Image from wallpaper.com
Here's an example of a staircase which uses a wall, instead of a balustrade (or banister/baluster combo). I like the clean lines and minimalist aesthetic, and am hopeful that it won't date in the same way that regular balustrades inevitably do. A wall should also be far less bother to maintain. The stairs in our current flat are enclosed by walls and the worst thing that's happened is a bit of green wax crayon from a visiting toddler (my own children, so far, haven't drawn on any walls!).