Before & After: Boring Brown Stair Risers Go Whiter, Brighter

stair risers before and after

By the time we finish renovating the Dream House, every single surface in it will have gotten a fresh coat of paint. Buoyed by the success of the freshly whitened wainscoting, I decided to tackle the stairs risers next. When we moved in, the risers were painted a dark, muddy brown. That brown may have worked when the walls in the stairway were painted a khaki color. Now that the walls are gray, however, the brown just wasn’t cutting it. Grab the roller and paint can – it’s time to lighted up the stairway!

white stair risers

Painting the risers white totally transformed this stairway. Not only does the stairway look cleaner and fresher, the stairs are easier to see, especially in the dark. I first started covering the risers in the same white paint that I had used on the wainscoting. After I finished a few of the risers, I stepped back and realized that the pure white paint wasn’t working. The trim in the stairway is painted off-white, making the pure white risers look too obvious. Fortunately, I had a big can of antique white paint in the basement. The antique white gives the risers a more seamless appearance next to the painted trim.

painting stair risers white

As you can see in the photo above, I first started painting the risers from the bottom step to the top. It took rubbing my knee against wet paint a few times before I changed by plans. I moved up to the top step and worked my way down from there.

paining stair risers from boring brown to bright whiteIt took two coats of paint to get full coverage over the brown color. And it took crawling around on my hand and knees like a child to paint every last inch of the risers. My knees and back may be a bit worse for the wear, but it was totally worth it!

We’re thinking about applying a pattern to the stair risers – perhaps something like this Frank Lloyd Wright-inspired Lake Geneva stencil. While we mull that over, we’re happy with our brighter, whiter stairs.

— J. Blandings

Images: Mr. and Mr. Blandings

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