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Painted Staircase Makeover On A Budget

In a perfect world, I’d have an unlimited budget for my home renovation projects and wouldn’t have to pick over my boys’ college funds. But wait stratch that, even if I had an extra 10K laying around, I’m not sure I’d spend it on say… a new staircase. I like making decisions around my home based on a tight budget. It’s how I grew up, and I honestly don’t know any other way to be. Luckily for my accountant husband, we seem to be on the same page with that.

For ask long as I can remember I’ve wanted a black staircase. Now, in my dreams, it was metal and sleek and not traditional. But as I said, I can’t rationalize spending the money on a new one when we have two boys to get through college and retirement to think about. I mean not right away, but I’m starting to see it in the not so distant future.

So when I got the urge to do away with the orange oak, naturally, I went to paint. I scoured the internet for examples of similar staircases and colors because I am a visual person. And although it’s just paint I didnt want to have to do it over. You can see the before and after below.

Let’s get into the tutorial below…

1. I wiped down the wood banisters and spindles with a good degreaser. You can use something like Zep, especially for the top surfaces where grimy fingers go. It’s great for cleaning wood cabinets, too.

2. After that, I did one coat of BIN primer. I did not sand, and that was the best part.

3. Go slow. I wanted to be sure about the all-black, so I painted in stages, leaving the white spindles for a bit.

4. After careful deliberation, I decided to go for it. I used Sherwin-Williams Black Magic in satin. It took two good coats and three in some areas. Make sure you let each coat cure before adding the next coat. That goes for the primer as well.

I liked the contrast of the all-black since I wasn’t going to use a stair runner, and my walls were white.

5. Next up, stair treads. I will go more in-depth in the next post, but I don’t regret using Gel Stain in Walnut on my steps. You can see it took the orange tint away. And since my main flooring has some darker wood tones, there wasn’t too much of a contrast.

The after reveal of staircase makeover. City Farmhouse by Jennifer O'Brien
Black painted staircase reveal by Jennifer O'Brien. Sherwin-Williams Black Magic.

All in all, this staircase took me. about 5 days on and off in between drying times. The total cost was under $200. I think it’s a nice change for the cost and labor. I am very happy with the decision to paint my staircase black.

Staircase makeover tutorial for under $200. City Farmhouse.

Leave any questions below. Happy a happy day, friend,

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  1. Love the transformation! When you applied the stain the the stairs- did you sand first or apply the stain on top of the origional stain?

  2. I like a nicer staircase too and my husband put the wood on back of stairs too – the look is even nicer – no white backs!!! Black on my rails too!!!

  3. Looks very pretty! I love a black staircase! Just a thought: what if you used black on the treads and risers as well (all black)? Or black on the treads and keep the white risers? Or do an all-wood stair (treads and risers) w black railing. Keeping the entire staircase palette to one (or two max) colors could be pretty too!

    1. Thank you Irene. I really wanted to keep some wood to break up the two tones. Maybe for a different house the all black would work. I’ve seen it done and it’s pretty.

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