Pieced Pastimes: DIY Painted Stair Runner

Sunday, January 11, 2015

DIY Painted Stair Runner

I think we all have one (or perhaps two) of those projects that quietly sit back and wait their turn to be realized. This project was one of those and was a long time coming.

Our once carpeted stairs were in need of a complete rehab. The rug had been ripped out with the intention of replacing it with hardwood, but procrastination moved in and the stairs sat naked and unfinished for the next two years. Sorry, no before pictures but suffice to say that the old stairs took a beating and had to go. 

Finally, the day had come for the long awaited project to become a reality. After the demolition and removal of the 'junk' stairs, my oh-so-clever husband rebuilt them with new treads and risers.  From that point on, paint was the name of the game.

Two coats of white paint really shook up the once dark stairwell. I had been craving more light and a brighter space for this area and the white paint certainly achieved that, but in my mind something was not quite right.

The newly painted 'stairway to heaven' was a huge improvement over the neglected eyesore that once stood in its place, but the blank white canvas felt a bit overwhelming. After some contemplation, I decided that a stair runner was the missing link.

Being that we have 3 little fur balls, I shy away from carpeting.  I had to come up with a Plan B. This is where that little 5 letter word  P-A-I-N-T once again came to the rescue.

I carefully measured and taped painters tape down the stairs. The completed taped lines were a little different than what is shown, as I changed them to achieve a wider stripe. The outer gray stripe ended up being 2" wide and the inner white stripe is 1 1/2" wide.

After firmly pressing down the tape, I painted along the edges with white paint and allowed that to dry to form a seal. I then painted 2 coats of the runner color within the taped lines.

Despite my best efforts, a few spots had bled under the tape. I assume I had not pressed the tape well enough in those areas and that may have caused the problem.

A quiet afternoon with an artists brush cleaned up the lines nicely. I then coated the stairs with 3 coats of clear poly.

The stairs turned out just as I hoped they would. The runner calmed the stark white and gave the updated staircase a more refined look.

The paints used were:
- Stair Base is Valspar Reserve in White, Satin - 2 coats
- Runner is Benjamin Moore Classic in Bear Creek, Flat - 2 coats
- Protective Finish is Minwax Polycrylic in Clear,  Satin - 3 coats

For this project, procrastination worked in our favor. If the stairs had been replaced 2 years ago, we would have chosen stained hardwood. The passage of time allowed us to go in a different direction and opt for a lighter painted version that I couldn't be happier with.

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  1. This is so gorgeous! I'd love to have a staircase to try this out on one day:)

  2. A lot of work and a wonderful result. I am pinning.

  3. Looks fantastic! What a great transformation, Suzanne!


  4. This is awesome. It's so precise. Thanks for sharing this post with us at Funtastic Friday.

  5. Oh your stairs turned out looking gorgeous! You did such a great job!

  6. Great idea! This has given me inspiration to paint my steps.

  7. Your stairs look great Suzanne! I may have to try this on my basement stairs. Pinning! -Kristi

  8. Hello cute lady! This looks so amazing. The stripe makes such a difference. Pinned and tweeted. We appreciate you taking the time to stop by and party with us. It wouldn't be a party without you! I hope to see you tonight at 7 pm. Lou Lou Girls

  9. What a great idea without the cost of hardwood. Love it!

  10. Suzanne! What a beautiful job you did painting your stairs. Catching you this week!


  11. Was the wood on the staircase originally plywood?

    1. Hi Chrystal - The original stairs were made of plywood, but we removed them and my husband rebuilt the stairs with new treads and risers.

  12. How long did it take for the stairs to be usable? Id love to do this with mine but our only shower is upstairs :/

    1. We stayed off the stairs for a day, but the paint didn't take very long to dry. I am thinking you could probably paint them in the morning and be able to walk on them later in the afternoon.

  13. This looks fantastic. How has it held up over time? Would you do anything differently?


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