What to do with our stairs?!
evolpe
November 8, 2013 in Design Dilemma
I don't like the colour of the stain on the stairs - you may not see it well in this pic but it doesn't match the floor well and it looks kind of purply-pink. I was thinking of painting the stairs a black and eventually I would like to change the railings to glass to make the space more modern. In the short term, I'm trying to decide if I should also paint the hand rail and base spindle (not the wrought iron). I was thinking I would just leave it as I don't think it stands out too much. Thoughts??? I'm open to any ideas!! Thanks in advance!!
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bellepo
Wow! I wouldn't change a thing. I think it looks stunning!
8 Likes   Thanked by evolpe    November 8, 2013 at 6:33AM
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dianahb
Agree with above. They look beautiful, and --on my screen-- match the floor really well. I would never paint those.
2 Likes   Thanked by evolpe    November 8, 2013 at 6:53AM
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0825sam
Ditto
2 Likes   Thanked by evolpe    November 8, 2013 at 6:54AM
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decoenthusiaste
Monitors can be deceiving and you're there in person, so I'll take your word for it that you are not happy with this stair. Maybe one of our talented "app" Houzzers can play with some variations for you to see. Since you're leaning modern down the road with the glass, I'd consider painting black and white, and adding sisal. Search the box above under Photos for black stairs, sisal stairs, etc. for lots of ideas These don't curve, but might give you a concept.
8 Likes   Thanked by evolpe    November 8, 2013 at 7:10AM
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0825sam
Can you restain? I like the look of the all wood. Black is nice too - we have that but it can chip and looks dusty.
3 Likes   Thanked by evolpe    November 8, 2013 at 7:15AM
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dianahb
To expect all wood to match perfectly is unrealistic. Even in your floor, there are variations of color and grain. You will regret painting these stairs, if only for the future maintenance that you will incur. Our stair treads are old red oak, but the risers are painted-- and it's a royal pain in the neck to keep those looking nice. I'd love to strip them someday back to the original red oak.

Agree with sam0705 about possibly re-staining, but not painting.

As far as putting carpet (sisal or otherwise) on stairs-- I have always been against that, since--many years ago-- I was at the top of someone's stairs, wearing heels, and they had very nice, relatively new, Berber carpet on them. There was a tiny thread sticking up on the top stair (like a ring-- still attached at both sides). My heel caught that, and I fell all the way down the very long stairs and didn't stop until I hit the front door. Since I was in my 20's at the time, I recovered pretty quickly-- and no sprains or breaks-- but ever since then, when I see any carpet, of any type, on stairs-- I just want to run in the opposite direction. So dangerous and, really, always unsightly looking to me. I love seeing the natural wood.
1 Like   Thanked by evolpe    November 8, 2013 at 7:19AM
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diyher
I wouldn't paint them either, the wood looks gorgeous. If anything, just paint the risers and leave the tread stained.
3 Likes   Thanked by evolpe    November 8, 2013 at 7:33AM
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PRO
Marazul Building Company
Would be a shame to paint your gorgeous hardwood stairs. An experience finisher might be able to "tint" them and then do a finished top coat with clear. Try finding a local stair company of dedicated wood finishing shop and see what they say.
2 Likes   Thanked by evolpe    November 8, 2013 at 7:38AM
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bellesum
Paint the riser white like this makeover.

5 Likes   November 8, 2013 at 7:56AM
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bellesum
Here's the after.

20 Likes   Thanked by evolpe    November 8, 2013 at 7:56AM
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Chandani
Bellesmum suggested what I was going to. Yes, you can definitely restain. You just have to make sure you sand off ALL of the varnish and previous stain off first.
0 Likes   Thanked by evolpe    November 8, 2013 at 8:11AM
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evolpe
Thank you so much for the comments. It is hard to see the colouring but it is definitely 'off' - my sister noticed it as well when she came into the house.

Regarding chipping from painted stairs, I was worred about that but I was reading another post and the homeowner said she bought the best paint she could and primed and prepped really well and they have held up well - something to consider.

One thing I did not consider is the dust showing on black paint, so thank you very much for that, sam0705.

I will def look into re-staining. And will be interested to see their thoughts and comments. I also agree that wood does not have to match, dianahb - I am not a 'matchy' person and feel that the variation is nice :) I remembering hearing once that 'not all the trees in the forest are the same colour' and that we should not try to match in our homes either! However, as I stated earlier, the pic doesn't show but the colour is just wrong, or at least, not to my liking, and I'd like to change it. Maybe I should consider a much darker stain? It might compliment without trying to match what is on the floor???

