My Stairway Makeover - Painting A Stairway Tips - Home Decorating & Painting Advice

My Stairway Makeover - Painting A Stairway Tips

DIY Blogger Melissa Michaels of The Inspired Room tells Glidden® how she brought some character and personality to her new-construction home staircase.

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 finished when we bought it, so all color and design decisions had been made by the builder. It’s fun to personalize your home, so this was a project I was really excited about taking on! My staircase project “before” included walls that 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.


The Road Ahead

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


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 portion of the project. 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. First we gave the handrail a light sanding* and a coat of primer, followed by two coats of black paint, like Glidden® Black Magic. 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.

The Big Reveal


As soon as we were able to tackle it, we painted our walls a nice warm gray (try Glidden® Simmering Smoke for a similar look). It really warmed up the stairway and brought so much more of the character I was looking for! 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.  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. This makeover took 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. I’m absolutely thrilled with how it turned out, and it all started with a little paint project!

As always, please refer to the Product Label, Technical Data Sheet and Safety Data Sheet for safety and detailed application instructions.

*WARNING! If you scrape, sand, or remove old paint, you may release lead dust. LEAD IS TOXIC. EXPOSURE TO LEAD DUST CAN CAUSE SERIOUS ILLNESS, SUCH AS BRAIN DAMAGE, ESPECIALLY IN CHILDREN. PREGNANT WOMEN SHOULD ALSO AVOID EXPOSURE. Wear a NIOSH-approved respirator to control lead exposure. Clean up carefully with a HEPA vacuum and a wet mop. Before you start, find out how to protect yourself and your family by contacting the National Lead Information Hotline at 1-800-424-LEAD or log on to 

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