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Is this chair rail tacky?

Christine R
November 22, 2013
I can't figure out what bothers me about this entryway/stairs. I am not a huge fan of the colors or the light oak wood. Would it look silly to have the same color of paint above and below the chair rail?

Is there anything jumping out at you on this that you find tacky or could be updated?

Comments (47)

  • PRO
    Sustainable Dwellings
    I would remove the carpet on the stairs... add some art on walls coming down the stairs.
    Christine R thanked Sustainable Dwellings
  • dclostboy
    The green and beige are a bit jarring...and dislike the quotes on the wall (but that's just me). There's no problem having same color above and below, but will lose some of the drama. Really depends on how dramatic you want to be.
    Christine R thanked dclostboy
  • dclostboy
    A nice navy would look really tailored and unexpected.
    Christine R thanked dclostboy
  • novicenoodler
    You might paint the newel posts to match the trim as well. Personally I would either paint the lower half of the walls the same as the trim (semi-gloss white, or whatever it is) or the same color as the upper part of the wall. Agree with Sustainable, carpet should probably go as well.
    Christine R thanked novicenoodler
  • happyasaclam
    I would definitely loose the carpet. The green is quite a contrast. Re-evaluate your paint colors once you get your window coverings, rugs and furniture in. If you don't like the light oak, redo it! Ideally it would be best to do all of this before you are completely moved in. Just like the light oak, if you really don't like the paint, re-do it. Don't settle for colors you don't want to live with!
    Christine R thanked happyasaclam
  • Nancy Travisinteriors
    Do 3 shades lighter than bottom to top of all walls. No writing on walls dated. Chair rail should be 36" to top yrs looks to short. That may be problem with stair case. I would remove it from stair case just paint one color.
    Christine R thanked Nancy Travisinteriors
  • Christine R
    Do you guys think it's important for the wood on the staircase to match the floor? Floor is not real hardwood so it cannot be stained. I'm open to staining the wood on the stairs (and possibly swapping out wood for iron balusters) unless 2 different wood tones would look ridiculous.
  • qoais
    I suppose the modern trend is to paint the walls the same color, above and below. Lately I've taken to admiring the railings painted black, it goes with everything. Oak is so overdone in my opinion - but that's just my opinion.
    Christine R thanked qoais
  • qoais
    Just another thought. Perhaps you could install a larger newel post.
    Christine R thanked qoais
  • qoais
    Another picture of the black and white theme. Looks very sharp and crisp and "with it".
    Christine R thanked qoais
  • dclostboy
    Lots of different woods and wood tones in my house...do not have to try and match. If the oak is bothering you, paint or switch out.
    Christine R thanked dclostboy
  • Christine R
    I do like the larger newel post. Light oak is my nemesis!
  • aprstyle
    I think what you dislike is the chair rail and lower wall color draw your eye directly to this feature. It looks like a giant racing stripe . Paint out the wall, the chair rail, and the area below the chair rail the same color. It is a much more up to date look and yet still classic. Make the banister the showstopper! Love the idea of painting out the posts white or black and the handrail black or charcoal as shown above.
    Christine R thanked aprstyle
  • aprstyle
    Light oak is my nemesis too LOL.
    Christine R thanked aprstyle
  • PRO
    Michael Lee, Inc
    I think the wall color of the wainscoting is what bothers me. How about if you take a darker tone of the wall color and paint the wainscoting and chair rail the same color. leave the rest of the staircase alone. Just a thought
    Christine R thanked Michael Lee, Inc
  • novicenoodler
    Wow, dclostboy, that's your house? Beautiful! Love your paneling.
  • armygirl1987
    I would loose the carpet and still not sure about the paint colors.
    Christine R thanked armygirl1987
  • PRO
    Tropicality Decor
    With the strong color contrast, stairway and mix of white with oak, there is too much going on, which takes away from the beauty of the staircase. I would definitely remove the chair rail that goes up the staircase and paint that wall a solid. You have the white on the lower portion of the wall in the room in the distance (dining room?). You could follow suit in the foyer or choose two colors with less contrast. I prefer the darker color on the lower portion to give more visual stability.
  • 0825sam
    Like suggested above if you don't like the light oak and removing the carpet will give you different woods, the black and white painted staircase is a nice idea. That is what we did in our home although we did white newel posts.
  • qoais
    Are you interested in something dramatic with a wide stripe in pale tones?
  • PRO
    Inspired Closets of Andover
    What if you did a peanut butter instead of the beige and green? Benjamin Moore Peanut Butter- It makes every room so "homey." I don't think it would be silly to use the same color above and below. But, I also don't like the green at all. Maybe a maroon would work if you want two color tones.
  • PRO
    Nau Builders, Inc. (Design Division)
    Having the posts and rails different colors (wood and white) on the stairs really breaks up the flow of the stairs. Stairs are a great way to lead the eye up and makes the space appear larger, but because of the contrasting colors, it forces your eye to stop which makes the room seem broken up, not cohesive. If you wanted to keep a two toned staircase, make all the vertical pieces the same color and just paint the rail and the very first posts. I guarentee just this small change will make a pretty big difference. And then you can move on to removing the chair rail and painting the walls.
    Christine R thanked Nau Builders, Inc. (Design Division)
  • calmsea
    Too much contrast. There are a lot of angles to the trim making it jerky for the eye path. I would, as suggested, paint the Newell posts charcoal as well as the lower part below the rail.

