12 staircase ideas to update your hallway quickly

Up the style in your hallway with these staircase ideas...

Staircase ideas
(Image credit: Kasia Fiszer)

Looking for staircase ideas you can do in just a weekend to give your hallway a quick makeover? Well, you are in the right place. Stairs so easily go unnoticed – you are probably just used to the many many scuff marks on the skirting board, the carpet worn to basically nothing and the banister hidden under a layer of finger marks.  So we think it's time to pay them some attention, a stylish staircase can add so much to your home and can be a really fun and easy area to decorate. 

Whether your hallway makeover is big or small,  you're sure to find something that sparks an idea for your own home. Take a look below, then head to our hallway ideas gallery for more inspiring spaces. 

1. Take five with a built-in bench on the staircase

New Forest Manor with built-in bench style seating on staircase landing

(Image credit: Sims Hilditch)

1. Paint your staircase in a dramatic color

black painted wooden staircase in a white hallway with black picture frames and plants

(Image credit: Kasia Fiszer)

Thinking about it, lighter colors don't really make sense on a staircase, so going for a darker shade not only looks gorgeous but is a practical move too when you're working on a new staircase design or even renovating yours from scratch. Keep things looking warm and less dramatic by leaving the wood exposed at the top of each step. You could even try painting stairs – but just the top – as there's something particularly lovely about chalky black, white and wood.

2. Or contrast a dark hallway with lighter stairs

Monochrome hallway with white wooden staircase and a high ceiling

(Image credit: Future/Malcolm Menzies)

We love how this dark and dramatic hallway is a bold twist on traditional Victorian style, but the space has been brightened it up by painting the upper walls and the staircase a bright white. Then the touches of gold and the pinkish hues in the rug warm up the space. 

Check out our hallway paint ideas gallery for loads more looks to copy.

3. Be brave with a bold staircase idea

Carlo VIscione and Florence Andrews – Leyton former school building transformed into open-plan loft-style space

(Image credit: Darren Chung)

Colorful staircase ideas are everywhere right now and we love it! Stairs can work almost like feature walls and be the perfect small place to add a pop of colour. Whether you're opting for a pastel pink, muted sage green-grey or a sunny yellow like in this super cool converted schoolhouse, we admire your bravery – and we like your style.

4. Add a stair runner for style and comfort

January 2020: Clare Pater used her skills as an interior designer and her knack for finding a bargain to transform her family's new home

(Image credit: Jemma Watts)

One for those who just want to dip a toe into some new staircase ideas without committing to a full repaint, we present to you: the stair runner. By no means innovative, sure, but they're gathering steam in the interiors world as homeowners – of Victorian houses in particular – play around with color schemes and borders. 

Can we also just appreciate this amazing chandelier too, please? In love. 

Striped runner up stairs

(Image credit: Roger Oates)

No matter how small your staircase you will have room for a gallery wall. It's such an easy way to add some color into a space that doesn't have much to play with when it comes to decor. Pick a color scheme for a cohesive look or, for a more rustic feel, hang a mix of prints, posters, maps, postcards, whatever you like the look of and can stick on a wall. 

Also loving this olive green paint too, definitely going on the list of potential staircase paint colors.  

6. Maximise storage under your staircase

Understair bookshelves and stairs with yellow bannister leading up to front entrance

(Image credit: David Barbour)

Hallways are a tricky one for storage – the never-ending pile of shoes, bags and letters in our homes are enough to make Marie Kondo cry. So we're loving this staircase idea – build shelving into the side of the stairs for books, trinkets and everything in between.

Whether you're on a tight budget, want a weekend project or are renting but looking to upscale your decor, updating risers with stair stickers is a great option. You can get so many designs online (try Amazon they have some lovely affordable design). They are easy to use too, they come with instructions, but really all your need to do is cut them to size and stick them down – even a DIY novice could do it.

7. Paint a faux carpet runner on your stairs

Painted staircase in hallway by Farrow & Ball

(Image credit: Farrow & Ball)

Revamp your stairs by painting them with a colourful runner effect. Chances are that by the time you reach the top (or bottom depending where you started), you’ll be sorry you ever started this project, BUT the results are definitely worth the effort – and all you need is paint, brushes and masking tape.

Discover more advice on painting stairs in our guide.

8. Create a contemporary effect with paint

Yellow painted risers by Little Greene

(Image credit: Little Greene)

We love the use of colour blocking in this staircase idea. The bright yellow stair risers really pop against the grey and black painted skirting boards (another decorative element not to overlook). If you love this look you can find out more about colour blocking in our design feature.

9. Go for traditional staircase ideas with a contemporary twist

yellow finis staircase in period property

(Image credit: Richard Parsons )

If yours is a period property and you want to give a contemporary nod to its history, painting the treads and risers but leaving where the runner might once have sat as varnished wood is one way to do so. It's a practical and durable option, too.

10. Pimp up your bannisters 

ornate gilded staircase with dining chair

(Image credit: Malcolm Menzies)

If banisters, banister posts, newel posts, spindles... or any other element is being replaced or created from scratch, why not do your best to make it a decorative element all of its own? Commissioning your own is, of course, the best way to get the look you want, but in period properties in particular, there's no reason not to opt for a salvage yard find or two to lift your staircase makeover. 

11. Lay a bold runner to enhance your staircase

Hallway with carpet runner up staircase by Roger Oates

(Image credit: Roger Oates)

In hallways where you’ve chosen hard flooring, a runner on the stairs can help to reduce noise and feel soft and comfortable underfoot, too. Plus, picking bold stripes like this design will create a visual trick – that of lengthening the staircase, perfect in a small home.

12. Match your stair carpet to the hallway

Staircase and hallway with purple carpet by Carpetright

(Image credit: Carpetright)

Got young kids, think patterned carpet's the best option but want a contemporary feel? Matching the carpet's colour to the bannisters and spindle and skirting is one way to go. As is choosing a dark-toned, patterned carpet that can disguise dirt and mess, and stand up to the wear and tear. 

If you need tips on how to clean a carpet we do have a handy guide so check that out. 

Hebe Hatton
Hebe Hatton

Hebe joined the Real Homes team in early 2018 as Staff Writer. As a renter, she is always looking for creative ways to make her flat feel like home. She loves boho and 70's style and is a big fan of Instagram as a source of interiors inspiration.