If you’re planning a “paint-and-fix-up” project for the interior of your home, and the home is a two-story structure, you should include the stairway in the plans. There are a number benefits to this, including the most important one. The stairs in your home can be a key design element, in addition to being a functional part of the home. Include the stairway in your plans, and make sure you allow for it in your budget.

Start the overall plan with the walls in the stairwell. These walls should get as much design attention as any other surfaces. Take into account the size of those walls, because they can sometimes extend beyond “regular” height. This means that you’ll have to arrange for the proper equipment to complete the painting with little stress and minimal effort.

The Stairs

Your first step in this process is to carefully inspect the steps, including the risers, to determine if repairs should be made. If you live in an older home, you may find some of the steps are worn, even cracked or split. The best advice you can get is to make your repairs, fill cracks, and replace stair treads before you open a can of paint.

Homeowners who have been through this process before not only devote time to making sure the wood or other material is in good shape before painting, they have also taken the time to thoroughly clean all surfaces. If you’re fortunate enough to have walls, stair risers, and stair treads in good condition, complete cleaning, priming and a finish coat will probably do the trick, so to speak.

Making the stairway a decorative part of the home can completely change the way you look at this section of the home interior. Even if you just decide to make a color change, coordinating it with the paint choice for the walls, you’ll discover a total attitude change when you use the stairs. Choose lighter colors on larger walls to brighten up the area, or select your favorite “warm” color to make the stairwell more inviting.


If the stairway is open, even partially open, and in a room, take the time to coordinate colors with the rest of the space. The stairs can complement your room décor, just as any other wall or floor can. Some homeowners choose to make the stairway walls, or the steps themselves, bright, delivering some contrast to the subtler tones of the room. Others do the opposite, and have a bright cheerful room and a stairway that is understated in choice of color.

As for the steps themselves, once you’ve made absolutely sure the surfaces are clean, consider making the tread areas a darker color, to hide foot impact. You can contrast this with bright or white risers. Some property owners feel black and white is the perfect choice, while others might use white with a dark shade of blue or brown. No matter what your personal tastes, likes, and dislikes, don’t forget to paint the stairs. You’ll be glad you included them in your plans.