The newel post and balusters get all the attention, while the exposed side of most staircases is largely ignored. But with the addition of decorative stair brackets, a bland stringer can become an elegant eye-catcher.
Here we used simple-to-install wood brackets that go up with adhesive and nails. To make the project even easier, we had the stock ¼-inch-thick profile custom-milled to just 3/16 inch so that the bracket would be slightly recessed beneath the existing scotia molding that skirts the treads. Any thicker and we would have had to remove the scotia and replace it with longer strips that could wrap the brackets. Customization adds to the $8 to $13 price per bracket (StairPartsUSA.com), depending on the profile and wood type, but the DIY-friendly installation makes it well worth the extra $40 or so. We spent $160 total for our 12 poplar brackets.