Stairway Redone!

Before I show you our revamped stairwell, let's rewind a bit, shall we?
This is what the stairway looked like when we moved in:

Dark (poorly) stained (but real!) wainscot, yellowed pineapple wallpaper, brown trampled carpet

Upstairs view

Just so you can get a glimpse of how nasty the carpet really was.  Matted, thin, and an ugh shade of brown.

It took us way too long to finally get this project done.  I never really think of the stairwell as a 'room' so I just always put it off and out of my mind.  Except, of course, every time I walked up and down those stairs and thought, "man, we really need to do this soon."  The upstairs part of the carpet was pulled up very soon after we moved in three years ago and all the upstairs floors were painted the same color.  But we left the stairs.  Until this past summer when we finally pulled it up to tackle the job.

We do feed the child, I promise.  The poor boy comes from a long line of waifs.

This is the horrid enamel paint that was underneath the carpet.  What do you even call that color??

And now...

What do you think???
I know you're surprised I picked white and neutrals for the paint ;)  It is so much lighter and brighter now and since the stairwell is enclosed and was so dark before, I think it is much improved!

The painted runner was inspired by the photo here

The words were my idea.  We have fourteen steps so I decided to list the fruits of the Spirit and leave the top and bottom either blank or add some sort of design.  I don't know.  Is it too cheesy?  I think I like it for now.  But if I decide it's bugging me, it's pretty easy to paint over.

At the very least maybe it'll help us all to learn them...

Upstairs landing

See that handrail?  I decided I didn't want just an off the home improvement store shelf boring wood rail if I could help it.  I wanted maybe something metal mimicking the old iron hooks that were left in parts of the house.  (That's weird, I know.  But I really really like those old hooks and how they go with the old wood.)  I didn't know where or how we would do that and didn't think much about it.  But then when I was going through my crazy woman house purge and was up in the loft above the garage, we found this pipe/bar/handle thing hiding sneakily against the wall!!!  I wonder if it was originally hanging here because it fit PERFECTLY.  And I was a happy camper.  I brushed on some oil-rubbed bronze spray paint to try to darken it a bit.  It looks a little blacker than I was hoping but I still like it.  And the boys have been having a ball using it as their "fireman's pole" since it has remarkable sliding capabilities.  :)

For some reason, this view makes me happy.  The "new" old pine floors contrasted with the neutral's quite fun to see it every time I now walk down the stairs.

Want to hear something else quite fun?  This whole stairwell project cost us about....$20.  Yes, ma'am.  Taking off the wallpaper and ripping out the carpet were obviously free.  I used all paint that we already had on hand from doing other rooms.  The only things I needed to buy were the alphabet stencil, the paint for the railing (which will be used again for other projects), some primer for the wainscot, and a new light switch cover.  Isn't that sweet?  I love that you can make such a difference to a room with just paint and some (or a lot of) hard work!

What projects are you working on now?  What's your favorite home project that you've completed?  


  1. Beautiful! It makes me want a house to redecorate! :)

  2. Mary, it looks sooooooooo beautiful! Really incredible. And of course, the price too ;)

    I don't even know what project to tackle next. Our fun house of scary needs so much work...

  3. Mary, the stairs turned out great! I love it!

  4. Mary! I LOVE it!!! I have been begging Michael to let us take the carpet off of our stairs, it's the only carpet we have left. You have to keep me updated on how the kids do with it. His main concern is safety. Beautiful!

    1. Thank you! So far they've been fine. Luke is still learning to do them so I keep the baby gate at the bottom when he's downstairs but when we let him practice, he seems okay. THe others are big enough that it's not an issue. They're not even that much louder than before. The floors downstairs are a bit slippery for him, though, especially when he's got his pjs on! Who takes out the carpet as their baby is learning to walk?? Cruel, cruel people.

  5. The stairwell is beautiful. It was VERY dark before. Is there much difference in sound when kids are on the stairs?
    What did you end up doing about more picture memory on your site?

    Grandma & Grumpy

  6. This is incredible!!! You guys did such an amazing job! I love it. And yeah, we have a dark upstairs hallway as well.Our pal Nicole has been telling me to paint it white for about a year now. This is great inspiration, Mary. I LOVE that the fruits of the spirit are on the stairs!! Looks really cool.I could see myself tripping on your stairs and uttering a curse word on the "self control" stair, though. You've been warned;)

  7. Oh my goodness, it looks completely amazing!!! You guys are incredible!

  8. I want a two story house just so I can copy those stairs. I love the words...and since you have extra paint you can paint new words when everyone learns the fruits if the spirit. ;-). Seriously love it....don't change a thing.

  9. So beautiful!! Love that idea...

  10. So happy to see your stairs that were inspired by our stairs. I think they are perfect. Enjoy!

  11. Can you update us on the slippery-ness of the stairs? Any incidents since 2012? I'd love to do my stairs the same way (painted) but my husband is really worried they'll be too slippery. Any confirmation that all is well would be great. They are so pretty.

    1. They haven't been too slippery at all! We used leftover latex wall paint in an eggshell finish and didn't seal them with anything so that probably helped. But as of yet, we haven't had any falls or accidents...we do keep a gate at the bottom so Luke can't get up without one of us there (he's still wobbly on stairs) but we'd do that no matter what. I believe there is something that can be added to paint to give it a little bit of grit to make it less slippery if you were nervous. I remember seeing it on a show somewhere and they used it on outside steps that could get icy. It was like a sand or something so maybe that's an option. The floors downstairs that we refinished and coated with polyurethane is the real place we've had accidents. The boys love "ice skating" on them but they can also be dangerous when they're running because those ones definitely are slippery. But the stairs haven't been a problem at all! Hope that helps!


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