I really appreciate all the positive comments about the house as is!! Thank you!
3 Likes   November 8, 2013 at 8:43AM
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fos5
White risers and spindles would look very nice but maybe too traditional for you? White risers would stop the look of the floor running up the stairs giving the stair case more definition.
1 Like   Thanked by evolpe    November 8, 2013 at 8:53AM
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evolpe
Yes, I agree with you fos5, but I am afraid that is more traditional than I would like to go. The decor is traditional now but that is the current homeowners, and I would like to go in a more modern direction. I was thinking of a modern style, blended with an old-world french. That is where my mind was going with the black - I was thinking high gloss. I should try to find a picture to help illustrate where my mind is.
Now, I'm wondering if re-staining a different colour, maybe a dark high gloss, is the way to go. Might be slippery though??
0 Likes   November 8, 2013 at 9:01AM
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5556
they look good the whey they are.
1 Like   November 8, 2013 at 9:09AM
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lwaylett
Nooooooooooo paint, please! Find a carpet/stair runner you can use to lighten the pathway. There are soooo many to choose from. And then can add decorative hardware at back of each step to help hold in place as well as add interesting touch of decor.
2 Likes   November 8, 2013 at 9:13AM
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Jean O
I agree that I think a high gloss would change a lot... also maybe paint the wall. I definitely wouldn't paint them, because if you decide later on that you liked the wood look more, its then too late.... nearly impossible to bring back.
2 Likes   Thanked by evolpe    November 8, 2013 at 9:15AM
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indianpatti
Beautiful home! I too like the way they look right now. Because you don't like them, I would also suggest painting them white, but keeping the trim dark. Would look very modern and pair well with glass wall & stainless rails.
1 Like   Thanked by evolpe    November 8, 2013 at 9:21AM
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joyfulgrrl
I wouldn't paint your riser white. I would just paint a stenciled design using a light color with some Annie Sloan chalk paint. This photo may give an idea. source : http://www.chomec.com/home-stairs-decorating-diy/
5 Likes   Thanked by evolpe    November 8, 2013 at 9:25AM
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diyher
the glass stair is going to be a nightmare to keep clean, fingerprints and dust galore.
2 Likes   November 8, 2013 at 9:29AM
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dianahb
Stairs are beautiful as they are. If you have money to spend, look for a drop dead gorgeous runner for the hallway which will also serve to distract you from the perceived mis-match of stairs/hallway.
2 Likes   November 8, 2013 at 9:33AM
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Debra Utt-Johnson
I like belesum's idea!
0 Likes   November 8, 2013 at 9:36AM
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diyher
my stairs are all oak stained as are the rails. When we had the house built, the builder just stained it the color of the floor since we paid an extra $1,000 to have the solid oak stairs. That is part of the reason I am reluctant to paint any of it even after 20 years since they still look good and I have not had to touch them up at all. I just wish they were a shade different to make them stand out. Possibly that is what you are hoping for as well :)
1 Like   Thanked by evolpe    November 8, 2013 at 9:36AM
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Roo Eport
We have a staircase not as grand as yours but the same colour wood stain. I was never happy with it and after living here for 7 years decided I wanted it painted white. Hubby relented and did it. I am thrilled with the result. What a difference it has made. I'm ready now to paint almost everything white. Personally I would paint your staircase all white and possibly lay carpet of your choice, however after having seen the combination in a movie of all white walls, white staircase and a beautiful red carpet that would be my choice. To give you an idea try and rent the video remake of Brief Encounter starring Sophia Loren and Richard Burton. You will see the stunning effect in that movie.
1 Like   Thanked by evolpe    November 8, 2013 at 9:45AM
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arebilly
I wouldn't change a thing . They look great in the picture.
1 Like   Thanked by evolpe    November 8, 2013 at 9:47AM
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PRO
Style 1519
Beautiful space. To continue with a contemporary look, you can wall paper the risers with a stunning print to bring in some color and soften the look of stairs. Something like this from Kravet wall coverings.
1 Like   Thanked by evolpe    November 8, 2013 at 9:48AM
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sharleeg
I would put a lighter colored runner myself, no paint! Best of luck!
1 Like   Thanked by evolpe    November 8, 2013 at 9:49AM
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andyandris
The stairs are gorgeous the way they are. I would change the wall colors so that the stairs did t stand out so much. Softening the stark white will still allow the stairs to be the focal point but will help create the illusion that the floor and the stairs are the same color. I love the rustic look of the stairs, it keeps them from becoming too pretentious.
1 Like   Thanked by evolpe    November 8, 2013 at 9:52AM
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PRO
Keating Studio
