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Ten Ways to Renew Your Tired Staircase

If you are looking for quick ways to revive your worn and tired staircase, read on.  Even by following just one of these suggestions you can breathe new life into that functional, and potentially spectacular, element of your home.

Paint (or repaint) the stairs. Consider painting or staining the treads and the risers different colours.

Add a runner—a nice touch that reflects your style and makes the stairs feel better underfoot. It will also protect the paint from chipping.

Upgrade to hardwood. Hardwood treads, risers, etc. are readily available to the DIY aficionado, but an experienced flooring contractor or staircase specialist might be in order, considering the complexity of the staircase redesign.  The results of an upgrade to hardwood are always successful at changing the whole dynamic of your entrance or hallway.

Consider laminate.  This flooring looks great on stairs and is much cheaper than hardwood, but it’s a time-consuming project that involves making lots of cuts. Here, too, a stair runner is a good idea, as laminate can be slippery.

Recover stairs with fresh, new carpet. If you go this route, choose a hard-wearing broadloom that works with your colour scheme and style.  Normally, it can be installed by a professional in one day.  This is a comfortable choice for individuals who find travelling bare stairs hard on the feet, knees, or hips.

Paint the banisters. Sand everything first. Handrails and newel posts work nicely with spindles in a contrasting colour—a popular choice these days. A single, solid colour stain on all the wood components will also freshen up your staircase.
Paint the walls enclosing the stairway to update the entire look. Add pops of artwork and home décor items.

Change the handrail.  Your local building supply store sells the materials you need for a simple replacement or you can contact a professional stair builder to custom design one for you.  If you want to make a stylish statement, consider creating a recessed handrail in the wall alongside the stairs.  Handrail under lighting is another impressive home décor feature.

Add a new finial—on the top of a newel post (the principal post at the foot of the staircase, on a landing, and at the top of a staircase.) For a special finial, check your local antique, second-hand, and salvage stores.

Redesign your staircase. This is not a do-it-yourself project, the scope of which can include re-locating and replacing stairs, railings and banisters.  A building permit is required. For a staircase redesign, consult an architect or a staircase specialist.

Good luck with renewing your tired staircase.  Please add your tips and ideas below!

By Zoë Waller

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