Stair Risers That Rise to the Occasion

Blue tile stair risers with wood plank steps | Girlfriend is Better
Photo courtesy: Deliciously Ella

As you walk up a set of steps, where does your gaze focus? Time to take a second look at your stair risers and see if they could use some improvement. Better yet, add some unexpected character to this much-overlooked area in your home. A simple update such as wallpaper or tile could breathe new life into any staircase. Check out some of our favorite ideas below.

Stair risers painted in rainbow colors | Girlfriend is Better
Photo courtesy: Plaster and Disaster

Stair Risers Go Rainbow

We are big do-it-yourselfers and recently replaced wall-to-wall carpet with wood flooring instead. Big improvement! Staircases are generally high-traffic areas and can always benefit from durable, wood steps. Add big doses of color to an otherwise dark hallway with alternating colors to create a rainbow effect. This look works great if you choose the stair risers only, or if you alternate the entire step. Take the paint up the wall and curve it around corners for a chic beachy feel. Take a look at our surf shack article and get inspired to add some beach life to your abode! This idea works great if you’ve already got wood flooring in that is beat up and could use some updating.

Rainbow stairway in well lit hall | Girlfriend is Better
Photo courtesy: Ashleigh Fantozzi via Pinterest

White Stairway to Heaven

Another idea we love involves white banisters. Paint your stair risers white to match the banisters and railing and then use a surprising color for steps. This is another great way to update a vintage staircase and add a pop of color to a room or entryway. If you’ve got all white decor and beadboard, painted steps up the charm factor big time. If your home is more modern, do black and white. Got a house of all girls? Make everyone’s day with a bright shade of pink!

White stair rises and bannister with pink steps | Girlfriend is Better
Photo courtesy: Dreaming of June

Industrial Dreams

One of the best ideas we found for creating a (more manly) industrial look was to use copper or brass. Distressed veneer sheet brass patinated in various shades adds some serious depth to a staircase. Because you are not trying to go all matchy-matchy, this makes the brass versatile as well. Many companies that sell copper sheet metal will let you choose a custom patina style and offer installation as well.  Two of our favorites are Color Copper and Chemetal.  Color Copper offers DIY tutorials (as well as installation) and Chemetal has beautiful dark brushed brass varieties to choose from.

Distressed veneer sheet brass on stair risers | Girlfriend is Better
Photo courtesy: Arts Grants and Funding

Vintage Persian Rugs Repurposed

Another great idea is to take a collection of vintage Persian rugs and repurpose them for your.. purposes. You can create a patchwork of Persian rugs and mix-and-match colors and designs. This is a fabulous way to upgrade the look of your staircase and works with stair risers only, or on the entire step! Just be sure to add wood treads to finish the look and hide the seams.

Vintage Persian rugs recycled on a staircase | Girlfriend is Better
Photo courtesy: True Identity Concepts via Tumblr

Spanish Tile Makes Us Smile

Probably the most popular and easiest go-to for stair risers is tile. Use Spanish tile on your stair risers to create a cool, Bohemian look to your hacienda. Spanish tile works well with formal and rustic woods alike. If you live in a hotter, desert climate, tile is a smart way to stay cool. My sister nixed any carpet when she bought a home in Arizona, opting for wall-to-wall tile instead! It wears great and is much easier to clean than you might think. Just be sure to use grout sealer after a fresh installation.

Spanish tile stair risers | Girlfriend is Better
Photo courtesy: Campo Viejo

Vintage Chic

Finally, if you’ve got an older home, work with the vintage charm and add wallpaper to the stair risers. Vintage wallpaper can add some unexpected glamour to an otherwise beat-up staircase. Check out Sarah Moore’s DIY using PVA glue and acrylic varnish to finish. You could go way beyond the stairs with this great idea.

Vintage fabric stair risers chic staircase | Girlfriend is Better
Photo courtesy: Debi Treloar for Daily Mail

Staircase Makeover

Never settle for same-old boring stairs when ideas like these are floating around. It is super easy to update the look of any staircase by focusing on the stair risers. You can give a little extra customization to your home by thinking about the details. If you have any other ideas, please leave a comment below! We love the feedback and are excited to explore the possibilities.

5 thoughts on “Stair Risers That Rise to the Occasion

  1. I need help. I am not a DIYoursefer. However, I have fallen for the stair risers in distressed veneer sheet brass patinated in various shades. Also, I am not internet/computer savvy. Will you tell me how to obtain more information about these risers. Are they available in stores? How much are they? Where can I look for them?

    1. Hi Audrey, we just updated the links in this article to a couple of companies that sell copper and brass sheet metal. Both companies can add a patina of your choice and we included a DIY link for you as well. Hope this helps! 🙂

  2. What a nice feature! I’ve never paid much attention to our stairway. Going to give that some thought! Thanks for this.

  3. You can also buy real copper sheets online and attach using an industial glue. I think that would have a nice, changing patina.

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