Refreshing our Stairs

In our home we have two sets of stairs. One set going upstairs to the office/sitting room and master bedroom and one set going downstairs to our basement living space, guest room, and unfinished laundry/storage space.

A few years ago I painted the wooden staircase to our bedroom and office. The stairs were looking tired, were very squeaky and I wasn’t a huge fan of the color. I decided to paint the riser white and the tread black. They remain that way today; with a few new dings from Lola’s doggie claws and some missing paint from a series of hilarious events that led to Andy falling down the stairs and landing hard on his bum – taking a bit of paint with him as he went.

A huge benefit to painting the stairs was that Andy could tighten up the treads with a few additional nails; reducing the noise they made when you’d walk up or down. It was easy for me to then putty and paint over those sunken nail heads; hiding them from view. Most people might not mind the squeakiness that comes with an older home, but when it wakes your sleeping child each day you become eager to find a fix.

The past few weeks I have been refinishing the stairs to the basement. Unlike the staircase to the second floor, these stairs were covered with carpet. I had been looking at the worn, dirty carpet for 6 years, and even though I was excited to improve the aesthetic, I wasn’t sure I was ready to rip the carpet off without being prepared for what was under it. I didn’t want to get myself into a situation where I (and by “I”, I mean Andy) would be rebuilding an entire staircase.

I was able to peal back the carpet in an inconspicuous place and the stair treads actually looked surprisingly new; so I decided to go for it. However, not shockingly, all the stairs weren’t new. Only the bottom four stairs were actually in like-new condition. The remaining stairs seem to have been with the house since it was moved here about 50 years ago.

Andy addressed some squeakiness again and he puttied some larger holes and sanded the stairs a bit. We weren’t concerned that the stairs look perfect because we knew that would be tough to achieve and because we planned to cover the majority of the staircase with a runner.

After Carpet Removal
After Carpet Removal, Putty and Light Sanding

After Andy was done with his work I began priming and painting.

Primed Stair Tread, Primed & White Painted Risers
Painted Stair Treads and Risers

Once I finished painting the stairs, I bought several of these Birmingham Black Woven Cotton runners from Dash and Albert.

Dash and Albert Runner

We did some reading and research online and followed these tutorials, from Young House LoveSouthern Hospitality, Centsational Girl and Fresh American Style (a blog from the maker of Dash and Albert rugs).

Young House Love Stairs
Young House Love
Southern Hospitality Stairs
Southern Hospitality
Centsational Girl Happy Staircase
Centsational Girl
Fresh American Style Staircase
Fresh American Style 

Andy and I talked about what would work best for our stairs and once the runners arrived in the mail we got to work. Andy ended up doing the installation and I checked in occasionally, helped trim the ends of the rugs when it was time, and in general, jumped up and down from excitement.

Here is how it all turned out:

Second Floor Stairs


Second Floor Stairs Looking Down
Second Floor Stairs
Basement Stairs
Basement Stairs

I am thrilled with the results. I love how the rugs look and how they feel underfoot. They add much needed traction to our steep and (previously) slippery staircase. They are also very quiet now. There isn’t any squeakiness and the carpet absorbs additional foot noise. The carpeted stairs make it much easier for Lola to navigate; which is a huge benefit because our beloved pooch is getting advanced in age and has had a few nasty slips and slides down the stairs when she’s eager to go out in the morning.

Thanks for following along on this project.

Now, what project is next?


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