Staircase Makeover



If you visit me, the first thing you would probably notice when you open the door is our staircase.

It was for me.

The first time I walked in with our realtor it made me go….”ooooooooo.”

It’s probably one of the prettiest staircases I’ve ever seen.

It didn’t always look this way though.

Staircase Makeover

This is what it looked like before:

Staircase Before

Lots of beautiful woodwork, but the color of the wood was horrible.

I immediately knew we could change that with paint.

So, after a few months we painted the railings and pinecone finials a deep mahogany.

What a huge difference that made.

The wood was very dry so it soaked up the paint with ease.

No sanding required.

The dark brown paint we used was Behr Ultra in Expresso Bean/eggshell sheen (has primer in it).

It almost looks black in the photo, but in person it looks close to a mahogany.

Next, we painted the backs of the steps white (color listed below).

We then added a pretty white molding you may notice below.

It reminds me of vanilla ice cream 🙂

Beatiful Stairs Makeover


We were satisfied for a while.

Then Red slipped, and fell down the stairs.

I was pretty bruised up, but thankfully caught myself with my arm.

It was then, I knew we needed a runner installed for safety.

I desired an indoor/outdoor runner, but the sale I found steered me toward the patterned Berber carpet you see.

You’re thinking, “White?”  Is she crazy?

I plead the Fifth.

However, I will tell you that Scotchgard works wonders.

We also don’t wear shoes in the house.

(Do we Daphne & Valerie?????)

Brown Stairs

Painted Stairs


Did you notice that?

Go back up and compare the 2 last photos.

Did you notice the wall colors?

I’m not sure who decided to paint the walls dark brown.

Who ever it was needed a slap.

(okay, it was me)

We we finally went back to white like it was when we bought the house.
Staircase Makeover from

The white we used was Behr Ultra in Swiss Coffee/eggshell sheen (has primer in it).

Now, it’s perfect.

The beautiful woodwork shines up against the white walls now that it is dark.

The runner breaks up the orange wood on the steps.

Most importantly, they are safe!

There are 4 sets of stairs.

We did them all, but I kept the 1/2 wall on the stairs leading to the basement dark brown.

I liked the contrast with the molding.
hall stairs


Staircase Makeover

 Let me know what you think, and don’t be afraid to paint your stairs.

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Before I go…here’s another graphic I made for you.

Everyone is so busy now a days.

I thought we all could use a little reminder of what’s really important.

Feel free to copy/paste and share.


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45 Responses

  1. Looks great! I’ve been wanting to get new runners for our stairs too. The white walls make such a difference!

  2. That is a beautiful contrast you did! The banister really pops… I LOVE IT!!! xo Nic

  3. Christine says:

    That looks wonderful. Love the darker color on the end posts. I am sending this to my sister because I’ve been trying to get her to paint her stairs (very similar to your except everything is all natural stain, the rails aren’t even white…ick!)and now seeing yours done I can prove my point!

  4. Cara says:

    Looks fantastic, Julie! We have dark wood in our home (we built 8 years ago) and I would love to schange up the colors a bit…hmmm…And I love that graphic, it is so true:)

  5. Okay, your stairs put mine to shame Julie!! Well mine have walls not spindles, lol They look absolutely gorgeous, great job! 🙂

  6. Our current staircase almost looks identical to your “before” picture. Very close to that color, minus the pine cone finials. I would never think to paint it but now I’m so inspired! It turned out beautifully. I’m thinking a DIY project is in order. My poor husband won’t know what hit him when he gets home 🙂

  7. Jackie says:

    Did you paint all the door trims in your house mahogany or black? I love it! I’ve been afraid but if I paint my ugly oak taking I may as well take the leap! Thanks for the inspiration!

  8. Wow Julie, what a difference! It looks great now that it’s been painted (and the wall colour looks much better too) it’s got some contrast and it flows so much better.

  9. Heather says:

    Great makeover! I love all the changes you made Jules!! I’m sure you and your family love the updates too. We recently removed the ugly carpeting on our stairs and added hardwood, what a big difference it makes!! I love those pine cone finials on your stairs too 🙂

  10. Dana says:

    I am in the process of doing something similar….except that I have to prime and paint over ALL of the spindles on my staircase. I love your railing….that is next….if I ever recover from painting the spindles, ha ha! I love using Swiss Coffee…it is on all of my moldings!

