Paint treads/spindles white?

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, posts and railings as is. Keep the brown walls.


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I think you mean the risers, and leave the treads stained? Yes I would do it - having white risers and spindles will reduce the overpowering orange tones of the stained wood.

    Bookmark   October 8, 2012 at 12:54PM
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I would paint the risers white instead of the treads.

    Bookmark   October 8, 2012 at 1:01PM
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I like the look of white risers and spindles mixed with wooden treads and railings, but some people complain that it is hard to keep white risers clean as people tend to mark them with their shoes.

    Bookmark   October 8, 2012 at 1:02PM
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I think you mean the risers? The treads are the part you step on...

And, yes, paint the spindles and treads white. And paint the trim board that connects with your baseboard along the wall white, too. It will make a lot of difference.

If you don't like the wood color, you might also paint your newel post and handrails in a rich, dark color - deep navy, chocolate brown, or black. Alternatively, you could paint the newel post white, too, and just the top cap the dark color.

My rule of thumb for staircases is, keep the things that are in the same plane the same color. So the treads would match the floor, since they are a continuation of the floor, and the spindles and risers would match your trim, which is vertical, and the handrails and newel post, which are traditionally dark stained wood, in a nice dark color, which gives crispness to the whole business.

Look at this collection of traditional staircases on Houzz to see what I mean.

Here is a link that might be useful: Staircase paint choices

    Bookmark   October 8, 2012 at 1:06PM
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A vote to paint the whole staircase in white -- except -- paint the wall handrail in the same color as the walls to make it disappear.

    Bookmark   October 8, 2012 at 1:14PM
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It's the risers that I meant. Sorry!

Risers, spindles and trimboard - white.

The posts are an issue - here is a photo from Houzz of the look.... my floors are a bit more orange/red

I'm leaning toward leaving the posts stained.

I'm drawn to this look - but I also think it's because of the brightness of the space. Which is my other dilemma with the wall color.

    Bookmark   October 8, 2012 at 3:20PM
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Originally all of our balusters, posts, base plate and bannister were natural. It seemed like a barrier. After painting the balusters and base plate white we have appreciated the look in the linked photo.
Our treads are not the quality wood suited to staining so carpeting is the practical option. For yours, a carpet runner might look nice. Quieter and better foot traction. Just a thought.

Here is a link that might be useful: stairway

    Bookmark   October 8, 2012 at 5:47PM
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I think you will be very happy with painted risers, stringers and spindles. I love the picture with the newel post also painted and just the newel cap stained.
It will really brighten the space, and the stairway will be better integrated into the painted wainscoting in your hall.

    Bookmark   October 8, 2012 at 6:08PM
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I did painted risers and stained treads on our stairs - my decorating dilemma was that I used vinyl plank floating flooring. I contemplated the work required to cut and glue the floating plank onto stairs, and the cost of all the nose trim and difficulty of matching it etc. I really did not want carpet, because stairs are already a place where pet hair and dust accumulate at least with wood you can easily sweep/vacuum with a hand vac.

So I covered the plywood carpet-grade stairs with wood treads, and I think this look helps it blend with the flooring which I did not attempt to match (I felt that I'd rather have a contrast than have a not-quite-matching look).

We have a closed staircase so not quite the same - but the risers are painted the same color as the walls. You coudl try that, too!

    Bookmark   October 8, 2012 at 6:13PM
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Tinan -
Your stairs came out quite nice! I think it works well with your flooring.

fnmroberts -
Your stairway looks great.

thanks for all the suggestions and support. We will definitely make the change. I'll post when it's complete.

    Bookmark   October 8, 2012 at 8:28PM
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Sorry for the double post, an enormous ad for the MD TV show came and blocked the page, so I could only submit by hitting "return"... and somehow it resulted in a double post. the ads on this forum seem to be very broken!

    Bookmark   October 8, 2012 at 8:37PM
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Definitely agree with everyone about painting the risers and spindles white.

If you have the budget (and if your local building code doesn't require the second railing on the wall), it would be nice to continue the wainscoting up the stairs. The white wainscoting would balance the white spindles and tie the stairway and the hallway together. It would also lighten the area by increasing the amount of white and reducing the amount of wall color.

    Bookmark   October 9, 2012 at 8:48AM
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i think if i were painting so much white, i would also paint the post white.
i agree with painting the rail on the wall the wall color---or remove it completely unless there is someone in the home who really needs a double rail.

    Bookmark   October 9, 2012 at 8:59AM
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Another "after"

    Bookmark   November 14, 2012 at 2:36PM
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Wow, it really looks lovely. I am so glad you didn't paint the railings or the post. It is such a classic look now. Great job.

    Bookmark   November 14, 2012 at 4:15PM
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Lovely! Really lovely.

We did something similar with a new set of stairs; the only differences are that we painted the post white (except for the top piece and some bits of trim on it - those were stained) - and used a dark stain on the treads and handrail (very much like tinan's).

If you're still unhappy with the floor color, a runner in the hall and/or on the stairs will help further. And/or art: the more other colors you add, the less obvious will be the floor color.

    Bookmark   November 14, 2012 at 5:23PM
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