Terms of the Trade: What Is a Newel?

A newel is a supporting pillar, or column, on a staircase. Generally, it is at the foot of the staircase, at landings, or the top of the staircase. Newels are commonly decorated to reflect the decor of a house. Newels are often either box posts or turned posts. Box posts are rectangular while turned posts are cylinders and more ornate. Newels can be either solid or hollow. Hollow posts are found on staircases that use walls for support and are decorative while solid newel posts support the stairs.