How To Update Carpeted Stairs With Paint

I have always loved the look of classic painted stairs. I just feel like they have such a clean, crisp look and add so much character to the home. The first thing you see when you walk in a home is usually the stairs on a two story house. I wanted our open concept home to have a custom clean lined look so removing the stair carpet and painting them has been on my list since we moved in. For the most part it was a pretty simple project, just time consuming. Here’s how our project went.


Here is the before shot of our stairs. The carpet was in good condition, I just didn’t care for the color or how it looked in our home with all the updates.





So the first thing we did is tear up the carpet. I really thought the demo would be the worst part, and it was fairly easy. First, we cut into the carpet in the corner of the stair, then peeled away . Once you get a hold of the carpet, it pulls out pretty easily.






Be careful of the tacking strips underneath, they are really sharp. The next thing we did was remove the strips. We kept an old bucket nearby to drop the torn up scraps into and then a big garbage bag for the padding. It makes clean up so much easier as you go along. My husband just used a crowbar between the stair and tacking strip and lifted it with a hammer.




Once the tacking strips were off, we pulled off all the padding. It was glued down so there were a lot of left over pieces still attached. I used a scrapper to get the rest of the padding off. That was probably the worst part of the demo.



After the stairs were cleaned up and debris swept off, we started adding the treads. For the top section of the stairs we had to get 42″ treads because they were wider, but our stair width was 40″ so they had to be cut to fit. We purchased the treads at Home Depot. The stairs on the lower section were 36″ and they had treads in that size so no cutting was required, yay!






Next we added the risers using MDF board that we had to cut to fit. Each riser had a slightly different measurement so each stair riser had to be cut individually to fit properly. Then we used a nail gun to attach them.




Once the risers and treads were on it was time to caulk all the gaps and prep for paint. I used painters tape for the posts and then went through and sanded all the stairs, filled in gaps with caulk and then wiped down thoroughly. 




After the steps were cleaned and prepped, I started with the risers and painted them with 3 coats drying in between each coat. I used Simply White by Benjamin Moore in a satin finish.



To paint the treads I used a Behr brand concrete/garage paint with epoxy in the color Blackout. I painted every other stair and waited for each coat to dry (that way you can walk up your stairs every other step) The paint has a heavy duty rougher finish so the stairs aren’t slippery to walk on. I didn’t put a finish on them because this type of paint doesn’t require it. However, if I see issues with it, I may research a protective covering but so far so good.






I could not be more thrilled with how these turned out and the dramatic difference it makes to the whole room. I’m just wondering what took us so long? Sometimes I stall on a project because it feels a bit intimidating, but with enough research ( and a little confidence) it really isn’t as scary as it seems. Things are always fixable and you can learn a lot from others, thank you Pinterest! 

So, let me know what you think and if you have any questions, please ask. Don’t forget to subscribe so you can get the latest posts delivered to our email so you wont miss anything.


Happy Decorating!


September 24, 2019

  1. Shawn Suarez

    September 24th, 2019 at 12:11 pm

    Thanks so much for this post– I have been contemplating doing the same thing on our staircase! It looks fantastic!


    September 25th, 2019 at 7:47 pm

    Hi Shawn,

    Thanks I’m glad you liked the post. I’m so happy with the project and wondering why we waited so long .

    Happy Fall!

  3. Laura Kellogg

    September 24th, 2019 at 2:11 pm

    I absolutely love the new stairs! So classic and beautiful. Well done, Deb and Spencer!


    September 25th, 2019 at 7:46 pm

    Thanks Laura… Love ya girl xoxo

  5. Lauren

    September 24th, 2019 at 9:19 pm

    The stairway looks very nice. One question, though. Why did you leave the bottom riser brown?


    September 25th, 2019 at 7:41 pm

    Hi Lauren,

    Actually we weren’t sure if we wanted to cover the wood piece but we added the additional riser and painted it white just recently and it looks much better. I need to add the photo to this post.
    Thanks for commenting

  7. cindy@countyroad407

    September 25th, 2019 at 5:52 pm

    They look fantastic and will be perfect for decades. I’ve been wanting to do this to our stairs for years but I’m soooo intimidated because ours our curved. You make it look easy. Want to come do ours?! LOL.


    September 25th, 2019 at 7:24 pm

    Thanks Cindy. We are so glad we decided to do it. Our staircase is pretty straightforward so that helped a lot.

  9. Charis

    January 19th, 2020 at 3:49 pm

    What color is your railing painted ? And what did you do to your landing ? It all looks amazing ?


    January 21st, 2020 at 5:13 pm

    Hi Charis,

    I painted the railings with Waverly chalk paint from Walmart in the color INk, then finished off with a clear wax. The landing had a fun shiplap base floor so we just patched a few areas and sanded. I loved the look so just kept it like that.

    Thanks so much for folowing,


  11. Ann

    January 19th, 2020 at 9:17 pm

    Hi Dud you paint or stain the railings. And if so did you do them black thank you. Beautiful look


    January 21st, 2020 at 5:11 pm

    Hi Ann,
    Thank you. I painted the railings with the Waverly Chalk Paint from Walmart in the color INK. First I cleaned well and lightly sanded them then finished off with a clear wax. They are holding up great.

    Here’s a link to the paint
    [show_shopthepost_widget id="3886977"]

    Thanks for following,

  13. Cindi

    January 19th, 2020 at 9:33 pm

    Did you have to add anything to the landing or was it simply a matter of painting?


    January 21st, 2020 at 5:06 pm

    Hi Cindi,

    Actually we weren’t sure what we were going to do with it until we saw what was underneath. I was excited to see it was a shiplap look and I loved the character of it. So we just patched up some dings and sanded and painted it.

    Thanks for following~

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