How to Update Your Stairway: Painted Staircase Ideas

For some people, stairs are simply a vehicle to get from one floor level to the next. And then there are some of us who view stairways as a potential work of art (see my recent post about historic home details). They can add architectural beauty to a home. An easy way to customize a stairwell is with paint. Here’s a few painted staircase ideas to get your wheels spinning on what to do in your own home.

Pale blue and white come together to create a fresh staircase in an old Colonial home. I love the color combination in this space and the curlicue detail is a great touch.

painted Colonial staircasePhoto by Wilson Kelsey Design

A pretty Victorian stairway has painted risers and stained treads. The color matches beautifully with the striped wallpaper.

stained and painted Victorian staircasePhoto by Handcrafted Builders Inc.

If you’re feeling ambitious, consider painting stripes or another pattern on your stair risers. You could also get this same look with wallpaper.

painted staircase ideas - stripes on risersPhoto by Home Cocoon

Painting a runner is another fun painted staircase idea. Stencil numbers on the risers or adhere actual house numbers on the step! Note how the font of the number on each step is a little different.

painted numbers on staircase risersPhoto by Rita May

There’s no reason you need to stick to one or two colors when painting a staircase. This cottage staircase looks is cute and whimsical in pastel tones.

colorful eclectic staircasePhoto by Polsky Perlstein Architects

A bright blue painted runner livens up a traditional staircase giving it a fresh, more modern look. Not to mention, the darker color won’t show scuff marks like white does. I speak from experience, although I have a “no shoes allowed” rule for the stairway.

painted blue runner on stairwayPhoto by Dulux Paint

Some historic homes (like my own) might have a well-worn stairway. A fresh coat of paint is an easy and inexpensive way to hide some of the flaws. The only problem is it’s hard to keep the kitties off the wet steps.

Colonial house stairwayPhoto by Cummings Architects

You might prefer a monochromatic scheme for your stairwell. This pretty Victorian staircase is peaceful and calm and features a beautiful newel  post.

monochromatic Victorian entrywayPhoto by A.Jennison Interiors

An all white painted Scandinavian staircase gets a touch of fun with vintage books set at each step. Plants, flowers, vases, and more can easily take the place of the books for decorations on the stairs.

White Scandinavian entryway with stairwayPhoto by Antoine Fortin

A cozy staircase in painted in brown and white adds a punch of charm with a built-in bookcase. I’ve never seen something like this before. Have you?

staircase with bookshelvesPhoto by Nicola O’Mara Interior Design

If you have a painted staircase, what color(s) did you use? And if you don’t have paint on your stairs, would you ever consider painting them?

More Decorating Articles You Might Enjoy:

Decorating with Blue

Coastal Style Bedroom

Buffalo Checks: Why Every House Needs Them

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  1. I don’t have a staircase, but somehow that doesn’t keep me from having an opinion … 🙂 I think the wallpapered risers, especially with the new no paste, removable wallpapers on the market now, is an amazing idea to add some personality – especially to well-worn stairs. I’m anxious to see other readers’ opinions who do have staircases. This was a very interesting post.

  2. Hubby removed carpeting due to stains. We now have an all white staircase and it works great even with our 98 lb dog. Some re-painting will be necessary over time. But it’s infinitely better painted vs. carpet.

  3. This is a project I plan to take on now that Christmas is over. Unfortunately, I know the condition of the steps are in dire need of repair. I’m looking at it as a great pandemic project.
    Wish me luck as I’m not sure how well my two knee replacements will handle it. Where there’s a will, there’s a way, right?

  4. Mine are painted a dark blue to match the wall alongside. I have to slide down the wall now that my body is disabled so we used a gloss (for easy gliding) in a dark color (so any discoloration won’t be so noticeable). The risers are white, and the rest of the room is bright bright yellow. It is used as a library so there are also a few books on the lower steps to the side.

  5. This was an interesting post. We have carpet on our stairs going up to the bonus room. In time, we will definitely be ripping that up and putting down hard wood. I will possibly paint the risers, but the wallpaper sounds like a great idea too. Thanks, Jennifer.

  6. All of the stairs you have shown are very unique. I liked all of them. We have carpet on our stairway, mostly, because the sons made so much noise going up and down. LOL We may make some changes later when we know our boys/men or settled.

  7. If I could just have one, I’d take what ever they would give me. I would love to have a little room with a window up a stairway.

  8. They all look lovely and it is obviously the modern thing to do but isn’t it a little dangerous and slippery and noisy, plus the stairs would get scuffed very easily and req6lots of maintenance

  9. We’ve recently done ours with grey handrails and white spindles. Took a very long time as we had to use Zinzer to cover the old brown stain and more than a couple of layers of paint. Spindles very fiddly but what a difference….should have done it years ago!!

  10. It is very easy and cheap to make a carpeted stair runner with 2×5 carpet runners and a $30 staple gun from your local hardware store. It is alot safer and scuff proof as well as comfortable and you can dress it up with paint.

  11. I don’t have a stairway, but I sure wish I did. I loved looking at how people paint their stairways. The houses I lived in when I was young always had a stairway and I’ve always wanted one but since I have been widowed for so long it seemed crazy to buy a house that big. Thanks, that was fun.