This week on Design Dilemma with our style steward, Cheryl Torrenueva, of Home Heist and Restaurant Makeover, we tackle a patchy staircase. With its many elements such as stair tread (top), stair riser (face), spindle, handrail, baseboard and possible wainscoting, it can present a challenge to a reno when trying to tie everything together, on a budget. Kathy M., who reached out to us with her Dilemma, has just such a problem: her piecemeal reno has come to a standstill at the foot of her stairs. See what Cheryl suggests for Kathy’s staircase, which, btw, I think has great potential.
From Kathy M.: "We moved into a 22 year-old home five years ago and have since done some major renovations, with still lots to do. We are currently installing porcelain tile through the hallway/laundry/kitchen and then gunstock oak flooring in the family room/dining/living rooms. My problem is the staircase.
"As you can see, the past owners painted the spindles glossy black; the handrail is stained a yellowish colour, (I’m assuming to match the wood on the handrail leading to the basement); the baseboard along the upper stairwell is the original golden oak; the lower stairwell baseboard is white.
"We are adding 18"x18" beige stone look tile in a brick pattern to the hallway. Our home is fairly casual (we have two small children). The carpeting is HORRIBLE but it isn’t in our budget to install new carpeting upstairs this year. Unfortunately, there is plywood subflooring underneath the carpeting.
"My question? What can I do to bring this hallway together besides having a completing new staircase installed?"
Cheryl Suggests: This staircase definitely needs some TLC!! I am assuming that this is one of the first things that you see when you enter the house so it should be treated as your main focal point. Here’s a similar space we transformed on an episode of Home Heist that you can look to for inspiration, but since the budget is tight, let’s try to tackle this in baby steps. You can continue to improve the look of this space as funds open up.
- Start by painting out the spindles and main posts with a coat of pure white paint, eggshell finish – any baseboard trim that is golden oak, paint that white as well!
- Your next step is to stain the railing the same colour as the gunstock oak that you are installing in the other rooms. Make sure that you prepare the surfaces properly or else the stain won’t adhere, and always do a test before you tackle the whole thing.
Alternative to Stain: where stain isn’t an option, I’ve colour-matched the darkest colour in the wood and used paint to update the railing.
- If you want to get rid of the carpet, you may want to reface the stair treads with the same gunstock oak and paint the risers pure white to give this staircase a classic look that will never go out of style.
- Another great option would be to paint the entire staircase white and install a carpet runner. Make sure to look for inexpensive carpet remnants that you can transform into a bold statement with custom trim.
Shopping Tip: One of my favourite places to shop for carpet remnants is Carpet Mill in Toronto. It’s always fun to go through the aisles, and when you can score a beautiful designer wool remnant for a fraction of the price, there’s nothing better!
Do you think Kathy should paint the stairs white? Or go for a more elaborate look with refacing the stair risers?
Got your own Design Dilemma? Take a photo and send it (in jpg format) along with your question to stylesheetAThgtvDOTca and we’ll do our best to get it up on the blog!
Previously on Design Dilemma: Cheryl suggests a plan to spruce up a generic-looking fireplace