How to Refresh and Add Style to Your Stairs for Only $30

3 Materials
$30
1 Hour
Easy

My stairs were old, tired, and a bit outdated. They truly were in need of a major overhaul, but that wasn’t in the budget. I decided to use some inexpensive removable wallpaper from Target and, lo and behold, this has been one of my favorite projects to date. They don’t look too tired any more.

DIY Stair Makeover

In my house the stairs are right off my front door. They can be the first thing that people see in the foyer. My stairs were kind of blah and boring.


Tools and Materials

  • Coconut oil
  • Baking soda
  • White vinegar
  • Wallpaper
  • Tape measure
  • Scissors or utility knife

Clean

Clean

The first thing I had to do was tackle a thick grime that had built up on the hand rail. Obviously, I have reached a point in my life where I have no shame. The top part of the railing is how dirty it had become and no amount of cleaning seemed to help. So, at a professional cleaning ladies recommendation, I used coconut oil and baking soda. The bottom half of the railing shows how it removed everything that I couldn’t get off with other cleaners.

Make a Cleaning Solution

Make a Cleaning Solution

I mixed them together in a small dish to a runny paste like consistency and used a microfiber cloth to apply it and rub it off. It was kind of Karate Kid like...wax on, wax off. I also used white vinegar on some areas, too.

Wallpaper

Now for the fun part! All that prep work was for my new wallpaper risers. This is from the Opalhouse collection at Target.

Measure

Measure

I measured across the step and mine was 34 1/2 inches. My risers measured 5 1/2 inches.

Cut

Cut

I cut 34 1/2 inches off the roll. Then I cut that piece into 5 1/2 inch pieces.

Stick

Stick

The fact that I could pull it off and reposition it was a blessing. It is on securely so don’t think it will come off when you don’t want it to come off. The distressed look to the pattern turned out to be a blessing as well. Any imperfections are harder to see with the distressed appearance.

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Wallpaper Stairs


Stick Wallpaper on Risers

It is so much easier to do risers than a wall so I highly recommend this easy project. I think it will build your self confidence.

Quick DIY Staircase Makeover


Easy DIY Staircase Makeover
Before and After DIY Staircase Makeover

I love a good before and after, especially when it is easy on the budget! And check out how clean and shiny that hand railing looks?!?

Updated Staircase

I simply love how these stairs turned out! Have I inspired you to change your stairs up? Let me know how you updated your stairs in the comments down below!

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Have a question about this project?

42 questions
  • AdrianaG
    on Jul 29, 2019

    Will this work on the stair treads? Mine need it!

    • Trudy
      on Jul 29, 2019

      No. The tread gets too much wear.

    • Nadine
      on Jul 29, 2019

      You can easily sand the threads and re-stain them or paint them using floor paint. Another quick and inexpensive option is to apply peel n stick vinyl flooring.

  • Terri Jones
    on Jul 29, 2019

    How to clean old floors without spending a lot?

    • Stacy Davis
      on Jul 29, 2019

      I like to use essential oils ( I use a combination of lemon eucalyptus, cassia and clove) mixed with water in a spray bottle. I’ve read that cassia oil kills several types of E. coli. I believe that coconut oil on your floors would be good too. I don’t think it would make them extra slippery but you could try a small area and see. I was amazed at the transformation of my hand rail and your floor might have similar results.

    • Jeannie Donais
      on Jul 29, 2019

      What a wonderful transformation of your railings. And I like the wallpaper on every other step! Great job. Thanks for sharing.

  • Colette Vautour
    on Jul 29, 2019

    How much coconut oil and soda?

    • Stacy Davis
      on Jul 29, 2019

      I melted the coconut oil and stirred in enough baking soda to make it the consistency of pancake batter. When I made it too thick, paste-like, it crumbled off before I could rub it in. I found that runnier was more effective at cleaning off the grime.

    • Colette Vautour
      on Jul 29, 2019

      Thank you

  • Cookie
    on Jul 29, 2019

    Will this work on kitchen cabinets?

