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Help Me Choose a Painted Staircase Design

Jul 6, 2021

Help Me Choose a Painted Staircase Design

Jul 6, 2021

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This post contains affiliate links. I earn a tiny commission, at no additional cost to you. As an Amazon associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. Read my disclosure here.

Input wanted! Please help me choose a painted staircase design for our basement stairs. I know I said I’d write about planning a home renovation this week, but I’m taking a detour. A few weeks ago, I saw an amazing staircase (below) and it’s been stuck in my head ever since. Do you love it or hate it when that happens? Since I’m feeling inspired to tackle our basement stairs, I’d better roll with it!

staircase design
inspiration stairs

Jump To:

Staircase Design Process
Staircase Design Inspo
Stencil Mockups
– Design 1
– Design 2
– Design 3
– Design 4
– Design 5
– Design 6
Please VOTE!

Staircase Design Process

Currently, we still have the 1980’s carpet on our basement staircase, which obviously needs to go. I’ve been thinking of adding a fun painted design to the risers – and that’s where I’d love your help. This *should be* a relatively easy project. Famous last words. All I should need to do is rip up the old carpet, which ends at the bottom of the staircase, pull up some carpet tack strips, clean it up and paint.

staircase design before shot

Ripping up carpet tack strips is not fun, but it’s not terribly hard. Just pop up the strips with a flat pry bar and then pull out any remaining staples or nails with pliers.

removing carpet

Once the carpet is gone, then the fun begins. Let me show you why I’m suddenly motivated to tackle this staircase design…

Staircase Design Inspiration

I toured a home recently with an amazing staircase down to the basement. I just loved it so so much. Adding an unexpected pattern to the stair risers gives a house so much personality, don’t you think?

staircase design

The interesting thing about these stairs is that the geometric pattern is actually tile. The same tile is used in the entry at the front door, and I love how they repeated the tile in a different way, elsewhere in the house.

entry tile

Stencil Mockups

I plan to stencil my design on the stair risers, because paint is just the easiest way to add a design (and remove it). As much as I love a graphic Southwestern pattern (see also: my living room and my buying sprees in New Mexico), that’s not the theme of this house design, which needs to appeal to buyers in the near future. So, I plan to paint a fun stencil that’s also tame enough to connect with the laundry room remodel and the kitchen. That is, unless you tell me to go for it with a geometric Southwestern design…

Here’s the laundry room remodel mockup, to refresh your memory. I am planning to go with the calmest color scheme of mostly whites and grays. So this is what you’ll see at the top of the stairs, as you’re walking up.

Our Laundry Room Remodel Plan

staircase design

Here are 6 mockups I’ve made to show you what I’m considering. There’s a quick poll at the end. Please vote!

Design 1

I could just do a classic black and white combo. The indecisive side of me is leaning toward this option.

staircase design black and white
black + white

Design 2

Starting with a basic black and white staircase, I’m considering using the same stencil as the laundry room wall. Maybe light gray chevron on white risers. Maybe even white on white, with the chevron in semi-gloss for texture.

chevron staircase design
black + white with chevron

Design 3

For more contrast, I’ve been looking at a few star stencil patterns. Also, I found star patterns in stair riser decals, which might make the job even easier! Here’s my version of a mockup (my own design). I’m picturing a star quilt, and I think this traditional vibe would fit well with the rest of the house.

staircase design stars
black + white stars

Design 4

Maybe I’ll let the inspiration stairs guide me and go with a bold black and white design. Why not? It would tie in with the black accents throughout the house, and add a surprising feature to the lower level. I plan to keep the basement remodel pretty tame, otherwise. Here’s a mockup with the same tile pattern as the stairs in the photo. I would prefer to center a design like this, but it was easier to Photoshop it this way:

staircase design geometric
black + white geometric

Design 5

Or should we go with full-on drama and paint the entire staircase black? That would be interesting. Maybe with random white dots on the risers? I think Wyatt might hate this idea, but it’s unexpected and fun.

staircase design black and white dots
black with scattered white dots

Design 6

Here’s another black staircase design with white dots… because once I got started, it was hard to stop at just one design. I actually really like this and it reminds me of a cheetah pattern, but it’s probably not a good fit for this house. I’ll definitely file this one away for future… unless you vote for it!

staircase design cheetah print
black with white “cheetah” dots

Please Vote!

I’ve embedded a poll to let you vote right here. You can also add a comment below if you have thoughts to share, but maybe this will be easier for some readers. Thanks for sharing your input!

stairs grid

Thank You!

The great thing about writing a blog is that I get to crowdsource opinions when I’m feeling indecisive. Thanks for sharing yours! I’ll post photos when I crack into this staircase project. This will also be a good one to share via updates on Instagram and Facebook – if you haven’t joined my communities there, please do!

Next Week: Home Reno Advice

If you were hoping to read our advice on planning a home renovation, as I promised last week, don’t sweat. I want that post to be really solid and useful, so I’m still tweaking a few things. Keep an eye on your inbox next Tuesday! Have a great week, friends.

More DIY Remodeling Tips from List in Progress

list in progress projects

1 – How to Create Craftsman-Style Door Trim
2 – Best Exterior Behr White Paint Colors
3 – The Best Flooring for Every Room in Your House
4 – 2021 Cabinet Hardware Trends


Hi! I’m Erin, a Colorado-based home improvement blogger and lover of all things DIY. I aim to inspire creative folks to tackle home improvement with confidence and style. READ MORE

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