A Step in the Right Direction – The Great Staircase Transformation

The next time I open my big mouth and say that some such painting project will be quick and easy…someone, please, be a dear and kick me. Why I thought painting a million billion skinny spindles and keeping my kids dirty feet off stairs long enough for paint to dry was going to be easy or fast is quite beyond me. Although the actual work time was a tad disappointing (hmmm or down right depressing as the case may be), the outcome was anything but that! They turned out exactly how I wanted!

painted staircase by chapter37

I’m pretty much in love in with them. If you happened to read my original post about these stairs, you might have noticed I actually didn’t stick to my plan for this project. I was going to do something on the risers, like wood appliques or something along those lines to fancy them up a tad. I changed my mind once I saw the painted version, they were too clean and crisp to add anything too. I wanted them to be pretty and eye catching, but not busy and distracting…so I ditched that plan and I’m happy I did.

painted staircase by chapter37

The actual painting wasn’t hard. By hard, I mean it doesn’t require great skill to paint stairs. It does require time, patience, and a steady hand! I did the whole shebang without touching a strip of painters tape which saved me money and heaps of prep time. (See HERE for how to paint without using painters tape) The only prep I did, was to clean the stair thoroughly. I didn’t sand the wood because I don’t mind dings, dents and scrapes. That stuff is just character and it’s an old staircase. I wasn’t trying to make it not old, I bought an old house because I like old. The idea was just to make it pretty again.

I used a regular angled paint brush for the spindles and hand rail, and a smaller one inch brush to get the lines straight along the actual stair treads. I found that painting the spindles before the handrail was easiest, and painting the treads before the risers (the white fronts of the stairs) was easiest as far as keeping drips and splatters to a minimum. I actually still need to touch up a few spots with a small artists brush before I’ll call it perfect (story of my life).

painted black and white stairs by chapter37

The painting process was pretty straight forward, two coats of primer (see HERE for more info on that), and two coats of each color of paint. I used Behr porch and floor paint from Home Depot for the black parts. You can custom mix that floor paint to whatever color you want, so I just matched the black to my interior doors. One gallon was way too much, so I’ll just use the rest to finish painting my doors upstairs.  I’ve never used floor paint before, but it doesn’t behave any differently than regular paint. It feels a little thicker to the touch when dry, and I thought it was very forgiving as far as not showing brush strokes. I’ll probably use a mini roller to add a third coat of black at some point just for good measure. I didn’t put any Poly or sealer of any kind on top. I want to see just how well it holds up to foot traffic on its own before doing anything like that.

old wood stairs painted by chapter37

Beside it looking oh, about a million times better, the effect the paint has on the lighting in the stairway is pretty amazing. There is a little natural light, but even still, it was really, really dark walking up the stairs before painting.


All that white paint just bounces light around and makes it so much brighter! We installed a light directly above the stairs shortly after moving in…even after, it still remained rather dungeon like.

staircase renovation by chapter37

The paint was as good as about five more lights installed. (See HERE for a peak at my plans for this hallway) (see HERE for how I used an extender to paint that high wall when I couldn’t use a ladder) This staircase actually isn’t up to current building codes with how steep it is and that little twist it has, so the extra light does it a huge favor. I personally like it’s quirky, creaky personality quite a bit actually.

black and white staircase by chapter37

The staircase is front and center as you walk through the front door. Making it immediately set the tone for classic, homey feel was very important to me. You only have a second or two to make that first impression at a home’s entrance. Even if it means a migraine over painting stair spindles, it’s probably worth the effort! That said, let’s just not discuss the impression the outside of my front door is making…oh well. Different project for a different day.

Psalms 100:3   Know ye that the LORD he is God: it is he that hath made us, and not we ourselves; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture. 

