well-aligned with the layout of the home for you to achieve the desired visual impact that you have in mind. 
  • Aesthetic: It is in this factor that we zero in the design, shape, styles, and color of the elements to be infused in the remodeled staircase. It can be as customized as you want it to be or it could take after traditional designs, decorative elements and embellishments for it to look more vintage and unique. While it is important, it should not be the end all and be all of remodeling, however. 


To conclude, stair trims might seem like a minor detail to discount when it comes to stairs but with what we have covered, we have affirmed that they contribute a lot when it comes to interior revamping.

Whatever your purpose is for going for a stair trim, note that there is an appropriate idea out there for you. From color, to material, to pattern and design, you need to thoroughly decide on what to go for so that a cohesive look is maintained for the staircase. 

With all things considered, the classic stair trim designs are still the go-to choices for homeowners but this should not stop you from exploring other stair trim ideas that would fit your preference.