The Happy Staircase

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I have a friend named Kara with a beautiful family. Several months ago Kara had a very dingy carpeted staircase so she decided to rip that carpet off the stairs because she felt it was better to live with unfinished particle board risers and treads than to stare at that dirty carpet for one more day. I know just how she felt, I’ve been there too.

stairs before

Instead of replacing the treads with stained wood, Kara decided to tackle this staircase in a more colorful and economical way. She took a ‘work with what ya got’ approach and painted the risers white and the treads a pretty shade of blue/green (Glidden’s ‘Seaside Village’) and filled the gaps where the carpet once wrapped around with a very clever idea (details below).

painted blue and white staircase

The paint medley is lovely don’t you agree? Kara decided to make her staircase softer underfoot and give it more personality by adding striped Dash & Albert runners. I do declare this is the happiest staircase ever!

striped runner on painted staircase

I documented the process along the way, here’s the step by step on how Kara transformed her staircase from blah to beautiful.

First, she was smart to use the right product, she painted the risers and treads with Glidden’s durable Porch and Floor formula, it has a built in primer.

pf paint

The stairs still had a gap on both sides of the risers and treads where the carpet used to be so I suggested trimming the sides with molding to cover the gaps but it was problematic given the somewhat rounded edge of the treads. Then Kara had a brilliant idea. She suggested trying foam gap filler, the kind used to insulate openings up to 1” from drafts. So smart !!  It worked !!

gaps cracks

Kara filled in the gaps up and down the sides of the staircase with the foam product, wiped it down to just below the top since it dries solid. Kara then filled in the top of the foam sealant (after it was dry) with sandable paintable spackle.

fill wipe spackle

Once that was dry she touched up the paint and it looked like this with all the gaps filled in, nice! Far away it looks really great just painted but up close you can tell from the texture that it’s particle board, not smooth wood so the decision to add a runner dressed up the stairs with color and covered the imperfections.

painted blue and white staircase

I helped Kara install the runner last week and we followed Annie’s very helpful tutorial for the wrap around technique. We used my Powershot Pro stapler to attach it to the risers and treads, a few times the tool didn’t get the staples in all the way so in that circumstance we pulled the staple out with a flat head screwdriver and tried again and it worked just fine to secure the runner in place.

powershot stapler

This staircase turns twice on its way up and there are different ways to install a runner around the corners on a staircase, this image below is one of them.

turned corner

We didn’t have enough material even with the three 12’ runners we had and were concerned about bulk with overlap so opted for a ‘straight up’ solution taking the runner up to the top of the landing similar to this one and ending it there.

turning staircase corner with runner

Cove molding covers the edge of the runner at the bottom of the stairs; at the top, the runner meets the upstairs carpet at the top of the riser (not shown, forgot to take a pic!).

striped stair runner

A reminder of the stairs before the DIY magic …

staircase project

Now it is one colorful happy staircase in the home of a family of four sweet kids and one adorable golden doodle named Scarlett.

happy staircase striped runner

Fantastic job Kara!

Find more inspiring staircases on my Pinterest board dedicated to the topic! .

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