Ready to give those boring steps a dreamy DIY staircase makeover? These DIY stair remodel ideas will update and modernize your stairs on a budget.
You’ll also want to read up on our Beginner’s Guide to Installing Trim and How DIY Plywood Flooring Could Save You Thousands.
Stairs are such an effective way to get to an upper or lower level, but often they are just so blah.
If you’re dreaming of a new look for your stairs or banister, we’ve got our very favorite staircase makeover DIY ideas for you today. See all of our stair projects here.
See more unique ideas for updating stairs.
Beautiful DIY Staircase Makeovers
A stair remodel is a great way to make a big impact on your home decorating! Whether you are giving the stair risers some character, removing carpet to change to hardwood stair treads, or giving the basement stairs a glow-up, we’ve got the ideas and tutorials for you to make it happen on a DIY budget!
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Under $100 Staircase Makeover
See how Cleverly Inspired transformed her staircase from carpet to beautiful wooden treads for under $100. Tracy takes you through a detailed step-by-step staircase makeover, including how to remove the carpet and paint the stair treads, risers, and runners.
Carpet To Ebony-Stained Wood DIY Stair Remodel
SAS Interiors transformed her carpeted stairs to wood! Jenna carefully removed the carpet from her stairs while keeping the carpet transition for the top of the stairs. After sanding, she stained and poly-ed the stair treads and painted the risers and runners — and be sure to check out her creative solution to the gap left when she removed the carpet!
Fun Stair Idea: Install a Stair Slide
An indoor play area can be as simple as adding a stair slide!
$60 Staircase Remodel with New Wood Treads
Sometimes DIYers are fortunate to find solid wood stair treads under carpet. Some find particle board or unsalvageable wood instead. But replacing treads in a DIY stair remodel doesn’t have to be expensive — Stacy went from carpet to new wood treads for $60 on her split level stairs.
DIY Staircase Makeover with Painted Stair Runner
For an inexpensive update, just add paint! You can get the high-end look of a runner without actually installing carpet. After she removed carpet… and the linoleum underneath, Anna painted a stair runner (and a faux stair skirt) on her basement staircase makeover!
Colorful Fabric Stair Risers
Sage had beautiful wood stairs to start, and wanted to add some some color, texture, and style to your staircase – so she used fabric to wallpaper the stair risers!
Brand New Stair Banister Remodel
If your home’s stair banister is old and unsafe, replace it! See how The Hillside Home’s new banister looks.
Curved Stair Banister Remodel
Curved stairs are a beautiful statement in a home. Morgan and Jamie gave this dated curved staircase the makeover it deserved in this DIY stair renovation.
Oak To Dark Wood Stair Railing
Gel stain is a great option for changing the wood tones of your stair railing! Get rid of the oak stair banister by staining it like Jenn did.
DIY Staircase Makeover Common Questions
What is the cheapest way to renovate stairs?
Painted stairs are the cheapest and easiest way to give your staircase a makeover, on a budget and with limited tools and skills. With some energy put into the prep work, any homeowner or beginning DIYer can paint or gel stain your stairs to look amazing.
Preparation is key to any painting project, so don’t skip out or you’ll be able to see any imperfections under your new coat of paint.
Read the separate tutorials above for more details about each of these steps, too.
Remove the carpet (or laminate flooring or linoleum) and carefully remove all the tack strips, nails, staples, etc.
If you have particle board / OSB instead of a solid wood surface, you can use a pry bar to remove those treads and replace with solid wood treads. Or you can paint the particle board treads. Particle board isn’t as durable as hardwood, but for an inexpensive stair makeover or a stop-gap DIY while you save up for a larger renovation, paint is a great solution!
Sand the wooden stair structure — risers, treads, skirts — with 60 grit sandpaper to remove any rough spots or adhesive. Be careful if you needsanding particle board, as it will break and chip easily.
Fix imperfections and gaps. Use wood filler to fill any nail holes and caulk the seams. This is also a good time to practice caulking like a pro! Make those seams and small gaps disappear.
You may need to install small trim (using a brad nailer) to fill larger gaps between the stair tread and riser, or even create your own stair skirt/stringer blocking like we did to create a nice looking stair.
Next, prime any area you’re going to paint. Even if you are using a paint with primer built in, a coat of regular primer will save you money on the more expensive paint and give you a better, more durable finish.
Gel stain is next. If you are using gel stain to update the treads or banister, we recommend gel staining before you paint. Read here all about how to gel stain wood or painted stair railing.
Then you’re ready to paint! You can use satin or semi-gloss paint for the risers and skirt, but we’d suggest a durable porch/floor paint for the stair treads. Be sure to read the instructions on the can for how to prep and how long the paint needs to cure.
Add protection. Some DIYers choose to add a coat of polyurethane on top of the paint for added durability. A stair runner will also help reduce wear on the painted stairs, as well as making foot traffic on the stairs quieter.
As with ALL of our DIY projects and tutorials, be certain to read over the complete tutorial before starting a project. Build at your own risk and be smart, be safe. We will not be responsible for any injury or damage incurred while following a tutorial from our site. None of our posts should be considered expert advice; please consult a professional when needed, read all safety and instruction manuals, and take all safety precautions. All projects performed following instructions found on this site are done at your own risk.
How do you update an old staircase to look modern?
A staircase is a large feature of your home, so modernizing your staircase is a great step in updating your home’s style. Here are some DIY ideas to update an old staircase and make stairs look modern:
How can I dress up my stairs to look nice?
In addition to our ideas above for painting and updating the stairs themselves and the railing, you can make your stairs look good by updating the rest of the staircase area, too.
- Add wainscoting or creative trim panels to the stair wall for interest. This is especially good for tall stair walls that are hard to decorate.
- Install lighting, either along the stair treads or skirt or along the staircase for ambiance. For a renter-friendly stair update, use battery powered lanterns or candles on the stairs.
- Hang artwork along the stairs. This wall can be awkward, but it’s a good space for a gallery wall! Use our trick here to hang a gallery wall quickly.
For more DIY stair ideas, check out these:
more creative stair IDEAS
Under the Stairs Storage & Play Spaces
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