Linking to:
THESE great blogs
Between Naps on the Porch
Thrifty Decor Chick
Home Stories A to Z
Follow on Bloglovin

About Abby

I'm a mom and blogger. I love all things creative! Follow along at www.chapterthirtyseven.com
Tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

29 Responses to A Step in the Right Direction – The Great Staircase Transformation

  1. WOW, Abby! This is a truly amazing and inspiring transformation. My hats off to you! Visiting from the Give Me The Goods Link party. So glad I did. Pinning!

  2. Oh wow, what a huge transformation. The white paint just brings everything to life. I love, love, love it. I would love for you to link up to my Inspire Me party that will be live this afternoon. http://astrollthrulife.net. Hope to see you there. Hugs, Marty

  3. Marti says:

    That looks 100 times better. Amazing how paint can brighten a space, and it looks bigger too.

  4. Holy moly! What a transformation!! Incredible! You did a great job on this – nicely done.

  5. Katie says:

    So beautiful…. I wanted to paint my stairs several years ago but with 4 kids 2 cats and running a babysitting business in our home painting stairs was not an option. Your patience really paid off

  6. Ann Krucek says:

    Wow! What a difference! So much brighter! Your stairs look fantastic! Old and dark to clean and crisp, nice work!

  7. Susan says:

    What an absolutely gorgeous transformation. Isn’t it wonderful when your hard work makes such a visual difference? I love it!

  8. Belynda says:

    Gorgeous! My house envy just got stronger!

  9. amazing job!! its amazing how much a little paint can change an entire area and overall look of a place. Love these color choices and what you did here… added to your newest followers list :) would be awesome if you could follow back over at http://www.southernwhim.blogspot.com

  10. Pingback: The experienced people’s take on refinishing floors - Chapter37

  11. Leslie says:

    Loved looking at this transformation. I love a good make-over!

  12. It’s amazing what paint can to do transform from worn to gorgeous. My stairs weren’t as extreme since they are carpeted, but the dark brown risers made them look blah. I hired a painter to paint them white and give the exposed part of the treads a richer brown stain and it make a world of difference.

  13. Michelle says:

    Oh my word, what a beautiful transformation! Isn’t it amazing what a few coats of paint can do? Great job!

  14. That is beyond awesome! Well done!

  15. Stacy says:

    WOW! You really made a huge difference. That is genuine sweat equity illustrated. Congrats!

  16. I love what paint can do! It’s stunning, really. You’re being featured at Give Me the Goods today. :)

    Rachel @ Maison de Pax

  17. Suzan says:

    Absolutely gorgeous – really – !!!
    I’m doing the same thing ( well ebony stain – but the look is the same ) and still haven’t finished with the risers – I keep running from project to project in this reno disaster lol
    But I’m just loving yours !

  18. featuring tonight…. on Trash 2 Treasure Tuesday. I want to feature you every week. haha

  19. Mindi says:

    Amazing!! I it is so so beautiful and bright! Love it!

  20. Cindy says:

    Gorgeous makeover!!! A simply striking difference. I can see why you like it so. I just finished stripping all my old wood bedroom doors, applying new molding, and refinishing the floors. I was thinking of tackling the stairs next and your post convinced me it would be worth the effort. Hopefully underneath the carpet are some pretty stair treds.

  21. Dija says:

    Wow ! Seriously this was an AMAZING transformation! Great job and very inspiring to a mom who is looking to make some major (to me) changes around the home!

  22. Kathy says:

    Unbelievable! Such a transformation. Great, great job!

  23. I love all the lightness it’s just gorgeous! AWESOME job!

  24. Pingback: Link Party #141 and Features, February 13th 2013 | Redoux Interiors

  25. Pingback: Adventures in refinishing a wood floor - Chapter37

  26. Abby, this is wonderful! I work with Cassity over at Remodelaholic and we would love to feature this (and you!). I couldn’t find an email address for you, so just drop me a line at hello@remodelaholic.com and we can discuss the details. Thanks!

    Have a great day,

  27. Pingback: Bathroom plans and inspiration - Chapter37

  28. Pingback: Painting Interior Doors Black – Why I chose to do it - Chapter37

Leave a Reply to Michelle Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>