    • Jacquie Carter Olender
      on Jul 29, 2019

      YES, there is not much you can't wallpaper. It's like decoupaging something actually! I have wallpapered furniture, walls, cabinets!! Her idea about using one that is distressed is GREAT, hides imperfections, especially if you are a novice! GO for IT! You can always remove it if you don't like it ;)



    • CathyKatzenberger
      on Jul 29, 2019

      I think she meant will the coconut oil and baking soda work on kitchen cabinets

    • Valleycat1
      on Jul 29, 2019

      I would think the cleaning solution would work on any wood. I plan to try it on some wood chair arms that are grimy. Am curious to see if plain vegetable oil might not work just as well (though won’t smell as nice as the coconut). The wallpaper would work best if your cabinets have a raised trim border (like shaker style or the colonial style).

  • Joyce
    on Jul 29, 2019

    Good day, how to remove old paint of the of the rails of the sfairs? Thank You

  • Roxanne Lucky
    on Jul 29, 2019

    It you use the coconut oil on the stairs too or just the rail.

    • Stacy Davis
      on Jul 29, 2019

      I just used it on the hand rails but now that I look at my stairs, I’m thinking there are some treads that could use a little bit of the coconut oil and baking soda treatment.

    • Roxanne Lucky
      on Jul 30, 2019

      Thank you so much😊

  • Ina
    on Jul 29, 2019

    What is the mixture ratio of coconut oil to baking soda?

    • Stacy Davis
      on Jul 29, 2019

      I would say 1/4 cup melted coconut oil and 3 heaping teaspoons of baking soda. The baking soda adds the grit like sand paper to cut through the grime. If it doesn’t seem to be cutting through the grime add more baking soda. I used a microfiber cloth too.

    • Ina
      on Jul 29, 2019

      Thank you!!

  • Linda Tyler
    on Jul 29, 2019

    how do you remove permanent marker from concrete?


  • Karen Sieben
    on Jul 29, 2019

    Will this work on kitchen cabinets to clean them

  • Cheryl
    on Jul 29, 2019

    Looks very attractive! How come you didn't put wallpaper on the rest of the stairs?

    The coconut oil and baking soda won't harm oak cabinet?

    • Stacy Davis
      on Jul 29, 2019

      I admit I have a “different” sense of decor...I particularly like things to be different.


      And I felt that on every riser that it was too busy. Maybe with a more subtle pattern but I love the every other riser look with the Target Opalhouse wallpaper.


      I have never seen anything on coconut oil and baking soda harming cabinets.

    • Eva Weaver
      on Jul 29, 2019

      Stacy's right, it would be too busy with every riser covered. What she did looks classy.

  • Linda Edgington
    on Jul 29, 2019

    Lovely job. Did you clean the steps with the coconut oil and baking soda and if so did it make them slippy ?

    • Stacy Davis
      on Jul 29, 2019

      I did not but really you wipe off most of the coconut oil mixture, I wouldn’t think the amount left behind would make them slippery. I use a combination of essential oils and vinegar to clean the treads. You could always try a small area and see if you think they are slippery. My steps are is and scratched and no shiny polyurethane so they are never slippery. I would guess if you have a high gloss finish then it might be slick.

  • Corina
    on Jul 29, 2019

    Will it work on dark cabinets?? I’m worried it would remove the colour

    • Jewellmartin
      on Jul 30, 2019

      The only color removed is the color of dirt and grime. Everybody’s hands get sweaty, grimy, or just affected by hand lotions and cleaners. Handrails will all become grimy over time. Maybe you clean your handrails every week, but I don’t. Nor do I clean my cabinet fronts and drawer fronts every week, although I should. I do use vinegar, Dawn, and baking soda to clean many areas, but I tried the coconut and baking soda and loved the shiny look it left without my usual long buffing. This seems to be a good idea and altogether a great project. Thank you! Jewell

  • Deborah Spitzer
    on Jul 29, 2019

    What amounts of coconut oil and baking soda did you mix together?

