That title just about sums up this entire post. And this one nearly made me hang up my DIY Diva toolbelt.
Not really, but this just might be my most challenging DIY project yet.
If I had any sense at all, I would never have torn the carpet off the steps, but I don’t and I did, so here we are now with something pretty spectacular, if I do say so myself. Carpet across blogland may be flying off stairs after this one. 🙂
Let me remind you what the stairs looked like BEFORE, matted ugly carpet that was wrapped around those ends of the stairs on the left, like a furry little animal. Not my favorite look. It was impossible to refluff the middle of the stairs in the traffic pattern no matter how much I vacuumed.
And you’ll remember these beautiful stairs, which head to our upstairs rooms, which we had finished in hardwood when we moved in here 4 years. ago. The quote to do the downstairs set of stairs was an additional $1000, so that didn’t happen at the time. So, my goal was NOT to match this set of stairs, but to do something that would complement them.
I proceeded to rip the nasty old carpet off that downstairs set of steps……
And this is what I ended up with. Sad, isn’t it?! If I had any illusions that my stairs underneath were in somewhat decent shape, that was quickly put to rest as soon as I finished tearing off the final piece of dead carpet. I had myself a really BIG project ahead of me.
Can you believe the ugly here?
Not one to be put off by a challenge, I quickly embraced my inner-DIY Diva and set forth on this journey. I knew my carpentry skills were sorely lacking, but that didn’t stop me either. This pic was even after most of the hideous and evil tack strips were pulled off. That wasn’t fun either. But, this was what I was left with. Notice the gaping seams on the ends and underneath each step. There was nothing even resembling a finished set of stairs underneath that carpet. The best thing they had going for them was a nice thick stair tread.
I’ll save the complete HOW-TO for another post, along with all the rest of the horrible pics of just how bad the BEFORE state these stairs were in, but for now, let me just show you what I’m completely proud of at this moment.
You will NOT believe this until you see it! I promise you….
I know, your jaw is hanging to the ground about now, huh?? I can hardly believe I did this either, but I really did. With my own little nubby nailed hands.
I sanded, I puttied, I cut molding with my miter box (a whole bunch of molding), I caulked and I painted and painted. And I bought a cute little jute khaki and cream runner from Overstock (which looks totally different in the pic, but I do love it) to use down the middle. And I could NOT be happier with the outcome. It was totally worth the effort, the scratching my head and the nubby nails.
And let me just say, as with all of my projects, this one is neither perfect nor would an expert carpenter pronounce it anything but wrong, but I made it all work for me and I’m pretty much over the moon about how this looks right now. And it did take a lot of work, but again, totally worth it.
When I show you some of the close-ups, you’ll see nails painted over, raw wood painted over and lots of dings and staple holes. I think that all gives them plenty of character and isn’t that what we’re after these days. 🙂 Well, these babies have plenty of character, to say the least.
This is actually the right side of the jute runner I ordered, but when I got it in, I totally liked the smooth side better, so that’s the side I used.
A staple gun was what I used to adhere the runner to the stairs. Lots of 1/2″ staples. And I used black porch and floor paint for the stairs, so they should hold up just fine with 3 coats.
The staples do show a little bit but feeling particularly OCD, I got out my craft paints and just touched them up a little bit, but for the most part, they don’t show too bad. That I can live with.
Since I used the wrong side of the runner, there’s a raw seam on this side, but that didn’t bother me too much either. I just let it show at the top of the stairs.
You can see here all the molding I had to add to the stairs to trim it out and hide ALL the gaping seams that were in these stairs. I’ll do a complete tutorial for you soon so you can see the blood, sweat, but no tears that went into this project. If I can do this, so can you! I was not fortunate enough to have nice and finished stairs on this project (like Sarah did on hers, lucky girl!!). These stairs were just about as bad as it could get. Wait til you see the other BEFORE close-up pics I took, then you’ll appreciate even more how great they look now.
Here’s a glimpse of how I finished out the end of the stairs with molding. This part was the biggest challenge of all, but I figured it out and cut all these pieces with my trusty miter box. Molding and caulk hide the ugliest of sins.
I’m completely, totally and deliriously happy with my new stairs!!
You can see the entire How-To on this post!
And for a fun painted steps twist, check out Donna at Funky Junk’s staircase painting. It’s very cool and they don’t call her funky for nothin’!
Added to Shanty2Chic’s Made it Without My Hubby Party!
I’m so glad I found your blog through another this evening – No lie, I just ripped the ugly carpeting off my foyer stairs and was going to stain them but, after seeing your beautiful stairs, you have inspired me! Bring on the black paint!
Oh, what kind of black paint did you use? I was wondering if you used flat or semi-gloss.
Suzanne, the porch & floor paint I got at Lowes was by Valspar, in Satin finish. It’s great paint!
You are amazing!! How did I miss this one? Half my stairs are torn up right now, we don’t know what to do…I’m on my way to your DIY part!
Alicia @ La Famille says
i love how they turned out! the runner is so cute! that looks like a tough job, but it turned out great!
laurel adelman says
Did you add padding under these? They really do look great.
Hi Laurel, no padding at all, just the runner by itself. Thanks for stopping by!
I love this! I am too scared to check under my carpet, but I would love to try this project. This is a great idea and looks amazing.
OMG! I too have a hideously carpeted staircase (read dirty, stained, traffic path worn up the middle, can’t-stand-it-one-more-minute) I live in a house by the beach and dream of a casual, beachy, colorful painted staircase. My husband is convinced I’ve lost my mind. I’ve trolled online relentlessly looking for good how-to info and YOU ARE IT. Bring it on ugly stairs. I can do it!!!
were you able to use one runner or did it take multiple?
Shelley, I used 2 runners. Only had to use part of the 2nd, but one wasn’t enough.
Are the details before and after pics available yet? Where can they be viewed?
What color did you paint the steps? Are they black?
Michelle, yes, the steps are black.
I am currently doing the same thing as you, I am having a hard time deciding on a stain color. I am thinking the steps will be brazilian cherry (found a red chestnut minwax maybe mixed with ebony will match) . I got these read oak steps named Retrotread and they are not so expensive, and have a nice trim finish which covers a bit of the riser. I cut off the noses and sanded, now I have to finish the steps. I am painting the risers white.
Fantastic! We are about to re-do carpeting upstairs and the stairs and I hate carpeted stairs! I think I would like to paint mine the same cream color as all the existing trim and then add a runner much like you did. I am ordering a custom sisal rug for my front hallway so maybe a matching sisal runner would look great? Really inspirational-thanks
I just came across this project today on pinterest and just love the rug! Unfortunately Overstock only has 2 left and I need 4. This is the story of my life. Anywho I was wondering if there was any manufacturer info with the rug so that I might be able to find more from another source. I appreciate any info you can give me. Thanks so much.
Hi, Shanna, sorry, but I don’t live there anymore. I had to leave that pretty staircase behind. Hopefully you can find something else that will work just as well if you scour the web. Thanks for stopping by!
Hi! I admire your skills and motivation. I will be doing a similar project at our home soon, I’m very nervous, but excited! Anyways I was actually wondering what color you have on the walls, that nice taupe color. Also what color white you used on the stairs? Thanks!
Hi,Erin, thanks for stopping by. The wall paint color is Sherwin Williams Believeable Buff, a tan/gold shade. I used a fairly bright white on my trim and stairs, but don’t remember the name. Semi-gloss.
How did I miss this post….glad you mentioned and linked it again. What an industrious woman you are!
Lori Bisser says
Thank you for the inspiration- I did it and it looks great! We used an indoor/outdoor runner rug from Ballard Designs with french script. LOVE IT! Thank you- never would’ve convinced my husband if he hadn’t seen your pictures here. thanks!
Thank you so much for sharing such a great tutorial. We are planning to do this project this summer (mostly me). This is a wonderful, step by step guide, and I pinned it, so I can find it again easily! -K
That looks great! I’m doing my stairs today and this served as great inspiration 🙂
Jennifer B says
Hello again, Rhoda! I ripped an ugly carpet off my stairs and am thinking of painting them as you have done. The stair treads are pine, but all the floors in the house are oak, so they don’t jive. I don’t think they were meant to be seen. I’m wondering what sheen of paint you used on the treads. Also, my stairs curve. Have you ever put a runner on curved stairs? Do you think a dark, espresso black/brown would look as good as black? Thanks!
Hi, Jennifer, I used black satin porch & floor paint. I have not done a runner on curved stairs, so I don’t know how that would work out and yes, I think a black/brown would look just as good. I might even end up with a color like that too. I used the old Ralph Lauren color, Turret Stair in my old house on bathroom cabinets & it is a wonderful black/brown.