There are so many options for painted stairs. For a more modern approach, you can paint a "faux runner" into the design, paint risers a different color, do decorative patterns (think Mexican or Moroccan tile patterns)...the sky is the limit and I love to see a staircase that has some personality...rather than "blending" with the floors to give it a modern look. It's a functional part of the architecture, but think about all the grand staircases you've seen where the staircase was anything but boring! I could post lots of possible options, but rather than that, I'm going to suggest you simply Google "stair paint ideas" for images of ideas. Something will inspire you according to your space and taste. People who think wood shouldn't be painted should look at the history of furniture and architecture. We've been using decorative paint techniques FOREVER in the grandest of architecture. So, don't worry what others think...if it suits you, go for it. Have fun with it...people forget the whimsical part of art and architecture and get entirely too serious about it. Have fun...nothing is forever. I've restored and refurbished some very significant architecture, and decorative paint has always played into it somewhere.
2 Likes   Thanked by evolpe    November 8, 2013 at 9:59AM
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reesedezign
Keep the wood and think about changing the balusters to bring a modern element to the staircase. Something like this baluster would make the entire staircase a beautiful sculptural piece of art. Adding glass, will not make the staircase modern.
1 Like   Thanked by evolpe    November 8, 2013 at 10:01AM
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dapplesassy
They're beautiful just as they are. If you want to make them stand out a little more I would paint the stair rail SPINDLES ONLY white ( not the newel posts, they are a great architectural detail in the stained wood).......scratch that, looks like the spindles are wrought iron.
0 Likes   Thanked by evolpe    November 8, 2013 at 10:20AM
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PRO
Stamps Design Services
Here are some images of what others have done with their stairs....
0 Likes   Thanked by evolpe    November 8, 2013 at 10:20AM
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PRO
Stamps Design Services
And this one as well.... It's your home, do what you want with it!
0 Likes   Thanked by evolpe    November 8, 2013 at 10:24AM
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Nancy Travisinteriors
It looks fine. You could re stain it. But paint on stairs doesn't always wear well. you could put a runner in a red Persian style. I see some Spanish art on wall. I would stay in that threme. Add 3 big art pieces going up stair case. Keep frames dark wood. 24" high and 20" wide. To add interest.
1 Like   Thanked by evolpe    November 8, 2013 at 10:34AM
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Nancy Travisinteriors
Add same pattern area rug to entry floor 5 x7.in reds. Or you could get area rug and art for wall. May not want to change stairs.
1 Like   November 8, 2013 at 10:35AM
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Patrica Montazeri
No, don't paint anything, I think a beautiful rug for the stairs would be lovely. Even a rug on the floor would be nice, too.
1 Like   November 8, 2013 at 10:41AM
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betsylebeau
Paint risers white...spindles if wood white...will brighten it up.
0 Likes   November 8, 2013 at 10:47AM
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daarnold05
I like when the stairs and flooring are contrasting. I had the same issue in my house where they tried to match the rail and newel color with the floor. Last week I had it painted. I agonized over doing it but finally went for it. I think it looks cleaner and more updated. In your case I think I'd leave the stairs the color they are and paint the iron, railing and newel. Here's my before and after.
2 Likes   Thanked by evolpe    November 8, 2013 at 10:53AM
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PRO
Antico Elements
I photo-shopped the images you gave us and I could see it was off. I wouldn't paint it black because you will end up with the black hole effect and there won't be enough natural light to compensate, not to mention how how hard it will be to use the stairs at night (unless you are putting in track lighting). Keep in mind that the railing of glass you want to install is going to look best with a lighter color of almond etc. You have a beautiful home and I hope that my two cents was worth your time enjoy the reno.
1 Like   Thanked by evolpe    November 8, 2013 at 11:02AM
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akmckay321
YES, YES, YES, PAINT THEM!! A white paint on the risers and spindles will go a long way and fit in perfect with your decor!!
1 Like   Thanked by evolpe    November 8, 2013 at 11:05AM
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daizyjenz
I know this image is a floor...but what about something along these lines for the risers? A stained stencil. It might be a little too traditional for your tastes, but just a thought.
1 Like   Thanked by evolpe    November 8, 2013 at 11:36AM
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PRO
Daybreak Workroom LLC
I do a lot of painting (I love paint). Paint isn't a "forever" solution (after 21 yrs. my home's floors need serious attention) but used selectively it can work wonders. I'd paint the risers, too! it will instantly brighten the staircase and draw the eye away from the mismatch of the stained treads and the floor at the base of the stairwell. You could stencil the risers or even use wall paper to further distract attention.
1 Like   Thanked by evolpe    November 8, 2013 at 11:46AM
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Laurel Ennis
Either paint the risers white, but not the treads or put in a carpet runner up the middle in a different colour. It's too brown now.
2 Likes   Thanked by evolpe    November 8, 2013 at 12:39PM
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fos5
Agree Laurel. Stairs and floor run together like a slide.
0 Likes   Thanked by evolpe    November 8, 2013 at 1:16PM
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gaylalee
go with bright yellow
0 Likes   Thanked by evolpe    November 8, 2013 at 1:20PM
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Nicole Lee
your stairs look beautiful though! a black stain would look nice and modern.
0 Likes   Thanked by evolpe    November 8, 2013 at 1:22PM
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Amy Thompson
I think it is important to retain some of the wood stain so the stair case blends with the wood floor. One way to upgrade the look of these stairs while maintaining its wood feature is to leave the rails and step landings the color they are now, and paint the rest white or the color of the surrounding walls.