    • Stacy Davis
      on Jul 30, 2019

      I didn’t measure but if I had to guess, I would say 1/4 c melted coconut oil and 3 teaspoons of baking soda. I made mine the consistency of powder sugar glaze.

    • Sue
      on Jul 30, 2019

      Baking powder?!or Baking soda? Did you melt the coconut oil? Mine is solid white but looks like that when melted

    • Stacy Davis
      on Jul 30, 2019

      Baking soda and yes, I find it easiest to mix the two when the coconut oil is melted. Sorry, I accidentally typed baking powder above. I corrected it. Thanks for the heads up. 😊

  • Donna
    on Jul 30, 2019

    it came out beautiful. After you applied the coconut oil and baking soda mixture and rubbed it off did you need to wash it down to remove any left over oil or put anything on it to seal it?

    • Stacy Davis
      on Jul 30, 2019

      No, I didn’t rinse with anything but I do think a microfiber cloth removed the majority of the solution that I put on. My hand rail already had a poly on it but it was under all the grime hidden. So once the grime was gone, it was shiny all on its own.

  • Veronica
    on Jul 30, 2019

    Doesn’t that make the surface of the stairs very slippery?

    • Stacy Davis
      on Jul 30, 2019

      Maybe if you have high gloss slick stairs to begin with but you are removing almost everything that you put on so it isn’t an oily finish that is left behind, just a clean finish.

    • Terry H
      on Aug 5, 2019

      It's not on the step.

    • Terry H
      on Aug 5, 2019

      The peel and stick contact paper is not on the step it's self.

    • Julie
      on Aug 5, 2019

      I think it’s beautiful but we live in a condo that we rent bummer!!

    • Martha
      on Aug 5, 2019

      It's removeable paper, it's perfect for renters.

    • Barb Jenkins
      on Aug 5, 2019

      Coconut oil doesn't remain greasy so I doubt that they would be slippery unless they have a high gloss finish to begin with.

  • Debbie
    on Jul 31, 2019

    Would the coconut oil and baking soda work well with cabinet doors in the kitchen and bathrooms?

  • NANCY
    on Aug 1, 2019

    I have wood basement stairs. They do not have a finish on them.Would that solution clean them.? I love what you did with your stairs.

    • Stacy Davis
      on Aug 1, 2019

      I checked out on the internet and I found several places that said you can use coconut oil to naturally preserve unfinished wood. So, I think this would be safe for you to do but maybe do a small test area first.

    • Jenny Durbin
      on Aug 5, 2019

      If ever you want to paint or finish those unfinished basement stairs, do not use coconut oil on them. The finish will be spotty -- the paint/finish won't stick. Clean them with an ammonia-water solution.

    • Leslie
      on Aug 5, 2019

      If they do not have a finish on them, they will absorb the coconut oil, so it will definitely NOT clean them. And as Jenny pointed out, once they absorb the oil, you'll never be able to paint/finish them. Depending on how dirty your stair are, a light sanding may also be in order, too.

  • Cheryl Zeis
    on Aug 5, 2019

    Looks really nice!!! Why did you do only every other step?

    • Bobbi
      on Aug 5, 2019

      I like every other step done! Keeps it interesting and not too busy.

    • Roberta Perkins
      on Aug 5, 2019

      ✅agree

    • Bunola
      on Aug 5, 2019

      I think it is beautiful that way. If every step, might be too much.

    • Cindi
      on Aug 5, 2019

      Doing every other step keeps the "project" from looking too overwhelming on the eyes. She gave a cleaner look to by doing it that way. Clean and crisp looking, and it saved her money and time as a bonus.

  • Donna Simmons
    on Aug 5, 2019

    What portions of each did you mix ?

    • Stacy Davis
      on Aug 5, 2019

      I didn’t measure but about 1/4 cup melted coconut oil and then I added probably 3 teaspoons of baking soda until it looked like a powdered sugar glaze.

  • Sally
    on Aug 5, 2019

    Do u think the coconut mixture will work on drk mahogany banister with spindles

    • Debbie Paul Child
      on Aug 6, 2019

      Yes it will,work. Coconut oil is real good to work with. I put all over my wooden spoons etc to keep them from cracking. Murphy's oil works as well. I never knew this b4 but to clean grease off of cabinets etc, u use oil.

