Take A Chance On Your Stairs

When we bought our 1939 home 10 years ago, we removed dated carpet from our stairs and discovered painted pine stairs.  It’s not like they were nice wood that could be refinished, so we simply painted them with white oil-based porch paint.  Worked great, but it requires a new coat to freshen them up every 3-4 years.  So, THIS is what I’m thinking about doing rather than yet another coat of white:



Or maybe a simple stripe of blue . . .



These stairs look just like mine – it’d be easy just to add a colored stripe, you know?




Or just paint the treads in Honeysuckle Pink!



I love this idea – stencil numbers on the risers!  Even easier, you could use decals like the kind you use for mailboxes.




This two-tone look is really cute, too.




Applying a fun pattern would add lots of personality.  My kids might even enjoy taking their clothes and toys back up to their room!




This looks like a carpet runner, but it’s actually a painted version crafted using a lot of painter’s tape.




A little bit of wallpaper here did the trick. 


So, is anyone else inspired like me to make a fun project out of painting their stairs?   I’m wondering which one of these ideas is your favorite – please let me know which one I should take a chance on!

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32 thoughts on “Take A Chance On Your Stairs

  1. Michelle L says:

    I think most of them are very cute…but I lean toward the more simple designs, like the white with blue runner or the honeysuckle pink style. I would just say be careful of busy patterns that might play tricks on the eyes! Could be easy to trip on the stairs. But I’m certainly no Decorologist!!

  2. Jamie says:

    Honeysuckle Pink, hands down. Fun, fresh, and it doesn’t require a second mortgage to pay for the painter’s tape!

  3. Amy says:

    Love them all! The bright multi-colored version is so cheerful and fun. You could pull off any of these designs in your home and make them work! I love the idea of painting a carpet runner. The homeschool mama in me loves the numbers on the stairs – what a great, yet very cool, idea for teaching little ones their numbers!

  4. joy says:

    I like the painted tread one, or the wall-papered one. I think stairs itself is already full of structure and energy, simple deco works better than those fancy and mixed patterns. It might be fun, but not good looking or feeling good when being looked at as they compete with each other and neither wins.

  5. Heather says:

    as a painter. i love the look of all of them but those stripes and stencils make me tired. i stenciled some stairs like that once and it nearly drove me crazy. i always wonder if the homeowner painted over it when she moved. we used a Moroccan theme with eggplant, copper and sand colors.

  6. Jessica says:

    Hi, I’ve been following your blog for a little while now but this is my first comment. Our house is from 1890, and we need to paint the stairs, too. Can you post how you painted your stairs? Do your white stairs get nicked up pretty easily?

    I painted our entryway green and stenciled a design in a metallic paint, and now the tan-painted stairs stick out like a sore thumb. I would love to do a colorful painted runner, but our house is already so colorful, I think we’ll go with white stairs and probably purchase a carpeted runner of some sort in a neutral color. My favorites from your pictures are the pink-topped stairs, and the blue runner with yellow on the sides.

    • Kristie Barnett says:

      jessica, we always thought we’d have a runner installed, but we never did. we simply used KILZ (an oil-based primer) and about 3 coats of high-gloss oil-based porch paint. it has never chipped, persay – but it eventually gets dinged up a bit and needs a fresh coat every 3 years or so. our stairway is enclosed, so the light keeps it nice and light going up the stairs – but white shows every speck of dirt and dust! it would be worse, except it’s not near the front door and my kids typically don’t wear their shoes going up the stairs.

  7. Teresa says:

    I like the single color stripe or the painted treads. I’m not brave enough to try honeysuckle pink, but I like the look.

  8. Amy White says:

    LOVE them all! I think for your house the treads should be two tone – a Honeysuckle center with a 2″ band of turquoise on each side, then some white still showing (4-5″) on each side (depending on the width of the tread), leaving the risers white. So much fun!

    • Kristie Barnett says:

      amy, i like that idea! my stairs are in an enclosed area – not open to the rest of the house or in an entry. so since they mainly lead up to the kids’ rooms, they could stand to be FUN 🙂

  9. Pam Barnett says:

    I like the two-tone runner or the step in a contrasting color. For the old folks (Mema) that will climb these steps sometimes, I want to see the step. I also like the idea that some of the white still show. The 1st one is too busy for me and I am not fond of the wall papered or stenciled. Since your steps are not open for all to see – then some fun paint treatment could easily be applied. What do the girls think?

  10. Allison says:

    We pulled up carpet everywhere and revealed that our stairs had oak treads and risers. We “slightly” sanded the treads and clear-coated them along with the rest of the wood floors and we painted the risers white. Before we painted them white, I would almost fall down or up the stairs because my eye couldn’t find the step naturally because of the solid expanse of neutral. I love the white risers now! I would not do the numbered risers b/c I think I would focus on those and trip! 🙂 I like the treads one color and the risers another to get definition on the stairs but I would definitely choose a fun color that coordinated with what is up the stairs. My favorite pictures above are the lighter blue and the yellow stenciled risers. Post a picture for us once you decide!!!

  11. Naturally Carol says:

    They were all fun to look at though some I would only love for about two weeks! Interestingly in Queensland here it is traditional to paint the outside of the step a colour and leave the main walkway part natural…it is quite practical as the middle is where it gets worn first so the outer sides always look freshly painted.

  12. Debbie says:

    I LOVE those yellow stairs! That’s definitely my favorite.

    The previous owner of my house put Americana wallpaper border on the stair risers. Part of me wants to replace it asap, part of me likes it for the kitsch factor. And it is really fun when visitors notice it for the first time.

    But depending on the height of your risers, using wallpaper border could cut down the measuring and cutting. Of course, the wallpaper borders I’ve found are either boring or more country-kitsch, but maybe you have a better source?

  13. Kelly, The Brave New Home says:

    Hi, Kristie.
    So much fun. I did a post on colorful stairs awhile back, too! No reason our trips up and down the house need to be dull. 🙂

    Can’t wait to see which direction you take them. The yellow and white patterned risers are especially intriguing to me…

  14. LiveLikeYou says:

    How fun is that first staircase? Painting the middle one color resembling a carpet with a pattern is another fun idea!! Go paint!!!

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  16. Stacy says:

    Do you know where I could buy number decals for the numbered stairs? I need lots of number 1's for stairs 10-14. I would like 3 inch black numbers.

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  18. Chez says:

    Kristie-Just curious what you ended up doing with your stairs? I am contemplating a similar project. I’m leaning toward the colorful stencil (but after just completing a stencil wall – which I love but was quite an undertaking) – so I’m not sure I’m up for stenciling 20+ stairs!). Would love to see pics of yours!

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