What's Black, White, Gold and Green All Over? My Bathroom Remodel!

Despite more than a few hurdles, our upstairs bathroom renovation is moving along. It’s being carved out of a small space that includes a dormer window on the front of the house. This is where we started:




Wondering where the shower is?  No shower. Wondering where the toilet is?  This room was so tiny, the toilet was in the room down the hall.  I am not even joking.  We had to move the wall out ten inches into the hallway and punch a hole through a couple of walls in both directions to make room for a shower and a toilet.


The old jacuzzi tub is GONE, the plumbing to the sink (seen above) has been moved, and the new shower is being lined with white subway tile.  The subway tile will be walls and ceiling of the shower and halfway up the walls of the rest of the small bathroom.  No more toile wallpaper – I’ve chosen a dramatic solid paint color for this space.

Here are some of the elements that will make this tiny bathroom a power punch: hexagon marble tile on the floor, white subway tile on the walls, amazing gold fixtures, black windows, and a spinach green on the upper part of the walls and ceiling:

Upstairs Bath remodel

check out the Pinboard I created for this bathroom remodel here

This is the stairwell going upstairs as it was previously:


painted stairs before

At the top of the stairs, the wall on the left and just ahead are GONE.  See for yourself:


Now I need your input!  I’m trying decide on whether or not I want to do a painted black runner like this:

black painted stair runner

via Pinterest

OR, should I leave the treads white and just paint the risers black?  What do you think?

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53 thoughts on “What's Black, White, Gold and Green All Over? My Bathroom Remodel!

  1. Jessica Johnson says:

    I don’t think you could go wrong either way… but for some reason, I think just painting the risers black and treads white would be more classic looking. But i love that the runner is different… kinda torn!! (not much help am I??) I Luuurve your tile selection and your pendant light! So fun and bold but classic! Cant’ wait to see it all done!!

    • Kristie Barnett says:

      Thanks for the input, Jessica! We ripped out carpet and painted these stairs in high gloss oil-based paint years ago. They do require a repainting every few years, so it’s not a very permanent thing to paint them either way. I haven’t been able to find ANY photos of white treads and black risers, except for black risers where there are marble slabs on the treads. Maybe it’s time to start a new trend 🙂

  2. Mary CC from CA says:

    Love the hard surfaces you have chosen. Hope all goes on schedule and no unplanned surprises are found along the way. I like the idea of the white step with the black tread. Best of luck !

    • Kristie Barnett says:

      Thanks, Mary! But on schedule? You must be joking – our concrete driveway ended up taking about nine months, so I’m just hoping it’s finished before the kids go to college . . . Ah, the joys of renovation!

  3. Linda Knopsnyder says:

    I like the painted runner look for the stairs. I can’t wait to see pics of your bathroom finished! Love the gold faucets.

  4. Brittany Sullivan says:

    Though I do confess I don’t know what risers and treads are 🙂
    But a runner would look awesome there.

  5. Melissa says:

    I vote yes for the runner idea. Both would look nice, but you’re the paint woman so go for it!!

    Where is that light fixture from? It would look nice in my son’s room. As you know first hand we have a lot of black accents in the house(and we’re getting lots of complements on them and enjoying them).

    Happy New Year, Happy New Bath!!

  6. Kira Kegg says:

    Hmmm you know as it stands now, or rather in the image with the walls still up in the hallway previously, I’d lean towards the runner. I think the white tops and black risers, while classic and wonderful, would match the view on the tops of the stairs too much. The runner idea provides enough cohesion to coordinate with the space and a focal point guiding you up the stairs for visual interest. And if you have to repaint every few years, meh, why not? However my opinion might change depending on the views from the landing (it’s surrounding decor and architecture) and how the walls will look once reassembled differently (I’m assuming here it will look a bit different.) Also, not sure if you’re into this, but couldn’t you get a small roll of cheap black paper (like the kind for crafts or office supplies) and put it up for a few days with painters tape to see if you like it first? I do stuff like that a lot. I LOVE the hexagon tile samples on your pinterest board btw!

  7. Gina Newell says:

    I would think you would need to heavily lacquer (seal) the treads to keep them from scuffing if you painted them black. Therefore, I would recommend painting only the risers black and leaving the treads natural or white. I do like the pencil line border on each side.

    I noticed you have a hanging chandelier above the tub. I am assuming you would move that fixture out of the bathtub/shower area due to code specs.

    • Kristie Barnett says:

      The chandelier is going, to be replaced with the black/gold pendant on the idea board. The shower won’t be there where the tub is in the before photo – it is in the recessed area where we punched out the wall where the sink was previously. There definitely won’t be a light in the shower, but we’ll have a glass door so we can see to shower!

  8. Vonnie Thomason says:

    I like the painted runner idea. With all the spindles and the blank space between, coupled with the alternating black/white, it might look a little like a sixties pop art installation.

  9. Cheryl Rogers says:

    I’m loving your bath renovation and changes to the landing. Looking down the road, the repainting of the runner could be very tricky and could get a little messy. Have you given any thought to replacing the treads and staining them with a black/onyx stain and leaving the risers white with a black handrail.

  10. loroy says:

    ‘Tis the season… to update bathrooms! Yours is the second blog I’ve seen focused on bathroom upgrades, and I’m getting ready to do mine (master bath). I can use all the advise I can get… so many decisions to make.

  11. loroy says:

    ‘Tis the season… to update bathrooms! Yours is the second blog I’ve seen focused on bathroom upgrades, and I’m getting ready to do mine (master bath). I can use all the advise I can get… so many decisions to make!

  12. Elizabeth Scruggs says:

    Tearing out walls and re-routing plumbing and electrical…..now you’re getting in my territory and what I call FUN! Love the wall removal- so open. Black treads, black handrail, white risers. Your space is going to be beautiful friend!

