3 Easy Ways to Update Your Staircase



Although staircases are one of those highly-functional features in a home, it’s rare that homeowners give them the consideration they deserve. Instead, we frantically scamper up and down, multiple times a day without giving any thought to how our poor, heavily-worn stairs are sitting there completely lifeless! Updating your staircase might sound like a costly and timely affair that involves architects and engineers to create a perfect set of floating stairs but in actual fact, even the most traditional and mundane staircase can be brought to life with a few simple tweaks. Here’s what we suggest…

A Lick of Paint

Paint is almost always part of the discussion when we are chatting with new clients but, for the most part, these discussions revolve around paint for walls and cabinetry. Although it isn’t as common to paint stairs, it’s an option that is well worth considering! Taking a simple wooden staircase, for example, and adding a few coats of paint can completely transform not only the stairs themselves but the space around it too. The best thing about painting a staircase? There are so many options, depending on how far you wish to take it to achieve the desired look. For example, you may just want to paint the treads. Alternatively, you could paint only the risers or the stringers. Maybe you leave those alone and just paint parts of the railing? There are many ways to go about it  but for best results, we recommend chatting with a professional. Your staircase is a central part of your home that sees a lot of foot traffic so this is not an area for DIY!

Stairway by Studio Niels. Photo courtesy of Elle Decor.

Change the Finish

If your stairs are wooden and paint isn’t the right look, then changing the finish might be an option for you. If you’re concerned about maintenance and the amount of traffic your stairs see (consider dogs, kids, number of people in the household etc.), a water-based polyurethane finish might be the best bet. For a more affordable and traditional look, oil-based polyurethane finishes are an option too. Whichever you choose, both forms of polyurethane come in a wide range of shades and tones to create completely different looks. Alternatively, there are oil finishes you can go with for a more “Euro” or “Scandinavian” look. This will create a more natural aesthetic that really allows the beauty of the grain in the wood itself to shine through.

Add A Runner 

Selecting runners for staircases is among one of our favourite ways to update a home.  Geometric patterns, animal prints, abstracts, solids, you name it! We’ve done it all. Runners tend to create a warm welcome and can also add quite an impact upon entry, if the stairs are visible from the front door. When it comes to selecting the right carpeting for a runner, durability is top of mind so we will often opt for a high-quality 80% wool and 20% nylon blend to stand up to traffic and stains. In terms of colour, again it’s important to consider how your stairs are used and by whom. Though dark shades tend to be more forgiving, we will often select a bold pattern instead for the same reason but also due to the fact that a staircase is somewhere you can get away with such a pattern that might be too overwhelming in other parts of your home. In our clients’ home featured above, we opted for a fun but also neutral animal-print runner to add a touch of luxurious whimsy. Having trouble deciding? The best method is to bring some samples home and live with them for a few weeks. You might be surprised with what you reject and what you swoon over!