My Stairway Makeover

When we moved into our brand new home several years ago, one of my dreams was to give the stairway a makeover. Even though it was a new house, it was already finished when we bought it, so all color and design decisions had been made by the builder. It’s fun for me to personalize my own home, so this was a project I was really excited about! The walls around it were painted a shade of beige that glowed like mauve in certain light. The handrail was a light oak and the stairs were covered with carpet. Those were the elements I wanted to update.



My goal in this makeover was to give our stairway more personality and add some of the character of an older house. I really loved the inspiration pictures I saw with white railings and black handrails, so that was the direction we decided to go.


This was a makeover that would take a couple of years to complete due to finances and time restraints, but I’m so glad we were patient and took it one step at a time (no pun intended!), because I really love my staircase now.


It was hard to know where to begin since there were a few obstacles and challenges involved. But paint is always a great place to start! We began with the handrail since it was the easiest and most affordable project we could handle at the time. I was itching to make progress on our home and wanted to start anywhere we could, even if it meant doing several projects over time.


Our walls are so high that we needed scaffolding, and they connect to our entry, so the entire room needed to be painted once we started. Removing the carpet and finishing the stairs was going to be a huge project in itself, so the handrail really was the simplest place to begin.


First we gave the handrail a light sanding and a coat of primer, followed by two coats of black paint. It was tedious to get all the black lines of the handrail straight on the white posts, but I felt it really gave the railing the old house character I wanted. It was worth the extra time it took to paint it black! But once I saw the handrails black, it was clear I needed to take the plunge and get the walls painted too.



As soon as we were able to tackle it, we painted our walls a nice warm gray (try Glidden Wood Smoke for a similar look). It really warmed up the stairway and brought so much more of the character I was looking for!


The power of paint is so transforming, isn’t it?


Finally, this summer we were ready for the final stage of this makeover. We had the old stained carpet removed, new hickory wood stair treads installed, and hung new lanterns and a gallery wall to complete this stairway makeover. I’m absolutely thrilled with how it turned out, and it all started with a little paint project!