How to Pick Finials for Staircase Newel Posts

Written by ehow home & garden editor
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Finials are the finishing touches to a beautiful staircase. Finials add a touch of class to any staircase, no matter the size or configuration. Finials come in many shapes and sizes to suit any décor. Home supply stores have unfinished finials ready for paint, stain or a simple coat of polyurethane.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy


  1. 1

    Look for finials that match your staircase in terms of size and bulkiness. Chunky, large staircases need larger finials that balance out the rest of the staircase.

  2. 2

    Find curvy, rounded finials for a staircase with a curved banister or spiral end. Finials should follow the main design feature of a staircase, so a curved banister needs a finial in the circular family.

  3. 3

    Choose finials with carving details for staircases with lots of trim work. Some staircases have added finish carpentry trim along the stringers on either side. This is especially true of arts and crafts style homes with lots of detailed wood work. Keep consistent with style and find carved staircase finials to match the other details in the house.

  4. 4

    Keep finials in the same wood family as the staircase when staining. If you're painting your staircase, the finial wood choice isn't as important since the grain and color won't show through. For stained staircases and finials, matching the original material is vital to get the same grain and color from your finial.

Tips and warnings

  • Use finials when the end Newell post has no ball or cap. Some Newell posts come with some sort of ball or cap turned into the original design and don't require an additional finial.
  • Don't use a finial on a turned out banister end. These types of curved or swirly end caps don't require any additional pieces to look finished.

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