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Room Therapy: I Need Help With This Stair Railing!

Hi CasaSugar,

I moved into a new apartment seven months ago, and for the life of me I can't figure out what to do with this entry railing. When you enter our front door, you are greeted by a staircase that goes downstairs to our roommate's room. The staircase has this trough-like railing . . . and I have no idea what to fill it with. I don't care for fake plants, which is what I believe was its original purpose when it was built in the '60s.
For reference: the trough is barely too small to hold the width of a CD, but it wouldn't make sense to have a small collection of CDs and DVDs right by the front door. What on earth would fit in there?? Or should I cover it somehow? Any ideas from you or anyone else would be much appreciated . . .


To see my ideas, and to add some of your own,


Hi Details,

What a conundrum! My first suggestion is to try a modern take on this railing's original purpose. First, buy a bunch of small earthenware or ceramic planters that will fit in the space. My suggestion for a cheap one is the Billig, which is only $.49 for each white, earthenware pot. Since the pot is only four inches tall, though, if you decide to use this one, I would have a piece of wood cut that will raise the depth of the box by at least an inch. Then, choose low-light house plants and fill every other pot with a plant. Use the empty pots for key storage, mail, or other front-door, small-item needs.

Anyone else have other suggestions? Leave them in the comments.

Good luck,

Join The Conversation
g1amourpuss g1amourpuss 8 years
I just want some stairs to run up and down on! :P
thelorax thelorax 8 years
Aww now I wish MY stair railing had a funky trough! Trough envy!
thelorax thelorax 8 years
I really love the rocks + candles idea. It would be very low-maintenance and effortlessly classy.
Luvs2curl Luvs2curl 8 years
I love the goldfish idea. You could get 4 or 5 rectangular bowls with a couple fish in each. Fair bit of upkeep though. Or turn it into an interactive work of art with materials of different textures in glass jars or vases. You could fill them with stones, crystals, glass, sand or even colored water.
roxtarchic roxtarchic 8 years
I love the idea of rocks and sea glass... but i also like the idea of putting light there (it looks a lil dark) what about a string of lights and the river rocks & sea glass.... a lil illumination... and you could also paper the wall (using double stick tape since it an apt) w/a funky paper.. or wall paper!
lukal lukal 8 years
macgirl macgirl 8 years
I love the rock idea
g1amourpuss g1amourpuss 8 years
I love the gold fish idea plus2kid!
plus_2_kid plus_2_kid 8 years
Plants: Spider lilies do wonderfully in low light, and could hang beautifully down into the stairwell.
plus_2_kid plus_2_kid 8 years
...but in reality I'd probably just end up keeping mail and keys in there. Put little drawer dividers in, do some plants and leave spaces in between for keys and mail. (It's hard to see how deep it is - you probably don't even need dividers). If it's really shallow I love the thought of marbles. Or get a kitten! I bet the kitten would love to sleep there.
Kristinh1012 Kristinh1012 8 years
You could do a combination of books, picture frames with nice black and white photos and then get a bunch of different size pillar candles. also they make those cute little baskets that are long and narrow. I beieve they are for things like silverware or napkins. You could get a few of those and line them with cute fabric to put mail and keys in. A nice small plant in the corner would look nice. Don't get a fake, get a low maintenance plant that does not require a lot of light.
plus_2_kid plus_2_kid 8 years
water + goldfish = awesome!!!
mletrav mletrav 8 years
What if you built sliding covers, or little doors to go on top? Then you could stash things (umbrellas, beach blankets) in the trough to have them at the ready, but not have to look at them all the time. You could even save closet space!
Renees3 Renees3 8 years
I was thinking fill it with pretty rocks then insert like votive candles everything like 6 inches. Or you could make something to fit in there (like a square that inserts in and makes the top flush) and cover it in fabric that matches your decor. The cool thing about that is it's cheap to just buy new fabric everyonce in a while to change it up
inksee inksee 8 years
Depending on how deep it is, I would probably fill it with rocks and shells and add some candles.
lmcmanus lmcmanus 8 years
I think it could be cool to do a japanese rock or Zen garden. That said, I also think a succulence garden in pots would be cool too. At a minimum you, could buy some small mirrors ( mix and match or circular) to place flat in the trough to add some simple visual interest. Good luck.
rondadoug rondadoug 8 years
I would drape a couple of cool quilts, persian rugs, etc over it and tie them in with one hanging on the wall too.
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