Staircase Remodel: What We Did and Would We Do It Again

Thank you to Kichler for sponsoring this post. All content, ideas and words are always my own. Thanks so much for supporting the brands that make possible!

Staircase Remodel: What We Did and Would We Do It Again

During our initial tour of the Greenfield Remodel, one part in particular stood out to me – both literally and figuratively. It was the staircase.

Feast your eyes on all of its original 90’s builder-grade beauty, below.

Greenfield Remodel "Before" Tour

The fact that the stairs were a prominent part of the living room was bad enough. But being covered in old, brown carpet took them to a whole other level of “NO, THANK YOU.”

It’s no surprise that the staircase remodel was one of the first projects we tackled. We were already installing engineered hardwood in every room on both floors, so of course the staircase carpet had to go, too.

The Grand Plan

Stairs are often considered pass-through spaces, so they’re usually overlooked as a place of potential beauty. Our grand plan for this staircase remodel was to create a beautiful statement that could command attention on its own but would also fit the aesthetic of the newly remodeled living room. 

I knew I wanted the main paint color throughout the house to be white. I chose “Chantilly Lace” by Benjamin Moore for the ceilings, walls, baseboards, risers and stringers. “Chantilly Lace” is my favorite white paint; it’s the most neutral of whites and goes well with both cool and warm tones. That update alone instantly brightened up the space, as white paint tends to do. 

Our new hardwood flooring – beautiful 7-inch engineered oak – definitely helped lighten up the space even more.

In a typical scenario, if you were updating floors that included a staircase, you’d choose treads and risers that matched the new floors. Most flooring manufacturers make matching stair parts, which takes all guesswork out of finding something that looks the same.

One of the reasons we didn’t go that route: We bought our engineered hardwood at a warehouse sale for an insanely good price – all 2500 square feet of it. As a result, finding matching stair parts was not an option for us.

Furthermore, I really wanted to add a wow factor to the staircase, and having the stairs match the floors would simply make it fade into the background. Painting the stairs black, on the other hand, would bring that much-needed drama.

Staircase Remodel: What We Did and Would We Do It Again

What We Did

Once the old, brown carpet was torn out, the wood underneath was not salvageable. I mean, theoretically one could pry the hundreds of nails from the wood, patch and sand it, but no one had time or energy for that nonsense. Instead, we installed unfinished pine treads from Home Depot, which were then primed and painted “Tricorn Black” by Sherwin Williams to add that dose of drama. 

Black paint is a low-cost, high-impact way to update any space. Of course, it’s important to pick a shade that you’ll then repeat throughout the rest of the house to make it feel intentional. 

Stairs see a lot of foot traffic, obviously, so we made sure to use heavy-duty paint specifically designed for interior or exterior wooden floors – “Porch and Floor Enamel” from Sherwin Williams in the “Tricorn Black” color.

I opted to keep the exposed side of the stairs free from decorative trim for a more modern look. The risers were primed and painted the same “Chantilly Lace” color, except in a different sheen. 

Staircase Remodel: What We Did and Would We Do It Again

Our new “Cassadee” chandelier from Kichler Lighting makes a beautiful statement in the two-story entryway. I love how it ties in the fluid arches we have throughout the house.

The graceful, curved shape of this light fixture could fit several aesthetic environments, including traditional, transitional and contemporary.

Staircase Remodel: What We Did and Would We Do It AgainStaircase Remodel: What We Did and Would We Do It AgainStaircase Remodel: What We Did and Would We Do It Again

Other Considerations

I spent quite some time debating whether to replace the newel post, balusters and handrails for a more modern option. The other alternative was to keep and paint the existing, more traditional ones.

The latter option was definitely more cost-effective; however, the aesthetics should always be considered.  

If you’ve been here long enough, you know I love mixing traditional and modern elements. Contrasting styles add so much interest to a space. This staircase was a perfect opportunity to mix the two aesthetics. Keeping the existing stair parts brought in that traditional design element, but by painting everything black, we were able to add that modern element, too. Ultimately, that juxtaposition of traditional versus modern created a beautiful focal point at a fraction of the cost of all-new stair parts. 

By reusing some of the stair parts, we were able to maximize our budget, too.

As far as decorating, I initially wanted to hang a gallery wall of family photos all the way up the stairs. The expansive space would allow the gallery to grow as our family grew, without the need to take down and replace photos.

But once I hung the frames above the console table next to the stairs, I knew that adding anything else on the walls would visually clutter the space. Not wanting to take the focus away from the living room, I kept the staircase walls bare, allowing the bold, contrasting colors to speak for themselves.

Staircase Remodel: What We Did and Would We Do It Again

Would We Do It Again?

If you’ve ever had dark furniture, then it comes as no surprise that black stairs require a bit more upkeep. I was fully aware of this fact going into this remodel but still chose the classic black and white look. I tend to do that quite often; beauty requires maintenance, after all.

Ideally, a couple times a week I’d run our handheld vacuum along the treads, followed by a damp microfiber cloth. Keep in mind, we never wear shoes in the house. But also, we have nonstop home improvement projects happening, so I’d say we have more dust than a typical household. Equally important to note: Our two toddlers like to use the stairs as their personal playground, so don’t think we coddle them – not at all.

Something else to keep in mind: Painted stairs tend to be more slippery than carpeted stairs. I was initially very hesitant about living in a house with stairs – see previous note about toddlers. However, ours being L-shaped gave me some peace of mind; I figured a fall down would be less serious due to the landing. Ironically, I’ve sustained more stumbles than the children. Regardless, I certainly understand the appeal of a stair runner.

Staircase Remodel: What We Did and Would We Do It Again

The ultimate question: Would we do it again?

Yes, we’d definitely do it again. I’m still considering adding that runner, though – more for my sake than the children. I’m not actively looking just yet, but the project is not out of the question down the road.

Overall, the staircase remodel added so much character to this house, tying in various elements throughout the house that previously felt random. The classic black and white look has made a world of a difference, and I am so happy we were able to reuse so many stair parts and allocate those savings elsewhere!

Staircase Remodel: What We Did and Would We Do It Again

So, what do you think of our staircase remodel?

I’ve included shoppable source links throughout the post, underneath the photos. Pop over to Instagram, where I shared a video tour on IGTV and a fun “BEFORE + AFTER” video, too! As always, let me now if you have any questions about our staircase remodel, or if you’d like a source for something I missed.

Thank you to Kichler for kindly sponsoring this post. All writing and opinions are always my own and never influenced by gifted products or any type of compensation. Thanks for supporting the brands that make possible!

Looking for more inspiration? Check out the following posts for more projects at our Greenfield Remodel:


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