I have been in my house for over 25 years and it is time for a staircase makeover to transform this into a modern space. I have a few items on my checklist to do complete this project. Come follow along and check it out!
Table of Contents
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Painting staircase walls
First thing that I decided to do is paint the stairwell. Wall preparation is always the most important. Spackling cracks, removing any switch plates. Covering wood banisters. Because the old carpet will be removed, I am leaving it in place as the “dropcloth, since I won’t care if paint gets on this.
Molding around door at top and sides of stairs will be painted later on. Since I will need to get in close to the sides of the stairs this will be done once the carpet is removed.
Painting is one of the quickest, easiest and least expensive way to a space makeover. In this case it will be one part of the transformation.
Materials and supplies for staircase makeover
Below are all the materials and supplies I used for this makeover. Take a look below for what I used and where to get the same or similar materials.
- Benjamin Moore paint- Swiss coffee
- Bin Primer
- Lighting- glass orb with retro bulb
- Mouse- sander
- Paint scraper
- Semigloss white paint
- Peel and stick wallpaper
- Table saw
- Sponge brushes
- Purdy brushes
- Retrofit wood steps
- Loctite PL Premium Max Construction Adhesive
- Porter cable nail gun
- Large Brown Kraft Paper Roll
- White Alex Plus Acrylic Latex Caulk with Silicone
- Rubber Mallet
This is my go to power tool! I used it to refinish wood furniture and comes in handy as I do my staircase makeover. The pointed nose helps to get into corners and has a filter that catches some (not all!) of the dust.
I love my purdy brushes! Yes they are more expensive than other brushes, however if you clean and hang to dry these brushes will last you a long time. The angled head helps to make clean painters cuts for corners and next to moldings.
This is a similar light fixture that I installed in my hallway. This retro glass fixture was the perfect size for the top of my stairs. I installed a retro”edison Bulb” to carry this feeling throughout. Just the right touch for the top of my new staircase!
Staircase color scheme
Before I get started I went on pinterest to check out other staircase makeovers. This is a great resource in finding great ideas. First I decided to paint the walls in my staircase the same color I have on my entire first floor. This is Swiss Coffee by Benjamin Moore, it is a creamy white that will keep this enclosed stairwell nice and bright.
The one light source in my stairwell is an old chandelier at the top of the stairs. I am going to replace this with an updated glass shade to modernize the lighting. Also I am going to replace the switch covers to new plates in a lighter color to match the walls better.
Removing old carpet from stairs
Now that I have the walls painted, it’s time to remove the old carpeting. I wore gloves and goggles for safety in case there are any staples or nails when pulling the carpet up. Once this has been removed, It gets rolled out, secured and put out curbside for pick up. Now it’s time to tackle the linoleum that are on the stairs!
Removing Linoleum tile from staircase
Now that the carpet was removed, I am left with linoleum covered stairs! This is a very 1950’s look which makes sense since my house was built in the 1950’s. Again, wearing gloves, safety goggles and using a crowbar I lift all the linoleum off the stairs.
My husband Brian and I tackled this project. Once this was all removed we then took the metal guards off the edge of the treads.
Since this was a huge task, we decided to leave the linoleum on the stair risers and I will be using peel and stick wallpaper to cover this for an updated, fresh look. Once we removed the linoleum, we covered the tacky tar covered stairs with 36″ long construction paper on a roll and painters tape, so as not to track this crumbly mess all over the house.
How to refinish stairs
My first plan after removing the linoleum was to use a heat gun and tackle the tar paper and glue that was slathered on generously to hold down the linoleum tiles. But after seeing that these beautiful wood stairs were beyond glue stripping I went to plan B.
Since removing all of this would not guarantee a consistent look on my wood stairs I decided to purchase retrofit stair treads. I bought mine at Lowes. Above are similar retrofit stair treads that you can buy on Amazon.
The shortest I was able to find were 35″. My stairs length measures 34 3/4″ (on most!)which was the smallest length I could find so I will have to cut these down to fit.
Installing stairs on staircase makeover
My Neighbor has a table saw and we measured each stair to ensure the best fit. We placed each step over the old one and using a wood glue generously beaded the old step and placed the new one on top. Then we slipped the stair into place, used a rubber mallet for any tight spaces, Then using a nail gun reinforced each step with 4-6 nails per step.
Since this is an old house not all the corners were a 90 degree angle so after we cut and installed I finished them off with 2 coats of acrylic/silicone caulk on both sides. I used blue painters tape beaded the caulk smoothed out, removed the blue tape for a lean finish. I repeated this process a second time as the forst coat of caulk fell in between the step and the wall.
Sealing new wood stairs
Before installing I finished all the stairs with a polyurethane finish in satin. I let the first coat dry, then brushed on a second coat. This way once I cut the stairs they were already sealed and ready to be installed!
I chose this for the durability and protection specifically formulated for hardwood floors (my stairs!). The oil-based clear top coat protects and adds a satin sheen. This protective coating does not require sanding between coats, and has an optimized drying technology that results in faster recoat time. I used sponge brushes for an even coat and easy cleanup.
Using peel and stick wallpaper on Stair risers
Now that the stairs have been refinished I am ready to go onto the risers. These are the vertical areas between the stairs. First thing to do is to fully clean the old linoleum and strip any old wax. I painted these with two coats of Zinsser Bin Primer, then one coat of semi gloss white trim paint so that I had an even white surface. Once this is done I am ready to apply the peel and stick wallpaper.
This is what I used on my specific project. I bought peel and stick wallpaper that was designed and made specifically for stair risers, however you can use any peel and stick wallpaper you like but you will have to consider these points below if you do. Since ths product was precut for standard risers All I had to do at the end was trim the length once I adhered them to my risers:
- Match pattern by penciling middle of each step & riser to match all the lines
- Once smoothed on using a peel and stick smoother, use the edge ond this and an blade and trim both side edges.
Three other options for your risers:
- Finish the wood risers and seal- You can also stain this portion a darker color to add some dimension
- Paint the risers either in a white or a pop color and leave solid or add a stencil.
- Use peel and stick wallpaper for a fun pattern on the risers. Check out this post here for using peel and stick wallpaper on your staircase or other design projects. 9 Peel And Stick Wallpaper Ideas.
Download my free stencils if you are up for a bigger challenge and own a Cricut or Silhouette machine to make your own stencils.
I have two running up each side of the staircase wall. These are a natural wood, since I am replacing with my retrofit treads, I have decided to leave the baister alone. To break up all the brown wood I sanded and painted with trim white the 2 bases holding my railings. However, you can paint, stain, or refinish your banister, just depends on your project and the look you are going for.
Final staircase makeover results
There you have it! Took a few weeks, and some hard work, but love the finished results of my staircase makeover.
If you found this post useful, then check out some additional posts below that you may find interesting! Or go to Double Arrow Designs main page and explore all of the projects that I have created in the last few years.
Thanks for stopping by!
This post is all about staircase makeovers