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Round Vs. Square Handrails: Things To Consider Before Making The Choice For Your Indoor Stairs

by Sara Cook

In a multistory home, the stairway serves an obvious function to allow you to access the different levels of the house. However, the stairway, and all the added fixtures that go along with it, can be an integral part of the home's interior design. Perhaps there is no other element that brings about more need for careful consideration than the handrail.

The handrail is the hand-contact surface people will touch as they move up and down the stairs, but it is also there for safety and can be a huge differentiator when it comes to design. Here is a look at square versus rounded handrail designs to help you make the best decision.

Rounded handrails tend to offer the most pleasing grip. 

One of the most important things to keep in mind about handrails is their function. As people navigate up and down the stairs, they will be reaching to grasp this rail to support and steady their steps. In general, a rounded handrail is more of an ergonomic shape; it fits into the hand easily and the hands can trail along the run of railing well while in motion. square handrails can be harder to grip because of their sharper edges. While these rails can offer support and smaller versions can allow for direct grip, they do not fit the hand quite the same as rounded units. 

Squared handrails can be more defined in the overall railing design. 

Take a look at a square handrail compared to a rounded one, and the squared handrail with sharper corners will always attract the visual attention more. Rounded handrails tend to flow easily with the surroundings without standing out, which means it is easier for them to seamlessly blend in with the rest of the railing. If you prefer the handrail to be a more decorative part of the design, squared versions can be the better option. 

Rounded handrails are most often made of certain materials.

It is not definitive, but it is pretty common for most handrails with a rounded shape to be made out of wood or metal. It is relatively rare for wooden handrails to have a square shape. As you shop among the array of handrail options, you will find these statements to be true. So it is something to consider before you get started as it can have an effect on how many choices you find for each style.

If you're building a new home, or looking to switch up some of your design decisions, consider a round handrail to add some detail. 

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