Stair runners are excellent at maintaining steps quiet and comfortable underfoot, but sometimes they feel somewhat formal. Stair runners that are painted are a terrific choice. They create the illusion of a runner but certainly are far more casual — and the layout options are as boundless as your imagination.
Painted stair runners aren’t right for every home. (I wouldn’t put one in a foyer with marble flooring). But they are perfect for an older traditional house, a country-style house or a holiday escape. Best of all, they are more affordable than rug and can be done yourself — with a little time, patience and attention to detail.
These stairs was covered in plush pink broadloom. Homeowner Debbie Christianson removed the carpet, painted the stairs white and added a slate-blue painted runner with matching border.
I really like the colour, the way the border aids “anchor” the runner and the utter joy of seeing something really sudden.
Hint:Before painting, fill cracks with wood filler, sand the surface smooth and apply primer if the surface hasn’t been painted before.
Erica George Dines Photography
White risers and black treads are merged by an emerald runner, which also happens to echo the colour of the picture frames on the back wall.
Hint: Allow about 4 inches between each edge of the runner and the wall. Increase this amount for staircases which are wider than usual.
A painted brown runner (Benjamin Moore’s Stone Brown) complements the blue walls in this project by Sarah Farrell. Farrell added a narrow border of light gray-green (Icy Morn) to help the transition between the black runner along with the white border.
Hint: for the best results, use a paint that is specially formulated for flooring — one labeled “porch and patio” or “porch and flooring” paint. (“Boat bottom paint” is yet another option.) You might have to apply two or three coats, based on the colour you choose.
TreHus Architects+Interior Designers+Builders
In this Minneapolis house, rainbow stripes help banish any sense you are descending to a cellar.
Hint: To guarantee clean edges, apply blue painter’s tape into the stairs before painting. To keep paint from seeping under the tape, then brush some of the base color along the edge to “seal” it, then allow it to dry before applying the accent colour.
Obtain a step-by-step tutorial on painting a striped flooring
Bella Tucker Decorative Finishes
Words can add another layer of interest to some painted runner.
Hint:If you are concerned about slipping stairs, there are non-skid additives you can mix in the paint to provide better grip.
Shannon Kaye Fine Art & Color Consulting
Not into words? Contemplate letters. All these “hugs and kisses” are ideal for a stairs to a bedroom. Stencils and stamps can make the job easier.
Hint:To preserve your handiwork, top with two or three coats of polyurethane. Otherwise, foot traffic will wear the painted finish with time.
You don’t have to cease at paint. Here, house numbers were affixed to the risers, offering a lesson in counting (and imaginative repurposing).
Hint: It can take a few days to finish a stair-painting project. Ensure you have an alternate route during that time, or think about painting every other tread, waiting for them to dry, then handling the remaining steps. Or if you are just painting the center of the stair, leave enough stepping distance on the edges.
Bockman + Forbes Design
Rather than applying paint into the middle, you are able to apply it into the sides, creating a “timber runner” down the center of the stairs, like this nautical example.
Hint: Allow your stairs to dry at least 24 hours prior to walking on them.
More: The best way to paint hardwood flooring