Good Questions: What to do with my Dark Stairwell?

(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

Hi AT,

Speaking of color… I’m lost on what to do with these stairs. They are narrow and darkish. They had glue on them and I thought I could just paint over the glue and deal with it five years from now, but the paint didn’t stay. But no matter because I was painting them that yellowish color on the bottom stair and it was turning out to be too greenish (which isn’t showing in the photograph).

Now I’ve got them stripped. Somewhat. Can’t decide whether to paint them or sand them down and stain them.

Any ideas about color? Stain? What to do? -KT

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Hi KT,

If they’re not fully stripped the paint will never create a very lasting finish, so you may want to just keep the risers white and cover the treads with carpet tiles. In a recent thread on Liza Phillips’ ALTO Stair Treads several readers suggested using Flor tiles (cut to the size of your stairs treads), which come in a wide variety of styles and colors.

For stairs that get a lot of use, we’d suggest the tough Housepet, which is one of the least expensive varieties of Flor. Housepet comes in some happy, complementary colors that will bounce off white risers and brighten up your stairwell, like Tabby Cat, Parakeet, and Grasshopper.

Anyone else?