  13. Nancy O'Brien says:

    I’m on team runner! I like how it draws your eye up the stairs and I also find it more visually interesting. Like the others, I don’t think you’d make a mistake either way! Love your blog! I like comparing southern style with our Nova Scotian styles. I’m always envious of the great flea markets you have down your way….maybe some day I’ll make it to Nashville. It is on my Bucket List. 🙂

  14. "B.J." says:

    Very attractive. Really like the floor tiles. In Sweden, my relatives have separate bath and toilet rooms. It works well for them.

  15. Nancy O'Brien says:

    I’m on team runner! I like how it draws your eye up the stairs. I so enjoy your blog. It is fun to compare your southern style with my Nova Scotia style. I envy the great looking flea markets you have…maybe some day…Nashville is on my Bucket list!

  16. Jean says:

    Although I love the look of the painted runner, I would personally not go for black (or any dark color) on stairs. I once purchased a solid navy blue rug, and it was a nightmare. Every speck of lint and fuzz showed up on that darn rug. I could vacuum a hundred times a day, and it still looked bad. Never again!

  17. Paula Van Hoogen says:

    Hey Kristie–Big improvements on the way for that bath!! Shower going in same place as former tub?
    Just wondering….so here’s my thought on the stairs—the “runner” looks pretty, but no matter what sheen level you do with black, the scuff marks will start right away. Black, like a black car, shows everything. (darn it!) So, — maybe— I’d go for the white treads, black risers. Another alternative is JUST painting the risers black and LEAVE the treads wood stained. That really is the most durable and shows virtually NO scuff marks!
    OK, that’s my 2 cents.
    Love, Paula

  18. Jil Sonia Interiors says:

    Just love the work you’ve done, how spectacular! I’m thinking the tread would look dirty if you painted the treads black, as in the runner idea. I’d go with the black riser and white treads idea, but have a pencil line trim detail on the white treads at the sides 🙂

  19. Audrey says:

    I like the runner idea if the dimensions are pleasing, I’d go for it. The runner will make a pleasing introduction to your dramatic space. See, you can judge a book by it’s cover!

  20. Phyllis says:

    Love the painted runner, but, from a practical standpoint I wonder if every speck of lighter colored dust, dirt, etc. will glaringly show up against a stark black paint. Can you do some sort of faux “texture” or mottling to help “disguise” any imperfections that will occur? (And of course, dirt will show up on the white, too, but being on the sides, it might not be as difficult to maintain.) Maybe a faux black and white marble?

  21. Cindy Butler says:

    We are working on our stairs going to our second floor also. My husband tore off the berber carpet and put white bead board on the risers. I love the look of the dark walnut stain with the white risers but can’t stain so we have to paint. I did one tread in a dark walnut paint to see if we would like it and there is always dust on it….so that would drive me crazy. My dark floor in the kitchen is bad enough so I think I am going to a gold- tan color so I am not fighting the dust every day. I also have been looking at carpet runners and carpeted treads but not finding the look I wAnt. Good luck!

  22. Kath Barry says:

    Risers black—-live with it for 3 to 4 days–THEN, if you want more “drum roll” add the runner. Can’t go wrong with that plan……….Sweet bath great picks for the redo.

  23. Becky Dimino says:

    I know you must be so excited! I love that green with the gray, white and black!!! I love black touches in almost every room. The chandelier is divine, can’t wait to see it finished. I tried but failed to paste a picture from Houzz, of Ben Herzog’s Brooklyn Townhouse that has some photos of the white risers with black treads. Our family could never keep the black looking good. I can’t even get from my car to the building without getting my shoes messy!

  24. Kari says:

    The runner! Hands down. What a dramatic way to lead you up to what will surely be an oasis. Btw, only saw the before pic in my email and immediately thought, “What in the heck is she doing with toile?!” I should have known better. 😉

  25. kelly says:

    Love it! Wow- your house must be a mess! haha It is going to be beautiful! I love the painted runner also, BUT I would worry about the dirt too. BUT, who really wears shoes and gets dirt going upstairs? hmm……

    • Kristie Barnett says:

      Yep, it’s a mess – the kids have been sleeping in the basement for over a month now! Honestly, we take our shoes off at the front door and the stairwell is not in the entry – it’s down a hall a bit. So it won’t get lots of “shoe” traffic, just socks and bare feet. The white painted steps get dusty/dirty quickly and require a frequent dust vac. I don’t know if black will be any worse, hard to know!

  26. a reader says:

    Another vote for the runner; it seems to fit your style the best! We had the same steep attic stairs in our 1937 house. They were painted rough wood and made to fit tiny feet! They were always getting scuffed up (white paint on the risers). We had the risers and treads replaced, with the tread overhang extended a bit, if that makes sense (the rise over run stayed the same). They are still steep stairs, but easier to climb with adult sized feet, and they remain scuff- free (natural oak on both treads and risers). Just a thought for the next remodel-

  27. Peggy Wilcox says:

    I vote for the black runner. It has a classic look, especially with the small lines on each side! In the past I’ve done stairs where I carpeted the treads and painted the risers. Easier to clean than all carpet, but not near as classy as this look!

  28. carola says:

    Treads white, risers black – and please paint the hand rail high gloss black!! Thats quite some gutting there 🙂 Love it! The excitement of it all! curious to see the progress! ENJOY!

  29. Christina Reiter says:

    The painted runner is stunning. Different, but classic. If you have to repaint the stairs every few years anyway, I would go for it.

  30. Holly says:

    I love the runner. Would modern yet classic make sense? I do, however, love the idea of a faux marbled look. Would probably save you when comes to keeping clean!

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