      She did a beautiful job on the stairs and I love how she did every other riser.

  • Laura
    on Aug 5, 2019

    Do you think it will work on kitchen cabinets

  • Ramona MT
    on Aug 5, 2019

    Yes. I use coconut oil on my wood all the time !

    including counters and cutting board.

    Antibacterial, antiviral, anti fungal.

    • Stacy Davis
      on Aug 5, 2019

      Awesome!

    • Kara Morrill
      on Aug 6, 2019

      Love love the risers with wallpaper... who would have thought of that! The yellow wallpaper look like tiles from a distance. Gorgeous ❣️

  • Charra
    on Aug 6, 2019

    Do the solution work on wood floors? Asking cause my floor has a hair rinse on my floor and ive used awsome and bleach and its not all the way off the floor.

    • Stacy Davis
      on Aug 6, 2019

      I’m not sure if it will remove hair rinse but you could try a small area. I’m pretty sure the coconut oil and baking soda wouldn’t hurt your floor but if in doubt do a test area first.

    • Linda
      on Aug 6, 2019

      try ashes on hair color (used in salons on skin to remove hair color) or magic eraser

    • Bebop
      on Sep 7, 2019

      Mean green cleaner. Works well with a stiff scrubber. You will have to rebuff ( polish) the spots.

  • Linda
    on Aug 7, 2019

    What are the proportions?

    • Stacy Davis
      on Aug 9, 2019

      Melt about 1/4 cup coconut oil and add about 3 teaspoons of baking soda. I think it looks like a powdered sugar glaze.

  • Deondra Carter
    on Sep 30, 2019

    What can i use to remove lead paint off the wall

    • Stacy Davis
      on Oct 1, 2019

      There are only some states that will allow DIY lead paint removal. Personally, I would hire a licensed professional who will do it safely.

    • JudyH
      on Mar 9, 2020

      I.completely agree with Stacy. Lead paint is dangerous - so much so that in some states you have to disclose property may contain lead paint if it was built before 1978 when selling it. It causes brain damage. Best left to a pro with the proper equipment.

  • Annmarie Harrison
    on Nov 11, 2019

    i will like to use the wall paper but how do I repair the top wood ( step )

    • Stacy Davis
      on Nov 11, 2019

      I bet a picture would help us give an answer on how to fix that too step.

  • Milly
    on Feb 7, 2020

    Can I use this product to clean my white kitchen Cabinets..

    • Stacy Davis
      on Feb 7, 2020

      Test it on a small area first but it should be fine. The coconut oil breaks down grime and stains and the baking soda just provides a bit of grit to help it scrub the area.

  • Brenda Helton
    on Feb 7, 2020

    Why didn’t you do all the stairs

  • Jessie
    on Feb 8, 2020

    Did you use coconut oil on the wooden stairs?

    • Stacy Davis
      on Feb 8, 2020

      I didn’t but I absolutely could have and the next time I clean them, I will. I want to see how well it works.

    • JudyH
      on Mar 9, 2020

      Seems like oil on the steps might make them slippery and unsafe.

  • Anne
    on Mar 8, 2020

    how much of each to make paste?

    • Stacy Davis
      on Mar 10, 2020

      I would start with 1/4 c melted coconut oil and add enough baking soda a teaspoon at a time until it resembles a powdered sugar glaze.

  • Daniela Daniela
    on Mar 8, 2020

    is that liner paper? Can’t that be used as well? Btw, your staircase is A+ :)

  • Shari
    on Mar 8, 2020

    Good morning. Great idea, one that I hpoe to be able to use at some point. My question is, doesn't coconut oil make the adhesion ability somewhat of a "slippery slope"''? I would think that you'd have to cut the oil with something first in order for it to stick - or am I missing something?


    Shari

    • Lisa Sinclair
      on Mar 8, 2020

      She used the coconut/baking soda mix, to clean the handrail. I don't think she used it on the risers.

