10 Ideas for Stepping Up Your Stair Style

published May 25, 2016
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(Image credit: Marie Claire Maison)

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.

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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!

(Image credit: Jessica Pages )

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.

(Image credit: Painter Girl)

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.

(Image credit: Anthropologie)

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.

(Image credit: A Beautiful Mess)

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.

(Image credit: Little Greene)

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.

(Image credit: Fantastic Frank)

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.

(Image credit: Ishka Designs)

Color Outside the Lines

When painting the stair risers, why stop at the wall? Let the color spread several inches above each tread.

(Image credit: 1st Option)

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.

(Image credit: Brume)

Count Down

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.