How to Fix Up That Ugly Stairwell!

4 Materials
15 Hours

Do you have a stairwell that is this ugly? Seriously, have you ever seen one that is worse than this?

Wait till you see what we did to change this up! It has totally transformed our entry way.

Before - ugly and kinda scary
We removed everything in the way, and set up planks so we could reach the ceiling. After sanding and filling (not a fun part of the job, but it really needed it!) we put on three coats of quality paint.
We used packaged knotty pine panelling and nailed the pieces on the two lower walls. We added a ledge using native wood we have here. It's looking much better already!
Stairs painted white (for now!)
The stairs were raw wood and we aren't sure what we will put down on them. So for now, I just washed them down and painted them white.
Since the stairwell is so tall, I wanted something large to hang on that wall. I ordered a pretty iron trellis for that spot.

This was a much different project from building our closets in the loft off our bedroom. This stairwell was much quicker - we got it down in a weekend, start to finish.

Come on over to Country Living in a Cariboo Valley to see more photos and details about how we got this project done!

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


Have a question about this project?

8 questions
  • Gig6627581
    on Oct 7, 2017

    when you designing this did you have safrty in mind? if so, where's the hand railing? the wall? it does have to be the same rail, but you need a railing
    • Annie
      on Oct 7, 2017

      Yes we took the photo before the railing went up.
    • Gig6627581
      on Oct 7, 2017

      ok, can i see the photo of the really finished design, don't get me wrong i truly like your concept of design. but, in my book safety first then design.
  • Eric Hoffman
    on Oct 7, 2017

    Where's the railing?
    • StefanieB
      on Oct 7, 2017

      Maybe they just haven't put it back up yet?
    • AZ Stamper
      on Oct 7, 2017

      maybe they took the picture before putting it back up. what difference does it make.
    • Margie Spenser
      on Oct 7, 2017

      Falling can kill you. Or your grandmother or your child. Big difference.
    • Helen Bouslaugh
      on Oct 7, 2017

      I think it looks absolutely beautiful and welcoming! And I get it, you were excited and took a pic of the finished decor before you put the railing back up. Can everyone just relax. If you are doing project, then you can put railing up before you take pics. We are so judgmental here, when all that is happening is people sharing their ideas and hard work! Love it. I have steep stairs and yes, a large pic or the trellis carries well. I used a family heirloom pic which I put in a very large thrift store frame and matting. It draws your eye up the stairs or down depending on the direction.
    • Vicky Corey
      on Oct 10, 2017

      Helen I agree with you 100%
  • Mar10584606
    on Oct 7, 2017

    What happened to the hand railing
    • Janet Eirika Anderson
      on Oct 7, 2017

      if you read the 2 other threads with the same title you will see she took the photo before putting it back up.
  • Niq28380871
    on Oct 7, 2017

    What happened to the coats & jackets
    • Annie
      on Oct 7, 2017

      We got rid of that ugly green cupboard you can see in the first picture. Then we added a board with coat hooks at the top of the stairs. You can't see it in the photo.
    • Sue28039999
      on Oct 10, 2017

      Really great job. One caveat: In my home, everything breakable on the narrow shelves would eventually end up getting broken. Like the wall hung piece, though.
  • Teddi
    on Oct 7, 2017

    Do you have a picture of how you set the planks to do the ceiling? We have a stairway just like this and have been trying to figure out how to set something up so we can reach the light fixture to replace the bulb.
    • Annie
      on Oct 7, 2017

      No we didn't take one. Husband set up a ladder on the landing in the stairwell, then he nailed two boards onto the side walls. Then laid heavy boards (2 x 6???) onto those boards and the top of the stepladder. It was safe. Since we had to fill and sand all the walls anyway (it was a huge mess) it didn't matter to us that those boards damaged the walls. We just filled them in when we finished off the lower part. Still had to use an extension on the paint roller.

      Husband set another shorter stepladder on the boards in order to paint where the wall meets the ceiling. Huge pain but we only wanted to ever do this stairwell once, so we went the extra mile to do it all properly.
    • Teddi
      on Oct 7, 2017

      I get the idea of how it was done. Thanks for explaining.

  • Carol
    on Oct 7, 2017

    Great stairwell! How did you attach the trellis so that no hardware is showing? What hardware did you use? I was thinking of using a couple trellis' instead of a headboard but not sure how to hang them so that you don't see the hardware.
    • Annie
      on Oct 7, 2017

      We just used screws that were pretty much the same colour as the trellis. Didn't screw them all the way into the wall. We just hung the trellis on the screws :)
  • Linda
    on Oct 7, 2017

    Nice job! Have you thought about cutting off the "feet" of the trellis to make a more finished off look?
    • Teresa
      on Oct 8, 2017

      Just what I thought! Or to add an iron or painted black metal shelf holding an ivy plant & allowing it to crawl up the trellis.

    • Annie
      on Oct 8, 2017

      We may do that :)
  • Jol21559358
    on Oct 25, 2017

    What's the best and easiest way to clean laminate flooring?

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