3 Ways to Add Style to a Staircase


From consecutive paint colors to chalkboard paint to wallpaper, here are 3 ways to add style to a staircase in your home.

Consecutive paint colors and other creative painting ideas


Many people have embraced the current “ombre” trend and are looking for new ways to incorporate it into their homes with unusual ideas, such as consecutive colors for their staircases.

Consider selecting consecutive colors from a single paint strip. The number of stairs that are being painted may dictate the number of colors you choose. For example, for a staircase with 15 stairs, it may be appropriate to use five color shades with three stairs for each color. Some hardware stores offer paint colors in sample jars, which can be an inexpensive way to acquire the paint for this project.

Instead of consecutive colors, some people opt for a rainbow of hues. No one will be able to resist smiling whenever they go up or down such a cheerful set of stairs. Select colors that have similar tones such as pastels, deep and rich shades, or mid-tone colors.



Sometimes it makes sense to paint each wall of a staircase a different color to make the stairwell appear more spacious. For example, if one side is in the shadows, it may benefit from a lighter paint color while a darker paint color will complement it nicely on the other wall. Some people also opt to use one color up to the molding and then introduce a new color to break up the vertical aspect of the space. This technique gives the appearance of a wider, fuller stairwell.


Chalkboard paint

Chalkboard paint is the most unlikely of the 3 ways to add style to a staircase, but it is quickly becoming one of the most popular. Many people like the versatility that chalkboard decor provides. They can customize it for different holidays, seasons, and occasions, or simply add messages and visuals to fit their moods and current interests. The possibilities for quotes, pictures, and designs are endless.


Some people use chalkboard paint for one of the stairwell walls, while others paint the front sections of each stair. Most people paint the inner stairwell wall, but when it is an option, some people paint the outer wall instead. Generally, best practice is to choose one area to paint to keep the stairwell from becoming too busy visually.


Chalkboard paints are available in a variety of colors. Select colors that coordinate with the other colors in close proximity in the house and that match the woodwork or other decor elements.

Use a damp cloth as opposed to an eraser to get rid of the chalk. A damp cloth creates a minimal amount of chalk dust, decreasing the risk of slippery stairs. For staircase painting jobs, best practice is also to use a small, angled brush to do the edge work and a larger brush to fill in the remaining areas.



Wallpaper may not be in fashion right now when it comes to renovating a dining room or bedroom, but it has turned into a chic decorating option for staircases.

For most wallpaper staircase projects, regular wallpaper works just fine. But for people who are concerned about durability vinyl wallpaper may be better. Vinyl is a tougher fabric than paper and can be cleaned with a damp rag or sponge.


Just as it is best practice to use paint samples before purchasing tins of paint, it is highly recommended to place wallpaper samples on your walls before buying rolls.

A typical staircase and stairwell may require only a single roll of standard wallpaper.

Choose a small smoother to prevent bubbles and a single-edged razor for trim jobs. Finish wallpaper work with Krylon Crystal Clear acrylic spray or a similar acrylic spray to offer protection against scuffs. It is also important to note that it is considered cheating to use double-stick tape as opposed to glue to apply wallpaper.

About the author:

David Larkin is CEO/President of DAL Builders in Chicago, IL.  As the porch builders Chicago residents trust, DAL Builders has been serving residential and commercial property owners as a general contractor since 1994.  Connect with DAL Builders on Facebook.