If your home has a set of stairs, it's time to take it to the next level. Particularly in a small space, where every square inch counts, it’s important to consider this often-overlooked spot. The plus side of transforming a feature with little surface area: It doesn't require a ton of paint or paper, making these big-impact ideas remarkably budget-friendly.
Throw Some Shades (above)
Ombre looks fresh when it’s in an of-the-moment palette of peachy pinks, as shown in the image above from Marie Claire Maison. If you want a challenge, try mixing each shade yourself, but if you’d like a quicker DIY, simply buy sample pots of paint in variations on a hue. Finally, a project that lets you pick all the paint chips!
Add a Touch of Tile
Decorating an entire room with hand-painted Moroccan tile may have to wait until after you win the lotto, but lining just a few steps is an affordable way to introduce this luxe material. Look for a pattern you like at Mosaic House.
Stick to Stencils
To get the look of Moroccan tile on a larger scale, you'll need stencils, floor paint, and a good stippling brush. We're big fans of these designs created by Melanie Royals for the Peacock Pavilions in Marrakech.
Play with Patterns
Wallpaper in a mix of motifs and coordinating colors punches up plain wood steps. If you commit to a single design, one roll of this 27- or 33-feet-long wallpaper from Anthropologie is enough to cover most staircases.
Give them a Spot Treatment
Attention all renters: This one’s for you! Emma Chapman of A Beautiful Mess lined her stairs with dotted removable wallpaper that can be peeled away when she's ready to move.
Watch Your Step
In condos and apartments, a couple of steps are sometimes used as a transition between living areas—and because they’re much less noticeable than an entire flight, they’re the ones most likely to trip you up. I love the idea of lighting the way with a pop of eye-catching neon paint.
Go Bold with Black & White
Coat the entire stair—riser, tread, railing, and all—in rich black paint for an effect that's anything but neutral.
Color Outside the Lines
When painting the stair risers, why stop at the wall? Let the color spread several inches above each tread.
Show Your Stripes
While this move takes a bit of moxie, a striped runner looks striking, rather than over-the-top, when balanced by an otherwise all-white interior. Use tape to mark a track before painting.
An adorable idea for homes with young kids: Label each riser with a vinyl number decal so little ones can count their steps to the top. Get them straight from the source at Brume, available in six different languages, or order stick-on digits from VinylConcepts on Etsy.