Good Questions: How Should I Finish My Stairs?

(Note: Include a pic of your problem and your question gets posted first.)
(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

Hello AT,

I’m a recent home owner and have decided to redo the staircase that the previous owner left me. He covered the treads and risers in linoleum and built a mini wall as a railing.

We tore down the wall, decided to open up the space underneath the stairs to open the room up a bit. We are also redoing the floors on the first level and were thinking of a blonde color since the floors upstairs are that color.

Now we have to finish the stairs… here’s my question: Should we stain them or just poly them leaving the natural wood color? I like the idea of adding contrast by staining them but am having trouble deciding.

Thanks! Eve

Dear Eve, Since this is a pure style question we’re going to tell you what we would do. We’d go for color, contrast and some FUN.

The natural color is nice in a Vermont country way, but since we’re moving into a period of high color and fabulousness, we say go for it. We would do a dark color/stain on the stairs and also consider stain/paint on the rails and spindles.

Despite the fact that your floors upstairs are light, we would go for it and even consider following with your upstairs floors later in time.

We have linked to some pics that we like to give you an idea: