Before and After: A $30 Refresh Turns a Grimy Staircase into a Work of Art

published Jun 21, 2020
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Sometimes the most inconspicuous places in your home can make for the best makeovers. While you can pretty easily paint your bathroom walls or change up the furniture arrangement in your living room, the spaces you tend to pay least attention to can serve as the perfect canvas for a cheerful refresh. In Nick Faulkner’s home, that space was the grungy carpeted staircase.

“After having two elderly dogs, and now two puppies, our carpet had seen better days,” Nick says. Its gray color was starting to show its wear and tear, and having hardwood throughout the rest of the house made the carpeted stairs stick out like a sore thumb. Fortunately, the original hardwood floors graced the steps, too, and were just hiding beneath the carpet.

This spring, Nick finally buckled down and kicked off the project, pulling up the carpet, sanding the wood down by hand, and re-staining the treads in a deep wood tone. Next, he touched up the white trim surrounding the stairs for a brighter, cleaner look.

Finally, Nick applied peel-and-stick wallpaper (purchased for $30) to the stair risers to give the stairs a bit more personality. “It’s a great inexpensive way to add character, and design, to a typically unattended to area of your home,” Nick says. Using the same wallpaper on the wall next to the stairs helps tie the whole entry together.

Aside from the wallpaper, Nick used supplies he already had at home—which meant the total spend for this project was just $30. The finished result is a reminder that wallpaper doesn’t need to confine itself to walls. The best part? The peel-and-stick paper is easy to remove if Nick gets tired of it. He encourages everyone to take the peel-and-stick plunge: “If it’s not permanent, just do it!” he says. “If you don’t like the outcome, you can always change it. Have fun with it!”

Inspired? Submit your own project here.