    • Kellie Mayday
      on Mar 8, 2020

      I think she only used it to clean the banister. At least, that's how I read it. Risers aren't getting that nasty grime like a banister would.


      I have redone multiple flights of stairs, and have used basic soap and hot water to clean the risers for prep. Also spot clean with a Magic Eraser.

  • Lisa Sinclair
    on Mar 8, 2020

    Love the bright,(but not too bright) pop of yellow! It turned out great! Is there anything coconut oil/baking soda can't do??? I use it to clean my face, and to brush my teeth!LOL

  • Wilma
    on Mar 8, 2020

    My coconut oil is a solid. Did you heat the coconut oil to liquidfy it?

    • Sus47326713
      on Mar 8, 2020

      You can fill your sink with hot water and stand the coconut oil in it for about 10 minutes, and it will turn to a liquid consistency.

    • Lynn Barlar
      on Mar 8, 2020

      Solid Coconut Oil turns to liquid @ about 70 degrees. I use it on my face, & after I shower it's usually liquid; or if I have it on the counter next to the stove & the oven is being used, it turns to liquid. When the temps go down, it turns to a solid state.

    • Jaye
      on Mar 8, 2020

      Hi there ! Could you please tell me about the amount of baking soda you used.....is it about a tablespoon or more ? Thank you in advance.

    • Stacy Davis
      on Mar 10, 2020

      I would start with 1/4 c melted coconut oil and add enough baking soda a teaspoon at a time until it resembles a powdered sugar glaze.

  • Laurie Connelly
    on Mar 8, 2020

    Do you wake coconut oil to make it a liquid form?

  • Marge
    on Mar 8, 2020

    Sound like a perfect combo to clean gummed up wood. Would the same use of coconut oil and baking soda work to clean older dark oak kitchen cabinets..I’ve tried many products but none seem to work and get the grease and finger grime off to look clean and acceptable. Any ideas?

    • Brooklyn
      on Mar 8, 2020

      Yes, it will absolutely work for that as well. The coconut oil breaks down the built up hand oils and the baking soda provides the scrubbing action to assist as well as remove the dirt and grime built up over time. To keep them clean on go in bg afterwards, mix up a bottle of 10 oz. of vinegar and 2 oz. of Dawn Blue dish washing liquid, give a shake before use and rub down with a good microfiber cloth or dish sponge and th when wipe with microfiber. So good, so simple.

    • Debbie Henderson
      on Mar 9, 2020

      Get some GR 66. It works great.

    • Marge
      on Mar 9, 2020

      Thanks Debbie. I never Heard of it. Where would I find it? Is it for cleaning gunk? Or a finisher?

    • Joanne Dunbar
      on Mar 9, 2020

      Debbie, what is GR 66?

  • Marcie
    on Mar 8, 2020

    Beautiful job!!!

  • Pat Karp
    on Mar 8, 2020

    How much soda to coconut oil ?? Recipe or ratio, please.

  • Geribrinley
    on Mar 9, 2020

    Same question others asked. What proportion coconut oil and soda?

    • Stacy Davis
      on Mar 10, 2020

      I would start with 1/4 c melted coconut oil and add enough baking soda a teaspoon at a time until it resembles a powdered sugar glaze.

  • Susie Sasso Horvath
    on Mar 10, 2020

    And your cleaning concoction didn't ruin the finish? I'm wondering if I could use it on my kitchen cabinets?

    • Stacy Davis
      on Mar 10, 2020

      No, it didn’t do any damage to the finish. I’m sure it would great on kitchen cabinets.

  • JOANN
    on Mar 15, 2020

    would this work on old cabinets to remove grime to give them a new look?


  • Amaryllis
    on Mar 16, 2020

    How much coconut oil & baking soda

    • Stacy Davis
      on Mar 17, 2020

      Start with A 1/4 cup melted coconut oil and add teaspoons of baking soda until it resembles a powdered sugar glaze. If it is really dirty and you don’t feel it is cutting through the grime add more baking soda.

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