0 Likes   Thanked by evolpe    November 8, 2013 at 1:38PM
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marlso
I think the stairs look gorgeous as they are - very old world ! Maybe introduce some color elsewhere to create an international vibe - maybe something plantation or Moroccan in vibe-an exotic tropical plant on the side or palm tree on right edge that overlaps the staircase a little. You could also stain stairs darker-closer to floor color -- or an ebony. I wouldn't paint the risers because they do tend to get scuff marks and will change feel. I might hang a small dimly lit light that hangs down long like a chandelier above staircase in a deep orange.
1 Like   November 8, 2013 at 2:02PM
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marlso
I also like what jzarem wrote above. Stenciling could look gorgeous keeping it rich and in deep browns. It also depends on the feel of the rest of your house and the light right where the photo is taken from ( windows etc?).
0 Likes   November 8, 2013 at 2:07PM
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dianahb
Agree with marlso above. Anyone who is recommending putting paint on the risers has not actually lived with paint on their risers. Scuff marks abound.

And, frankly, when I see carpet, end to end, on stairs-- (unless it's some fine persian (or comparable) carpet that runs down the middle, so you can see the wood treads at either end)-- I always assume there's cheap wood underneath, so they had to hide it. So when you have nice wood-- show it. If anything, stain it darker (no paint).

Again, putting a very good runner in the hallway, and a complementary or matching rug at bottom of stairs and that wider hallway-- will totally negate any stain mis-match.
0 Likes   November 8, 2013 at 3:28PM
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Michael Jardine
Paint the risers red.
0 Likes   November 8, 2013 at 3:43PM
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PRO
DESIGNSTUDIO Los Angeles
Paint the risers either a solid color or apply a painted design as suggested by some above. I am assuming the top floor is the same stain tone as the bottom floor? If so I would re-stain to keep the tread the same tone to tie the two levels together. You have a beautiful home, I love the curve of the stairs, and I think doing something interesting on them will give a nice balance with the paintings on the wall. Good Luck!
1 Like   November 8, 2013 at 3:54PM
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chookchook2
Paint over the stain with a matt varnish tinted with a medium stain to match your floor. Take home a small tin first and try in an inconspicuous spot. Or try a natural refinisher product, looks like stain job was never finished properly. Carpet runner would make life quieter.
0 Likes   November 8, 2013 at 4:04PM
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annafrazer
Paint them the same red as in the picture and then lacquer them;)
0 Likes   November 8, 2013 at 4:14PM
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PRO
Branca's Interiors
Apply high shine polishing wood floor lacquer on the staircase and hallways. In addition consider putting LED lighting for a complete change of atmosphere. Beautiful home by the way, tons of options would work there http://www.brancasinteriors.com/
0 Likes   November 8, 2013 at 7:43PM
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diyher
you're kidding annafrazer about the red aren't you lol. that would be terrible.
0 Likes   November 9, 2013 at 3:57AM
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fos5
bellesum. Like yours the best, so sophisticated and finished with the white risers and wainsscoting. A mix of traditional and contemporary with spindles. Some suggestions would make the stairs so slippery would be dangerous.Contemporary art work would keep it leaning towards the owners preferance. Really makes a WOW statement.
1 Like   November 9, 2013 at 5:00AM
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PRO
Amherst Painting Company, LLC
Paint the risers - leave the treads
0 Likes   November 9, 2013 at 9:39AM
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fos5
YES. What I said yesterday @ 8:53.
0 Likes   November 9, 2013 at 9:54AM
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