Choosing Color For Your Stairs

My stair project is coming along....a little clean up of the trimwork and she'll be ready for a big reveal!

There are SO many color options for stairs.  You could literally spend hours upon hours garnering inspiration from the likes of Pinterest and Houzz but who in their right mind would spend all their time doing that?? ;)  
{PS - If you're looking for ideas, check out my Pinterest board on stairs.}

Our stairs and railings were a tired and worn light oak.  This is the third house we have owned with light oak treads and railing and we were craving something a little different this time.

We have outdated 80s tile at the bottom of the stairs right now, but eventually it will be replaced with oak like the rest of the rooms on this floor have. Mark and I LOVE dark stained wood floors, but we've heard from friends that they show everything: every little particle of dust, dirt, fur and so on, as opposed to light or medium colored wood floors. While I'm all for keeping a tidy house I don't want to be a slave to the floors - plus, we really like the warmth of a light or medium toned wood floor. The options we were leaning toward with our stairs were

1) stain the railings dark and refinish the treads with a clear coat of poly (no stain)
the crazy and controversial option
2) stain the railings AND the treads dark.

Traditionally stair treads are stained the same color as the rest of the wood floors in a house, even if the railing is dark.  This was our initial plan (dark brown or black rail and lighter treads) but after stripping and sanding our treads they were still a bit beat up and stained in some spots.

Also...we just love the contrast of the dark staircase and the wood-tone floor!

Exhibit A
See how the black in the stairs is repeated in the living fireplace surround, the lamp and the zebra rug?
{And isn't this foyer amazing?}

Source: houseandhome.com via Lisa on Pinterest

Source: houzz.com via Lisa on Pinterest

Exhibit B
This staircase has been in my inspiration files since before I started blogging.  I love the millwork!

Exhibit C
I adore this black & white staircase (and the fun gallery wall - plus how cute are those munchkins?)

Exhibit D
Kate's staircase redo is what sold Mark on the dark staircase with the contrasting floors.  Kate is thinking of darkening her floors in the future but I think the contrast makes the stairs very dramatic.

Exhibit E
Last but not least -
my all time favorite stairs (and foyer!) ever!!

Another view......forget the stairs - look at those windows!!

Unlike choosing a wall color, making a decision about flooring is a bit scary because of the commitment involved - it's not like you can easily change it if you don't like the outcome.  This is exactly why it's so wonderful to have the world wide web at your service.  Study pictures of what appeals to you and mull it over for a good long time.

We are happy with our choice because we get a taste of the dark floors we love without the constant maintenance.  The dark stairs also pick up on other black elements in our home and our foyer looks  different than every other standard colonial on our street.

The final touch will be adding a sisal or seagrass runner - more on that later!

I hope you are having a fabulous weekend!
Don't you love Mother Nature's sense of humor by the way?
Funny.  Realllly funny!


Jean @ Flower Hill said...

A medium tone wood floor would look beautiful. I don't blame yo for not wanting to have to clean a dark wood floor constantly. That could get old very fast.

Carrie @ Hazardous Design said...

Omg, it is like we share the same brain! Your inspiration images are exactly what I've been envisioning for our foyer too. Our plans are the same as yours, right down to the sisal runner! Have I already mentioned how grateful I am that you are going through it all first???
Enjoy the rest of your weekend. I got completely caught off guard by this snow and ice storm!

Mandi@TidbitsfromtheTremaynes said...

Girl I am *this* close to changing my paint color to black, now!

Kim@Chattafabulous said...

Yikes, saw your snow on the news. Yuck. On the other hand, these staircases are gorgeous! Wish mine was a bit more dramatic !

A Vintage Vine said...

You have some great inspiration! I am at a stand still with my stairs...we took out the carpet and saw our treads were unusable....bummer! But I have plan B!

Danielle said...

I absolutely LOVE black & white staircases! I also love having a one-story house...so maybe I can just live vicariously through you?

Korrie@RedHenHome said...

Oh my goodness, the inspiration photos are AMAZING! I'm glad to see one where the treads were darker than the rest of the wood floor--because that's what I have going on in my house ;-) I know I need to repeat that dark stain somewhere (actually...I think I might know where) to get that same great vibe. I think your handrails look amazing; can't wait to see the rest!

Melissa @ The Inspired Room said...

Good luck with your stair project! My husband painted our hand rail black for me last year but the next step is to rip out our carpet and paint the treads. I'm dreading that part as I know it is going to be a horrendous project we don't have time for right now!! GAH! But our carpet is so hideous it needs to be done sooner or later! :-)