Real Life Rental Challenge: How One Couple Tackled a Dingy Carpeted Staircase

Real Life Rental Challenge: How One Couple Tackled a Dingy Carpeted Staircase

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Camille Simmons
Jul 31, 2016
(Image credit: Camille Simmons)

Almost a year ago, my husband and I moved back to our hometown of Long Beach, CA. We found a gorgeous two bedroom 1930s apartment in our favorite neighborhood. Our landlords updated the space with grey floors and fresh paint. It was almost perfect . . . except for the terribly outdated entryway. It's the only carpeted, unpainted space in the entire home, and the first thing you see when you arrive. I thought, "Why not do something that's special but can still be reversed when we move out?" We got approval from our landlord, and got started....

Here's the view from the top of the stairs into our apartment:

(Image credit: Camille Simmons)

Our plans for the space:

1. Ripping Up Carpet: The carpet was terribly dirty and we just couldn't stand to have it in our home anymore. Underneath the staircase are nice stairs with molding! There were a few nails to remove and carpet tacking, so it was definitely a tedious process. Plus, there were a couple minor cracks that needed wood glue for sealing. Last up we had to reinforce some of the steps.

2. Fresh Coat of Paint: The wall color was something dingy and unknown, with chips in the paint. It made the space feel so dark, despite the natural light. After painting the walls , we sanded, repaired, and repainted the staircase itself.

(Image credit: Camille Simmons)

3. Wallpaper the Stair Risers: The last step in our plan was applying gorgeous wallpaper to each riser (the vertical surface in between the steps). Since the wallpaper is only being applied to the back or risers of each step, it will avoid major wear. But the key is affixing it in a way that's easily removable. For the full tutorial:

(Image credit: Camille Simmons)

This project took a couple of weeks to accomplish, but the result is totally worth it! Finally having an entryway that suits our style - and looks clean and fresh - makes coming home at the end of the day even better.

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