    I would take out the chair rail on the right hand side of the downward side of the stair case. I would then put a graspable hand rail on the downward side which is smoother flowing. Probably metal and stylish.

    It must co-ordinate with the entire staircase. The carpeting must be changed out.
  • PRO
    John J. O'Brien | Inspired Living, by design
    My suggestion would be to use a stair runner rather than w2w stair carpet, matching the stair treads and risers to the trim--so either it is all white or all wood in what ever stain pleases you. I'm also tired of oak, but to keep costs manageable, that is a likely good fit from what the photo shows. Your stair balusters should be the same finish as the stair and trim, with the handrail a darker stain, perhaps, or introduce a colours stain that hints at other colours in your design. If sticking with green, you might pull that very subtly into the rail. With a shift from white to stair matching trim, your colour contrast is less and I think the green is not, in that scenario, a problem. If you are a fan of stneciled or scripted words, I recommend placing them over the door to the back area. The area now used for that purpose is one of your better options for art, a mirror, etc. Good luck!
  • indianpatti
    Love Qaols idea ... paint the handrails black.

    I would also paint the green, white.

    The yellow color doesn't pair well with the oak floors ... that might be something else you are not liking about this space.
    Christine R thanked indianpatti
  • Jan W.
    I think the problem you're having with the area is the multi-color paint scheme. Before I'd do anything else, I'd paint the area under the chair rail white to match the trim, and then reevaluate from there in terms of painting the newel posts, etc. I can see a peek of a similar treatment (white wainscoting) in the adjoining room, and it's really attractive. White wainscoting is a classic, timeless look, and I personally think it would be very pretty in your home on the stairs. If you like it once the green area is painted white, you could always add white painted trim molding (cut and shaped into squares or rectangles) to the wall below the chair rail to give it the look of painted formal paneling. Good luck! You have a very pretty house.
  • Jan W.
    I think the lighting in the picture makes it hard to tell if the beige or tan walls clash with the oak floors--my guess is that they probably don't clash. Once the area below the chair rail is painted white, I think there will be enough of a broad, white painted divide between the upper walls and the floor that it wouldn't be noticeable. If you don't like the color on the upper part of the walls, it's easy enough to find a color that works with the floors. Paint is easy and cheap.
  • PRO
    Tropicality Decor
    An example ...
  • cmarquardt1
    Also, you could remove the chair rail as it doesn't real tie anything together...I had it removed in my dining room and it was easy and looks amazing. Also, I would remove the carpeting from the stairs.
  • Darzy
    Agree will everyone about too much contrast. For a quick fix, just paint the bottom white (like in the adjoining room we can barely see on the left corner).
  • sbrustein
    I think there indefinitely too much contrast between the odors above and below the chair rail. They also aren't in the same family of tones which I find jarring. If you want to keep the colors, I would removed the carpet from the stairs, see what the wooden trades look like and if not nice then paint them a dark green and I would paint the oak bannister the same dark green. If you want to change colors entirely, just paint the bannister black as has been suggested by many.
  • sbrustein
    Sorry that should be colors, not odors
  • PRO
    Paris Flea
    Remove the chair railing - it makes the stair case choppy - paint the trim on the banister White and while your at it): lose the two tone walls - go with the green or the beige, just pick one.
  • Judiwithani
    Very busy with different paint colors, trim fluting, angled molding, etc. would start with removing carpet and and stair stains to match floor. Like the paint colors.
  • kmaggie
    I just painted the upper and lower color blue(any color you choose) in my kitchen/eat in area. The two tone look is dated
  • oakleyspanky
    I would paint the green and the wall rail the same color as the hall and the rest of the wall, paint the railings black, and paint over the writing...I love to "Live, laugh love" but hate been told what to do! ( maybe a personality flaw?)
  • countbla
    Before the actual colours, what hits me from what I see in the picture is a bit of a "confused personality" - handrail and corner blocks on door casings has a "colonial casual" feel, wall-to-wall broadloom stairs is standard suburbia 80s-90s, the green/tan combo feels country, I see some huge classic columns in the other room, with some white panel mouldings below the chair rail in that room etc...