  11. Julie they look great!!! I SO want to pull the carpet off our stairs… such a gorgeous, clean look!

  12. Michelle says:

    Where did you get the carpet/runner?

  13. Sonya says:

    You did a great job! What type brush did you use?

  14. Charlene Hansen says:

    Oh, girl, I get so much inspiration from you! We are about to do new wood floors and paint kitchen cabinets. I was talked out of installing iron spindles on my stairs, but this will give it the dramatic effect I was after for a fraction of the cost. Thanks so much for the photos to show hubby! It looks great!

  15. liz gary says:

    I love the dark railings… perfect… I also like the dark brown paint on the half wall going down stairs.

  16. Sue Strope says:

    I love what you did and if I ever have a home that has a stairway like this I will do the same thing. It adds so very much to the homeyness and makes it so inviting. You did a wonderful job with all of it.

  17. mary says:

    Did you ever consider staining the bannisters instead of painting? I love the look but would like to keep the woodgrain.

  18. max collier says:

    Thank you so much. max

  19. […] incredible is the difference between the before and after photos. See the makeover over at her blog here. She even gives all of her paint choices and tips on how she made this amazing makeover […]

  20. Phyllis Winkelbauer says:

    I love the transformation of your staircase. It is exactly what I want to do with our staircase. Ours looks like your “before” photos. Thank you for this beautiful inspiration!

  21. Carolyn K says:

    I think it looks great and I have a three story foyer with gorgeous oak split staircase and balconies all the way around. I built my house so I love the stain we have and our staircase was designed with decorative molding so I would/could never paint my oak risers or railings. First off, I would think of the money, oak riser are much more expensive and if I had planned to paint them I would have just gone plain there. Second, I wonder on the handrails how the paint will hold up. I know the oils from our hands cause an almost black schmutz on them but with the stain and poly I can easily clean it right off and they look marvelous darling. I did have a runner and then I found that it started looking stained and yucky so I took it off, I am thinking about getting another but not a solid this time, I would get an oriental (is that pc now, do we say Asian or something else, I don’t know) pattern so that it would not show every little thing. I have the white walls and I am actually getting rid of them for baked scone, not that much off the China White we have but it just feels warmer. I would like to put some colonial wainscoting on the side of the first flight because the little hands make that a dirty mess and that I would like in a white paint that would be easy to clean. Again, I think it looks good but I guess I love my oak and am too invested $$$ to go and paint it. I think it would be easier if I moved to a house I had not built and did not like the color but I probably would not have painted the risers still even though I think yours looks great. LOL, just a type of house psychosis of mine. I probably need extensive therapy, lol.

  22. Meredith says:

    You did a great job and it looks great! Why didn’t you sand first? When I went to Lowes and asked the paint people about doing my staircase they insisted I had to sand everything first. Obviously I’d rather not. What was your experience like by not sanding?

  23. Meredith says:

    One more question! How do you think yours turned out compared to what staining the banister might look like? I am looking at another tutorial where the girl didn’t sand and used Java Gel Stain instead but it looks so close to yours I can’t see a huge difference. Of course the gel costs much more to use and is messier, so I’d lean towards painting if its all going to look the same. I should add that I’m going to be painting my risers white and treads the java color. What is your opinion on the differences between the stain/paint?

  24. […] If you go back a bit, you may all remember when we made over our staircase.  We painted it with out having to do any sanding.  If you want to know what paint we used, you can find all of that information here: Staircase Makeover. […]

  25. […] is ALOT going on in that foyer.  From the rug, to the Thrift Store Silver Platter Wall, to the staircase, to the Teal Console, to the DIY Rustic Wood Shutters—-> it’s ALOT.  So, a long […]

  26. […] Here’s what they looked like after the old runner was installed, and we also painted them.  You can find all of that painting information here: Original Staircase Makeover. […]

  27. […] Staircase Makeover from […]

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