Wednesday 4 July 2012

Have you brought an old staircase to life recently?

As much as I love many of the benefits that come with having a bungalow like ours, sometimes I wish we had a beautiful staircase as a focal point in the entryway of our home.

I love how the natural light really brightens up this staircase

There are many ways of updating a staircase and prettying up old spindles.  As with anything, the easiest, quickest and most cost effective way to do this is by using paint.  

The pictures below are a before and after of a client's staircase.  I suggested painting the spindles white & finishing the other elements in a dark stain to match the hardwood floor in their family room.

Often, risers are painted white (see the first picture in this post).  However, as my clients have 3 busy kids, staining the stairs in their entirety offered a richer look and less worries for keeping them unmarked.  The walls have yet to be painted but the white wainscoting also helps to keep it bright.

Nautical blues with white panelling and rope banister.

I personally prefer carpeting for our stairs, as it is softer under foot.  However, if you want something more sanitary and easy to clean, have fun and try painting the stairs in a colour (or colours) that will flow to your current colour scheme.

If your not afraid to experiment, try using different patterns on the risers for a unique design.  This can be done either by freehand, stencilling or wallpapering the riser.

Yellow always makes decor more cheery!

If your budget will allow, metal spindles come in various designs and finishes that you may find them more suitable for a long lasting and classic look.

Try mixing metal with wood -pictured below.  By the way, I am totally falling for this colour of wood just now.  Too bad I have no way of putting it in my house without totally changing my entire decor!

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If a more Contemporary design is what you’re after, glass provides a clean and sleek look.  Bear in mind that if you have children, these will more than likely get covered in little fingerprints and may become more of an eyesore than a focal point.

Upgrading your staircase design doesn't have to be limited to the stairs, spindles and railings.   Adding wainscoting or panelling to the wall can make it that much more interesting and unique. Even just a simple painted stripe along the trim can give the design a brilliantly distinctive effect.

Beautiful vignette setting from Elle Decor

Whimsical fun for music lovers

Could your staircase do with some sprucing up?  With so many variances to choose from you could make a big impact by being creative and getting a one of a kind look. Whether you are making changes to your own staircase or a client's, remember to stay true to the character of the home and use designs that will complement its' decor style. 

Need help deciding what to do with your staircase or with another decor project this summer?  Contact Creating Contrast Designs, I can help make your dreams for your home reality!  E-mail me:


  1. Love the idea of painting and stain - what colours are you using?

  2. The white is AF25 - Paper Mache by Benjamin Moore and the stain is the darkest espresso available from Home Depot. When choosing creams or whites be sure they compliment the actual wall colour and other elements such as flooring, backsplash etc. Creams tend to go best with warmer colours and bright whites look great with clean cool colours.

  3. Thanks. I have BM Cloud White on my trim work so think it's best to stay with that colour. Thanks very much for your reply!