Ideas for dressing up my stairs

You may recall from my maintenance to-do post, we’d like to fix our slippery stairs problem. Our little Schnauzer can’t (or won’t, to be more specific) go up the wood stairs. They are also slippery for sock-footed humans. We’ve decided the long-term solution is a professionally installed carpet runner. However, since that will run around $1,000 we may use an intermediate fix like this for a while.

Here are a few pictures of the staircase:

In addition to laying some carpet, I’d also like to dress the stairs up a bit. Right now, they feel empty and echo-y. And all that bare wall space is just asking for some decor. Check out these pretty dressed-up stairs I tracked down:

Photo by Domino magazine


Photo by Elle Decor


Photo by Living etc


In addition to installing a carpet runner or carpet treads, I’d also like to turn the wall into a little art gallery. I hope to mix some of my smaller paintings on canvas with framed drawings and photos. Ikea carries great frames for this type of project.

Photo by Ikea

Since the front door takes up primary decorating space at the bottom of the stairs, I’m thinking it might be really fun to paint the inside of the door a bright color. Or even a dark chocolate brown or black. It would dress up the entry and add some visual interest to the living room as well. Here’s an example of this idea in action:

Photo by Real Simple

Finally, depending on the type of stair runner or carpet treads I use, I might be able to get away with a really lovely 3 x 5 area rug between the bottom of the stairs and the front door. Check out these two beauties from Anthropologie:

I can’t promise when I might actually get around to completing this project. I’m just doing a bit of dreaming and scheming at this point. Plus, the carpet runner is expensive. And the little area rugs aren’t particularly cheap either… although maybe I can find a less expensive alternative I’ll like just as much.

For more ideas on dressing a staircase, here is a wonderful article on Apartment Therapy with eight ideas. And I found this post on Better Homes and Gardens about creating a photo gallery in a stairway.

What about you? Have you dressed up your stairs? Do you have any ideas for mine? Do tell.

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8 Responses to Ideas for dressing up my stairs

  1. Sigari says:

    Have you considered buying some FLOR modular carpet tiles and cutting them to fit the stairs?

  2. Holly Young says:

    Oh, I painted the INSIDE of our front door a pretty color of dark red, and I love it. It really compliments the red brick around our fireplace. I think it is a great idea. A “quick fix” if you want something different and fun without a lot of hassle. Love all the pretty photos! Good luck dressing up your stairs! 🙂

  3. Christmas of ’08 I gave my husband 10 photographs framed and ready for hanging in our newly painted dining room. They still sit in the closet because neither of us seem to be able to be motivated enough to replace the glass in 3 of the frames that cracked while under the tree.
    This is why I say we are decorating deficient. 😉

  4. Pingback: Little home makeovers « Urban Domesticity

  5. Rachelle says:

    We are having the same problem with our stairs, slippery and too expensive to put a carpet runner. I LOVE the colored staircase step. What is that material? Is that different striped carpets as treads? So interesting.

    • Lindsay says:

      Hi Rachelle. I thought they were just painted different colors but now that I look more closely, it does appear they are pieces of carpet tacked down somehow.

      My steps are still bare. They’ve gotten a bit less slippery over time, but I still want to figure out a solution. I read another idea online somewhere to mix sand with clear varnish and paint the stairs. I’m not sure how I feel about that idea, but it would definitely take care of the slip factor!

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