Before and After: $500 Worth of Small Swaps Make This Dingy Stairway A Lot More Inviting

published Oct 23, 2021
We independently select these products—if you buy from one of our links, we may earn a commission. All prices were accurate at the time of publishing.
About this before & after
Home Type
Project Type
Skill Level
Rental Friendly
Post Image

One fun part of decorating and designing your home is beautifying some unexpected or forgotten spots. Maybe it’s a long cramped hallway where you can carve out a pretty little nook for working or getting ready, or a funky angled wall where you can install some functional shelves. Or maybe it’s a sad staircase that you can turn into a welcoming entryway, as Megan Lindblad did in her home.

“Before, the stairway had dingy old carpeting, unpainted and scuffed walls, and oak trim,” Megan says. “The last time any of it was updated was around 2005 when the house was built.” Because of that, it had a dated look that didn’t exactly feel inviting.

Megan and her husband had already been renovating their home over the past two years, doing things like installing new floors throughout the house, painting all the trim, doors, and walls and adding new light fixtures. Tackling the stairs and landing was one of the last projects on the list, so that the whole house could feel more fresh and modern.

To pull it off, Megan and her husband pulled it up — the carpet, that is. Removing the beige carpet in favor of wood treads (stained a deep walnut color) and risers (painted white) made the stairway both feel more modern and more clean. They were able to purchase all the materials for just $500, and since they DIYed the project, the didn’t have to pay for labor.

Another cost-saving measure: The couple kept the same oak handrails in place, but painted them white, which makes the stairway feel more expansive.

On the landing between floors, they installed durable luxury vinyl plank — the same stuff installed throughout the rest of the house — which helps the staircase blend in seamlessly.

The changes weren’t just beautiful, but functional, too. Vacuuming up dust and dirt is already tougher on steps, and even more so when it can settle into carpeting. “I love how easy the stairs are to clean in comparison to carpet,” Megan says.

Now that Megan and her husband have successfully done these steps, their eyes are on the basement stairs for a future redo. “I’m really proud that we completed the DIY by ourselves without having to pay someone to do it for us,” Megan says. “It was an easy process and so glad we did it!”

Inspired? Submit your own project here.