Before and After: A $75 Makeover Takes This Staircase from Sad to Show-Stopping

published Aug 4, 2020
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About this before & after
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Before: Dim brown-carpeted stairs

When your stairs face the entrance to your home, it’s especially important that they make a great first impression. And Amanda Walker of @dwellaware knew that her stairs were not up to snuff. “They make such a significant impact on the overall feel and mood of our home!” says Amanda. “But there were all kind of issues, aesthetically and in terms of cleanliness.” In her 1980s home, it looked like the stairs were modified about 20 years ago when the then-owners changed out the flooring. What Amanda believes were originally floating stairs became fully carpeted stairs backed with laminate.

“It was such a downer in the whole vibe of our home as you walked in and saw these stairs!” says Amanda. The old carpet didn’t just look dated; it also had a color that always looked dingy. “About nine months after buying our home, I decided it was time for a major change,” Amanda says. “I started to research how much it cost to have them done professionally and the prices were far out of our budget.” So, she did her research by reading blog after blog and decided to DIY it 100% of the way.

It took Amanda five days to take the project from start to finish. First, she tore out the old carpet and risers, staining the wood treads beneath to give them a warm, natural look. For safety, Amanda had a clever solution: She added curtain rod brackets and conduit pipes between each tread.

To help those new wood risers pop, Amanda painted the rest of the stairs white, and the railing stark black. All in, she spent just $75 on supplies and materials—but created a look that’s completely refreshed and modern. “It changed the entire mood and feel of our home!” Amanda says. “The cost was so little for the overall impact on our home.”

“When friends come over for the first time, they walk in our home and say, whoa, those stairs are amazing!” says Amanda. That said, she has a word of advice: “If you are going to take on a stair renovation, be ready for a lot of intense labor!”

Inspired? Submit your own project here.