    As a quick fix, paint the green in the stairs/foyer same white-ish as the mouldings (similar treatment to what's in the room beyond, a dining room maybe?). Then maybe replicate the panel mouldings, in stairs and other foyer walls? As suggested, remove carpet on stairs and do a runner with painted treads if you can't redo in wood to match the rest of the flooring for now.
  • johsmi
    I am liking the darker wood color or black on the railings as shown in the pictures others have sent. That light oak is taking away from what could be a striking stairs. It looks sort of country. Like someone else suggested, I would paint the lover half of the wall white. Gosh we all have such different tastes.
  • armygirl1987
    Love the pic posted by tropici decor.
  • bluenan
    You may find that if you remove the carpet the stairs will not be finish grade and are not intended to be uncovered. Often a fully carpeted stair like yours is plywood, not a nice wood, the builder wouldn't have spent the money for a finished hardwood to then cover every inch of it.
    Christine R thanked bluenan
  • Elizabeth Reilly
    I would switch out the green paint with white wainscoting (or shadow boxing which is much less expensive). I'd take out the rug on the stairs for sure. Also am not a fan of the words on the wall.
  • Christine R
    yes Bluenan I agree, I don't think the stairs are "finished" under the carpet and I will have to research what would be necessary to create that look.
  • maggiemaxwell
    It looks unfinished. The trim is there, but where's the wainscoting? A plain wall would look better. Agree to either remove all the carpeting or carpet only the center with some wood showing on the treads. Would stain the oak darker. Too many textures and colors competing here.
  • halfpint2
    I would remove the carpet from the stairs and paint the post that were left a natural color the same color, or perhaps the green that is on the walls.
  • trooper1dog
    Many good ideas here. I agree with travisinteriors that in addition to being "too busy", it is the "scale" that "bothers" the eye. It is too low and skimpy. You could try painting the lower wall white to match the trim, paint the banisters dark, and pull up the carpet. Then step back, and take a second look. Maybe you will want to paint the stair risers white and then put a runner up the stairs (Dash & Albert are good and reasonable) if you need to hide mismatched wood. The more costly would be to beef up the lower section of wainscoting with bead-board or trim and raise it to the standard 36 inches.
  • PRO
    Hi Christine, I hope you're still checking on this thread. I think you could make a quick visual improvement just by changing the green on the stairs and the wall under the stairs. You could go white to match the chair rail/baseboard, or (my suggestion) a darker yellow/tan than what's on the walls, your choice about whether to leave the chair rail white or not. If you take out the visual effect of watching that green zig-zag its way up the stairs, you'll have a nicer-looking stairwell while you figure out what to do about the carpet and the rest of the colors. It's a job you could do in an afternoon and it would make a big immediate difference.
    Christine R thanked Sightlines
  • PRO
    NK Woodworking
    To go back to the big question:

    Yes. :) they are currently very tacky/ugly.

    Could be wayyyyy better. Painting would help a lot.

    Overall stair layout could be greatly improved.

    New balustrade would make a huge difference as well.

    Carpet is also way ugly - wood is much better.

    Floor tones don't need to match as long as you want people to notice the stairs. If the stairs are great, then make them contrast and show it!

    Same with rails, if you don't want people to see it. Make them blend. If it is a focal point, give it a highlight so it is noticed.

    Attached are some stairs we have recently designed and made. Good luck on your refresh!
    Christine R thanked NK Woodworking

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