21 Staircase Makeover DIY Ideas (For All Skill Levels)

If your old staircase needs updating, these staircase makeover diy ideas are sure to inspire some ideas!

More often than not staircases are located directly across from a front door and adjacent to your main living room. Considering it’s the first thing people will see when walking into your home, it deserves attention.

The good news is, that a few small changes to your existing staircase can make a huge difference in your overall design scheme.

Here are a few quick staircase makeover DIY ideas to get you started.

  • Paint the risers
  • Remove old carpeting
  • Paint the risers, wood treads, and balusters all one color
  • Add molding to the staircase wall
  • Hang a gallery wall up the stairs
  • Install a new stair runner
  • Install removable wallpaper along the staircase wall
  • Update or paint base molding
  • Stain the stair railing and stair treads

install a new stair runner

This amazing staircase makeover is one of my all time favorites. The owner installed a beautiful vintage runner by combining several Turkish rugs. It adds so much visual interest in an otherwise utilitarian space.

vintage rug on staircase Six Vintage Rugs

The next staircase makeover is a good one, you have to see what it looked like before! They began by ripping up the old carpet. Any time you remove old carpeting you need to be prepared to also pull out lots of tiny tack strips left by a staple gun.

With a staircase, it’s also a gamble because you don’t know what you’ll find underneath. There’s always a chance you’ll have to replace the stair treads as well. Even if they’re in good condition, you’ll likely have to fill in areas with wood filler and sand down the treads with a hand sander.

After lots of prep work, they painted the stairs and installed a new runner. The work paid off as you can see!

staircase makeover

The next staircase makeover DIY is another dramatic makeover. The before caught my eye because it looks similar to my daughter’s stairs in the home she just purchased. A few simple changes to the newel posts made them look more modern.

Notice also that they painted the treads, risers, posts, and balusters all the same color for a striking impact.

before and after staircase makeover

painted staircase makeovers

The easiest way to get a big impact with minimal work is with paint.

If you aren’t looking to do a major renovation on your stairs, simply changing the paint color can be impactful. This is also the cheapest way if you’re on a budget.

This beautiful old staircase got a new life with a combination of paint and gel stain and includes a painted runner. That post has a few tips on what products to use considering stairs are a high traffic area.

painted runner on staircase

Or keep it simple with painted risers. I love that this homeowner went a little outside the box with this pretty shade of green paint and kept the wood stairs natural.

A little paint gave this entire area a fresh new look. It’s a good example that you don’t have to do a lot of work to get a beautiful end result.


Or paint the stair treads and the risers a solid color – it’s amazing what a few coats of paint can do! Leaving the balusters black is a nice, but subtle contrast.

stairs painted a solid color

Staircase molding ideas

Another great way to make your staircase a focal point is by adding custom molding to the walls. While this involves more elbow grease, it can be a DIY project if you know your way around a wood saw.

Using vertical plank board in your stairwell works well in a cottage style home and is one of the easier moldings to install.

plank walls in stairs

Board and batten is another option for custom molding and works well in a classic style home. This one is more involved but the result is stunning!

board and batten box molding to stairs

While there isn’t any custom molding in this staircase, the molding around the doorway with the corbels frames the view of the stairs and adds so much character.

corbels framing staircase

Here’s another way to get a planked wall using only whitewood trim. You can find that trim at The Home Depot or any home improvement store.

What I love about this makeover is that the homeowner did it without using power tools! Where there’s a will, there’s a way even if your power tool challenged (as I am).

planked-wall-staircase - staircase makeover DIY

staircase makeover diy ideas using wallpaper

How I love a beautiful wallpapered staircase! I find wallpaper to be challenging to get exactly right because it has to be precise.

That being said, this is another look that’s worth the effort and you could always use peel and stick wallpaper if you’re worried you’ll tire of the look later on.


image via: Wayfair

Here is another truly stunning staircase with wallpaper. The custom molding on this one is incredible.

wallpapered stair with custom molding - staircase makeover DIY

Another really fun idea is wallpapered risers. I love the pretty pattern on the front of the stair risers and the mix-and-match pattern is far more interesting than using one single pattern.

wallpapered stair risers

banisters and balusters

By changing out newell posts and adding interesting balusters like the style shown below, you can create your own unique look. Even though these are non-traditional, they still look classic.

stair-banister-ideas - staircase makeover DIY

Or use intricate carved wood balusters to make a stand out staircase!


Opening a staircase wall

If your staircase is closed in by walls, opening one of them up will not only make the staircase feel airier it will make the adjoining room feel bigger as well.

My husband and I have been planning our own DIY stair remodel for a few years. We had even purchased new stair treads, but life got in the way and it hasn’t happened yet.

Here is one example of how removing a wall opened up the space. They added simple new balusters and a hand rail. Love the pretty gallery wall or art here too.


Here’s another example of opening up a solid wall to add a banister. The final result of this one is really pretty.


hang a gallery wall

The staircase wall presents a big blank canvas that is perfect for displaying art. Create your own gallery wall using wall art that speaks to your unique taste!

Bring in nature with a beautiful botanical gallery wall.

botanical gallery wall of art

Or display your collection of vintage art.

gallery wall of vintage art in staircase

Another idea is to use all black and white photos. This is a great way to uniform your own photos, simply have them printed in black and white.

black and white art gallery wall

One last idea is for anyone fortunate enough to have the type of staircase with a landing. If you have the space, add a built-in bench seat like the one shown below!

staircase landing window seat

Lastly, here is a handy illustration of what each part of a staircase is called which is helpful when planning for your staircase makeover DIY. Knowing what each part of the staircase is referred to will help when communicating with people at the home improvement store.

parts of a staircase

I hope the tons of inspiration here today has inspired you to tackle your own staircase project. As you see, it’s not that hard to take it from an afterthought to one of the focal points of your home!

Feeling inspired? Shop stair runners and wallpaper below by clicking on any image below!

One Comment

  1. Great ideas. love the flowered wallpaper. Also opening up a staircase wall makes a big difference.

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