How to paint a staircase... the perfect hallway revamp you can do yourself

Give your staircase a makeover in just four easy steps

How to paint a staircase
(Image credit: Pete Helme/Rust-Oleum)

Stuck at home and need something to get rid of the boredom? Now's the perfect time to finally take on a DIY project you've had on your list for a while, and if a staircase revamp is top of your wishlist this DIY update should be on your radar. 

This easy paint makeover from Rust-Oleum is an inexpensive way to turn a staircase that's seen better days into something you'll be proud to show off to friends and family when they can pop round to visit you again.  

Read on for how to achieve it. For more hallway ideas, go to our hub page.

  • If you want to try your hand at more DIY hacks, check out our other weekend projects

Painted staircase in a modern hallway

(Image credit: Pete Heime/Rust-Oleum)

You will need:

Step one: prep your stairs

cleaning stairs with a detergent

(Image credit: Rust-Oleum)

First, remove any carpet or covering from your wooden stairs. It's really important to make sure the surface of your staircase is in as good a condition as possible before you start adding new paint to it. 

Try to repair any holes or damage with wood filler, then sand down any lumps or bumps to make the surface as smooth as possible – it's best to use a hand sander for this job rather than attempting it with sheets of sandpaper. Once you've done this, hoover up the mess and clean the stairs with a sugar soap solution to remove any remaining dirt. 

Step 2: choose your paint

Tin of paint on a wooden staircase

(Image credit: Rust-Oleum)

When painting stairs, you need to use a suitable floor paint to ensure a long-lasting, hard-wearing finish. This project uses Rust-Oleum's Chalky Finish Floor Paint, a water-based floor paint that can be applied directly to wooden floorboards and concrete flooring, and directly over old paint or varnish.   

Opt for a single colour for a uniform look, or choose two different shades for the treads and risers for added interest. 

Step 3: paint the risers

painting a staircase with a roller and floor paint

(Image credit: Rust-Oleum)

Paint the risers (the vertical sections linking each step) using a roller. Avoid drips by applying several thin coats of paint rather than one or two thick ones. Use a paint brush to cut in at the edges. Allow to dry. 

Top tip: When painting the treads of the staircase, start at the top and work your way down so you don't get stuck upstairs while you wait for the paint to dry! The paint needs to be fully dry (not just touch dry) before you walk on it.

Step four: paint the treads

using masking tape on a staircase when painting it

(Image credit: Rust-Oleum)

If you want to paint the treads (the flat sections) of your staircase a different colour to the risers to create a subtle two-tone effect, apply masking tape to the bottom of the risers to section off the surface you've just painted. 

Using a roller, apply the paint as before using a roller and cut in using a suitable paint brush. Allow to dry, and your painted staircase makeover is complete. 

painted staircase makeover in grey and white tones

(Image credit: Pete Helme/Rust-Oleum)

Get Real Homes magazine delivered direct to your device 

Can't get to the shops but don't want to miss out on the latest issue of your favourite homes magazine? Don't worry as you can subscribe to our digital subscription offer and have every issue of Real Homes magazine delivered direct to your device. From stunning completed projects to the latest decorating ideas you can try in your own space, you'll find plenty to keep you entertained and inspired inside each issue. Don't miss our special offer – subscribe today and you'll receive five issues for just £5.
View Deal

More projects to try: