Dark Chocolate Painted Staircase Makeover

3 Materials
2 Days

Holy smokes, how many times am I going to paint our front stairs? For those who may ask why I painted them in the first place, our stairs have a few issues. They were creaky (no sneaking out of this house) and many of the treads and risers did not totally meet up and had gaps. Not to mention that the actual wooden treads were in really bad condition when we bought the house. With three kids, three dogs and a busy husband and not enough time or money to refinish the entire staircase, paint was the best option
In the past, I tried adding a stencil and also applied a whitewash.  This is shown in the picture above. Although it held up for a long time, the wash needed to be reapplied because eventually with all of the wear, it faded.  Who knew that painting stairs in white was not the best idea to maintain, lol?  
I then painted the treads in a latex pale gray because I had some paint leftover in my workroom and couldn’t be bothered to do anything else!  Well, that also looked really dirty after a year.
This time, I did it right! My staircase now sounds so yummy in General Finishes Dark Chocolate milk paint! They went from blah to classic and sleek! The color is a very deep brown and won’t show any dirt
Using a caulk gun, I first filled in all of the gaps.  This took a long time to fill properly and then smooth. It took three coats of the Dark Chocolate milk paint to fully cover the treads.  After they dried, I touched up where the white risers met the dark brown treads.  This was the difficult part because the caulk application in the joints made it very difficult to paint a straight line.  It took a lot of touching up between the white and brown to get the joints looking good.
The risers and side trim were given a fresh coat of bright white semi-gloss paint. I then used General Finishes High Performance Topcoat in satin to seal.  This was applied twice using a foam brush.
I believe the dark chocolate adds a more sophisticated look to our foyer. My wonderful Hungarian Chest (thrift store score! More in blog) coordinates with the banister.
Here is a view from the living room. I think the new staircase complements the wall color perfectly. More on that project here: Foyer Makeover

I also added a few antique rugs into the space that add a little color and warmth.
Shall I also paint the banister? It never ends!

Suggested materials:

  • Paint  (Woodworker's Club)
  • Paint  (Home Depot)
  • Caulk  (Home Depot)

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Want more details about this and other DIY projects? Check out my blog post!


Have a question about this project?

3 of 5 questions
  • Angela Cosner
    on Aug 16, 2017

    Will you be painting the handrails to match?
    • Nancy
      on Aug 24, 2017

      Very nice. The banister blends and connects with your furniture piece. Too much might make it look misfitted with a modern, sleek, boring look vs. the character of a homey, traditional style.

  • Viki
    on Sep 27, 2017

    Did the caulking quiet the creaky step noises or was it just for visual aesthetics? My stairs are loud and I would like to know how to shush them up!
  • Colleen Bell
    on Dec 29, 2017

    Hello, are you in Toronto by any chance? I love your painted stairs. I would like to get mine done but I'm not handy. Could you do this job or do you know anyone who can who lives in the Toronto, Ontario area?

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