Stairs Worth Staring At

There are some things about my house that I love and others that I can’t stand – my staircase falls into the latter category.  It is an ugly sight – the stair treads are red oak and cast an orangey hue, I have heinous “granny style” stair tread rugs so the dog can get up and down the stairs without slipping, and the handrail doesn’t match the color of the stair treads or anything else in the stairwell.  Fixing up my staircase has always been on my to-do list but somehow another project always sneaks above it on the list so my ugly staircase remains ugly (I’d show you a picture but don’t want to be responsible for the nightmares that may ensue…).  I’ve decided to move this project up toward the top of my to-do list for 2012 and had been giving some thought as to what I may want to do with my staircase when I got my new Serena & Lily catalog with this picture on the cover:

Serena & Lily

Aren’t those some of the most fabulous stairs you have ever seen?!  It definitely got me considering the idea of decorative stair risers so I went looking for other inspiring pics and found some great ones that I thought you might enjoy seeing too.  Two of my favorites were done by Melanie Royals, a stencil artist who is President/Creative Director of Royal Design Studio and writes about her artistic endevours on her blog, Design Amour. I am in awe of this gorgeous staircase with the stair risers she and her team stenciled with Moroccan patterns:  

Design Amour

This set of stenciled stair risers is also nothing short of fabulous – and check out the matching door! 

Design Amour

You can actually buy the stencils that they used to create these gorgeous stair risers from Royal Design Studio. That’s exactly what Carol (from the blog “Painter Girl“) did – using four stencil designs from their Moroccan collection, she used a vibrant yellow paint and stenciled this set of stairs with a beautiful result:

Painter Girl

The vibrant yellow was the color her client chose from several different color options that she gave them (I love the tomato red option!):

Painter Girl

If you don’t have the time or patience for stenciling, vinyl decals are another great option for creating decorative stair risers.  For example, you can purchase these floral stair riser vinyl decals from the Etsy shop Vinyltastic


Camila from the blog “Effortless Style” used zebra decals from Wall Pops to totally pimp out her stair risers!  So fun!

Effortless Style

Nadia also used decals she found at Wall Pops to decorate her stair risers – she shows off the beautiful result on her blog “House 36“.

House 36

Another option is to tile your stair risers, as was done in this house featured in Cottage Living:

Cottage Living

Or, how about using wallpaper??  It is inexpensive, quick, and easy – my three favorite words when it come to a home project.

Clever Spaces
Design in Dublin

What’s your take on decorative stair risers – do you love the idea too?!


  1. says

    I am literally at a conference for Annie Sloan stockists and retailers and painted stairs were one of our covered topics. So I think you are really onto something here, Kris! In addition to doing patterns, remember you could also just paint the backs of stairs an interesting color or series of colors….Just learned about Annie Sloans floor lacquer – which is a thin, clear coat that was developed to be compatible with her Chalk Paint making it now suitable for use on floors. HOORAY!

  2. veronika says

    OMG, I totally have a bug up my butt about painting the risers on our staircase. I would love to do a chevron pattern like I’ve seen on a Home Depot commercial recently, using the colors of your site background, which is the color I just painted the spindles of the handrail. But, my honey thinks chevrons are too “modern” for our little Cape Cod house. I’ll find the right pattern and show him! ;-D Love all the examples shown.

    • says

      Do it so I can live vicariously through you! As much as I would love to do the same thing on my stairs, our dog slips on them without carpet so I decided that painting the risers it isn’t going to happen :-( I want to see a pic of your stairs when you’re done!!

  3. says

    I absolutely love the first sample. The red popping color is just perfect. It is like a cherry on an ice cream. Anyway, thank you for this post. It is such a great way to show the world that stencilling is a real work of art.

  4. Anonymous says

    I have a cabin, everything wood, and I have been trying to figure out what to do with basement stairs to make them “pop” when your coming up. I love these ideas and intend to do something that will give me a look with a “lot of bang for the buck”. Appreciate all of these great ideas.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.