Baluster or Banister? Parts of a Custom Staircase

One of the most common confusions in stair terminology is the use of “balusters” or “banisters.” At Southern Staircase, our expert custom staircase builders are more adapted to using “baluster.” Customers always ask, “Does it really matter if you say baluster or banister?” No, it doesn’t, as both can be used to describe the support systems of a staircase. Let’s define and explore the importance and beauty of this staircase part.


What Exactly is a Baluster and a Banister?

Let’s break this down and turn you into a stair expert yourself. Three staircase parts that sometimes get used interchangeably are baluster, banister, and balustrade.


These are the vertical pieces holding up, supporting, and safely connecting the stair handrail (railing) to the floor and stair treads of a staircase. The term baluster comes from 17th-century Italy; the Italian word for pomegranate flowers is balaustra. Therefore, baluster was chosen because it sometimes mimics blossoming pomegranate flowers. Balusters can be made of wood, iron, and other materials. The term baluster is interchangeable with the word spindle.


The banister is actually used as a name for a staircase baluster, although it is commonly referring to the handrail of the structure.


A balustrade is comprised of the railing system, (top rail, balusters/spindles, and often a bottom rail, posts (newels).

As mentioned above, a baluster is the support system of any staircase. More previously known as spindles, balusters hold up the handrail. They can be made of a multitude of materials, such as wood, glass, stainless steel, or wrought iron. Whether for residential or commercial stairs, balusters are an extremely important part of any exterior or interior staircase.

Think of what holds any staircase together, the bones. You may not need an entirely new staircase. Yet, sprucing up stairs with new balusters is like giving an old car shiny, new tire. If you are looking to spruce up a room, think about what a new baluster pattern can do.


Baluster Design- Custom Staircase

A custom staircase design creates endless possibilities for balusters.

custom staircase balusters

Spindles are often the pivotal element of staircase design and can be crafted to match whatever style you are seeking for. In this picture, wood balusters are used to create a traditional and timeless style.

balusters and custom staircase

In the next featured photo, an intricate metal baluster staircase design is used to create an air of luxury and elegance with curved stairs. You might as well call it a piece of art.

balusters and banisters

Recently, the most popular baluster design has been a cable railing. With surprising durability, clean horizontal lines, and modern class, the cable railing is the new face of contemporary balusters.

Are you having trouble deciding on what type of balusters would look best? Let our experts help you. Check out our blog on metal versus wooden balusters. You can also scroll through our extensive product brochure for more ideas.


Custom Staircase Railing Builders Near Me

Southern Staircase has completed beautiful custom staircases and baluster renovations across the country in a wide range of areas. Our team has formed solid relationships with building partners in every state. This has allowed us to construct high-quality stair work in countless homes, stores, community buildings, offices, and more. Below are some of our most common staircases we have built.


Are you inspired yet?

Whether traditional or modern, stock or custom, our team creates and builds the highest quality balusters, railing designs, and custom stairs. Our experts follow a turn-key approach to ensure all phases of the design process and construction.

From inspiration to installation, we are dedicated to client satisfaction and superb customer service. Learn more about what makes Southern Staircase special.

Contact us with any questions, to discuss your upcoming home design project, or for a free quote. Southern Staircase has been there for hundreds of commercial and custom staircase solutions.

Request a Free Design Consultation