Paint the stair treads? Yes or no?

Janice742October 8, 2012

Here is my dilemma.

I really don't like my floors. They are beautiful, high quality wood - I just don't like the color. However, I don't have the budget to refinish. (the entire home is hardwood @ 3000 sq ft)

My hallway is brown (in this photo it reads green, but it's BM Davenport Tan)

At first I was thinking that maybe I need to brighten up the home - lighter colors (I have earthy tones now) - change the brown to a cream.

My painter suggested painting the treads & spindles white - leaving the steps, post and railings as is. Keep the brown walls.


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My personal opinion is that it would be a shame to paint over perfectly good wood. And I would never paint stair treads WHITE. As soon as you paint a stair tread white you then need to put a carpet down on it to keep it from getting dirty and nasty. Do you mean the riser?

Anyway, why would your painter want to paint the stairs and keep a brown wall if your entire goal is to lighten things up? I would find a wonderful paint color to replace the brown and see if it makes you love the floors. I had a horrible, throw back to the 70's, floor length, blind thingy that took up our entire living room wall in a house we rented. I swore I had to replace it. We got estimates - $500, I thought about sewing something, all fabric I liked would have cost similar-- we finally picked a paint color we liked and decide to deal with the blinds later and we were shocked to find once the walls were painted the blinds actually looked good. I am so glad I didn't spend $500 on new blinds for a rental.

If you do decide you absolutely can't live with it, I would paint the risers, not the treads. I did this also in the rental as they were pine stairs and the wood was terrible and cracked. It is a nice look, but again, I wouldn't go white. I would go with a nice accent color and make it a cleanable semi gloss because it will still get kicked and hit a lot with feet, shoes, and other random stuff if you have kids.

Here is a link that might be useful: painted risers

    Bookmark   October 8, 2012 at 2:14PM
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Sorry - it's the risers I am considering.

Here is an example of the look:

Of course, these floors are dark... but the hallway and staircase is very similar to what I have.

I do love the look of the light walls - this is a very clean and pleasing look to me.

    Bookmark   October 8, 2012 at 2:44PM
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If you really love it- then why not paint the risers? It is your house. And if you are eventually ever going to have the floors refinished then they can just take the paint off then anyway, right?

I did love our risers painted. But honestly I wouldn't have done it if I had nice wood. But I am a wood lover. But I do see your point, I am not a fan of that color of wood either. I did sand and refinish the rest of the stairs in the apartment before painting the risers, and I stained them a darker finish.

I still personally don't think I would keep the brown or go white, however, I am no expert on this. I would however post in the decorating forum if I were you. Those ladies are fabulous!!!! I would be very curious as to their take on this. And you will get far more responses over there also.

    Bookmark   October 8, 2012 at 3:06PM
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Although your staircase looks well-constructed, I understand your desire to lighten things up a bit. I agree with another poster; it is your house...make it the way you want it.

    Bookmark   October 11, 2012 at 6:51PM
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I would definitely paint the risers, spindles and the post.
I think it would look great to tie it into your wainscot/paneling.

How about a pretty rug down your hallway and some pictures that are lighter and more colorful on your walls?

    Bookmark   October 11, 2012 at 8:17PM
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I love the look of white risers. We just did a basement staircase in hardwood thanks to the dog ruining the carpet. I like the break up of wood and painted wood. I think it adds character. I used BM oil based paint because shoes will mark it up a bit. So far any shoe mark has wiped right off mine.

    Bookmark   October 15, 2012 at 12:06AM
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Here is the after...
With the lighter walls and the painted railing and risers, my foyer has been transformed!

    Bookmark   November 14, 2012 at 2:33PM
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Very nice. Looks great.

    Bookmark   November 14, 2012 at 2:41PM
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